Grashaus Aachen European Seminar Room
Interactive media consoles within historic walls: The Grashaus on Fischmarkt square is the “Europe” stop on the Route Charlemagne and, as such, primarily an out-of-school learning location.
The “European classroom” conveys the topic “Europe” in its historical, current and forward-looking dimensions in an unusual way. The target audience are school classes. The young people are invited to engage with the history of Europe and join the discussion about Europe’s present and future. Interested non-school groups are also welcome to make use of the Grashaus resources,. albeit only as part of a workshop that’s been booked. After all, the Grashaus is no museum. Anyone wanting just to view the building is welcome to do so as part of one of the architectural history tours (see below).
As European as it gets
Beneath the “European classroom”, on the ground floor of the Grashaus, are EUROPE DIRECT and the office of the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize .
EUROPE DIRECT acts as an information office helping to make Europe and its institutions more transparent for the general public, promoting awareness of Europe and encouraging participation in the way Europe is being shaped.
The Foundation for the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen is a network of individuals who support the Charlemagne Prize, who lend fresh momentum the integration process in Europe and who wish to address the citizens in order to involve them more closely in the discussion of European issues.
City hall, prison and city archives
Built around 1260, the Grashaus was Aachen’s first city hall and a visible sign of the confidence of its citizens who had had a city council since 1258. After the successor building was erected on the market square in the 14th century, it was used as a court and a prison. Serious capital offences, especially, were tried here. Those sentenced to death were beheaded in public in the courtyard.
The dungeon was terrifying. In the “Hansenloch” pit, prisoners were chained to a block of stone. There were no toilets. This purposes was fulfilled by an open sewer leading through the cells. During the French occupation, an official criticised the cells, saying they were dark, damp and extremely unhealthy. The Grashaus prison was finally dispensed with when a new prison was built in 1806.
The was a time when the term “Grashaus” was believed to be derived from the Middle High German word “graz”, meaning angry, raging, angry or screaming, but it was probably used because of the grassed area that once surrounded the building. In 1885 it was decided to re-build the ruins to house the city archives. Only the front facade of the original remained. The archives took up residence in the Grashaus in 1890. The jewel in the crown of the archives was the elaborately painted document room with its precious showcases.
As early as the late 1920s, the city archives were judged to be too crowded. The growing number of archived materials resulted in more and more of them being housed elsewhere. The call for relocation of the archives was loud, even at that stage. However, nothing happened until 2013 when the archives moved, complete with all their contents, to a former needle factory on Reichsweg.
Every Saturday at 3 p.m. we offer a public tour. From historic preservation reasons, groups taking the guided tour are limited to 15 people. Therefore, please register in advance!
(Bookings and information, for other days as well as just Saturdays):
Tel. +49 241 432 4998
Fax +49 241 432 4989
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