–  Clemens Sels Museum Neuss


Of homes and origins

Where do people in the Rhineland have their roots? Who is descended from immigrants? Who is native at all? The exhibition explores these questions in a long flight through 30,000 years of Lower Rhine history.

Since its beginnings, the history of mankind has been a succession of migrations. Modern man developed in Africa and settled Europe from there. At the beginning of the Neolithic period, the descendants of arable farmers from the Fertile Crescent migrated as far as the Lower Rhine, bringing with them their knowledge of grain cultivation and animal husbandry.

People from Italy and North Africa as well as from the Iberian Peninsula came to the province of Lower Germania in Roman times, as did Germanic tribes from the Elbe. They are among the ancestors of the Franks of the Lower Rhine. A veritable wave of immigrants to the cities began in the 18th century, but especially with the onset of industrialization in the early 19th century. In addition to merchants, craftsmen and workers from Italy, there were revolutionary refugees from France or brickmakers from Belgium and the Netherlands.

In the 20th century, migration intensified: Workers from what is now Poland at the beginning of the century and refugees and expellees from the former German eastern territories after World War II were followed by "guest workers" from Italy, Greece, Portugal, Turkey or the former Yugoslavia. In the 1980s, a wave of refugees from Vietnam, Iran, Africa or Syria began.

Looked at closely, practically everyone in the Rhineland has a migration background of their own in one way or another.

The exhibition is being created in cooperation with the City of Neuss' Commissioner for Diversity, Integration and Antiracism and the Institute for Historical Studies at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. It is part of the theme year "Grounding" of the Rhine-Meuse Museum Network 2023/24.


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