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2000 years Varus Battle – a Retrospective

The Countdown

The new visitor center at Museum und Park Kalkriese was finished in 2009 to accommodate the comprehensive »2,000 Years Varus Battle« program adequately. A spacious shop for the stream of visitors plus a large exhibition area with room for future special exhibitions, conferences and conventions were created here. Besides the successful planning and realization of the visitor center, two new exhibitions were developed. Their concepts were the result of years of work, and from the original conceptualization to the establishment of the new permanent exhibition and the special exhibition CONFLICT, they cost the exhibition designers several nights’ sleep. During the final phase – shortly before the exhibition’s opening on May 15, 2009 – exclusive artifacts from all over Europe were arriving at Kalkriese on a daily basis.

Varus Battle in the Spotlight

»2,000 Years Varus Battle« and 20 years of multi-disciplinary research on the antique battlefield at Kalkriese – reason enough to create a new permanent Varus Battle exhibition. Its concept was developed in cooperation with Cologne-based architect firm hollenbeck.plato. While the previous permanent exhibition focused on the search for evidence, the new exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of the research and findings in the context of Kalkriese’s Varus Battle. At the center of the exhibition is the Germanic tribes’ ambush near the Kalkriese Hill. Modern staging and surprising effects present the facts in a realistic and exciting manner. Nevertheless, the most important insight to be gained from the new permanent exhibition is that research of the Varus Battle at Kalkriese will continue to keep scientists busy for a very long time …

Special Exhibition CONFLICT

Why did the Varus Battle between Romans and Germanic peoples not create a lasting peace? This question was investigated in the special exhibition CONFLICT at Museum und Park Kalkriese. At its center were the causes and consequences of military conflicts in the Germanic world following in the wake of the Varus Battle. Based on European finds, the Germanic people’s rise to the heights of power between the 1st and 5th century A.D. was also highlighted. The exhibition’s success was topped when both its designers (, Berlin) as well as the exhibition were awarded the internationally renowned »red dot communication design award«. The special exhibition was one part of the comprehensive exhibition project »IMPERIUM CONFLICT MYTH. 2,000 Years Varus Battle«, which was realized in cooperation with LWL Römermuseum in Haltern and Lippisches Landesmuseum in Detmold.

2,000 Years Varus Battle – The Symbols Will Stay

The campaign FELDZEICHEN ZU FRIEDENSZEICHEN (TURNING ROMAN STANDARDS INTO PEACE SYMBOLS) opened »2,000 Years Varus Battle«. During the many sessions of this campaign, more than 10,000 citizens from the county of Osnabrück individually designed 2,000 peace symbols. Their appearance is based on Roman army standards, and they decorated Kalkriese’s museum park in January 2009.

Later on, they traveled on as »ambassadors of peace« and can now be found all over the county of Osnabrück. 27 peace symbols – one for each member country of the European Union – could also send their peace message from their locations in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg and Deutscher Bundestag in Berlin.

Even 2001 years after the Varus Battle, the journey of the peace symbols continues. Under the title »Dem Frieden gewachsen?!« (»Being up to peace?!«), 194 of the peace symbols with peace-related quotes from 193 member nations of the United Nations as well as the Vatican will send out their peaceful message during the Landesgartenschau (State Garden Show) at Bad Essen.

Responsible for concept and design of these modern army standards is Osnabrück-based artist Volker Johannes Trieb.