About the collection

Our collection, comprising around 285,000 objects, focuses on areas of everyday life and popular culture in Germany and other European countries from the 18th century to the present day. It is one of the largest collections of its kind in Europe.

Its unique holdings feature a number of ethnic minorities in Europe, including the Sami and the Crimean Tatars. Particularly noteworthy are the inventories of textiles, popular imagery, and photographs that have been collected over time, as well as thematically categorised collection areas related to naive art, childhood and youth culture, rituals and forms of religious expression.

We are constantly screening, augmenting and broadening our collection. In current collection practice efforts, the relevance to the present is especially important. In the coming years we intend to focus on three topics in particular, inquiring about: 

  1. Processes of identity formation
  2. Europe within a global context
  3. The relationship between culture and nature

In the first area we collect material and immaterial cultural assets representative of the manifold identities within Europe and the superdiversity of European societies. Objects that illustrate how “European culture” is dealt with in other parts of the world fall under the category Europe within a Global Context. Lastly, our third area of focus is on the topic of environmental pollution, sustainability and the cultural use of nature.