Fontane.200/Traces – Theme Year 2019

In Brandenburg, 2019 will be marked by the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Theodore Fontane. Fontane’s body of work and Wanderings through the March of Brandenburg have had a lasting influence on the identity of Brandenburg both within and beyond its borders.

In his diverse body of work, Fontane focuses on both epochal events and everyday life. He writes about the upheavals and radical changes at the outset of the age of modernization in urban society—and yet remains true to the rural region that was his home. With captivating realism, he describes a “cabinet of curiosities” of the nineteenth century, the motifs of which maintain their timeliness to this day.

By taking Fontane’s two-hundredth birthday as the basis for the 2019 Theme Year, Kulturland Brandenburg seeks out creative ways to question the established image of Fontane the author and Fontane’s body of work—and to examine the accepted interpretation of the same. In this way, we hope to discover anew the supposedly familiar author, poet, journalist, and critic, Theodor Fontane. The 2019 Kulturland Brandenburg Theme Year, with its numerous projects and individual initiatives throughout Brandenburg, will present many new perspectives on Fontane that go beyond the established readings of the author and his work.

The Theme Year focuses on Fontane’s strategies to explore Brandenburg. Which traces did Fontane seek to discover with his work—and which traces did he leave? The search for these traces—Fontane’s local sources and networks—should sharpen our view of Fontane’s approach. The Wanderings provide us with many stories from the March; however, many stories remain untold. For this reason, Kulturland Brandenburg now calls for using Fontane’s methodology in the present day to fill those spots on Brandenburg’s cultural map that Fontane left blank.

As a cornerstone of Brandenburg’s central campaign “Fontane.200,” Kulturland Brandenburg complements the main exhibit “Fontane.200/Author” in the Neuruppin Museum, the exhibit “Fontane.200/Brandenburg” in the House of Brandenburg-Prussian History in Potsdam, and the school program and youth project “Word&Play.”

The University of Potsdam and the Theodor Fontane Archive will also take part in the Theme Year with academic projects. A rich cultural program will be offered by the Fontanestadt (“Fontane City”; Fontane’s birthplace) Neuruppin in cooperation with its many partners.

The central grand opening of the Fontane Year will take place on March 30, 2019 in Neuruppin.