Stefan Voß: only in Halle. Simply unique

Halle is a city of many unique features. The house where Georg Friedrich Händel was born, the Sky Disc of Nebra, Martin Luther’s death mask, the biggest surface architecture monument in Eu­­ro­­pe, an original, preserved baroque cham­­ber of wonders, the headquarters of the German Federal Cul­­tural Foundation and the German Aca­­de­my of Sciences Leopoldina, three fortresses and the oldest university at which teaching was carried out in German – all this can be found in Halle. Reason enough for Stadt­­marke­­ting Halle (Saale) GmbH (SMG) to put together a campaign which combines and permeates Halle’s marketing activities: “nur bei uns.” (only in Halle).


The birth of the campaign “nur bei uns. In Halle an der Saale” was the In­­ter­­na­­tional Tourism Fair 2008 (ITB) in Berlin. To accomplish this, the SMG was able to obtain the support of the seven best known cultural and scientific institutions in Halle for a joint marketing campaign. Since then, Halle’s cultural flagships, which also contribute money to the campaign, has beve combining their culture highlights under the motto: “nur bei uns.” in bro­­chu­­res, advertisements and in a na­­tion­­­­wide poster series.
The Hän­­del-Haus Foundation, the Moritz­­burg Foundation – Art Museum of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, the State Mu­­seum of Pre­­-History, the Francke Foun­­da­­tions in Halle, Giebichenstein Castle Halle College of Art and Design, the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wit­­ten­­­­­­berg and the Theatre, Opera and Or­­chestra GmbH Halle, made up of the Halle Opera, the Halle State Orchestra, the New Theatre and the Thalia The­­atre, all cooperated. All these successful institutions were guided by the know­­l­­edge that they were not able to promote themselves on their own to this extent and in this prominent environment.
Since the start of the campaign, a large number of unique events have been marketed as tourist packages: the interna­­ti­­o­­nal festival “Theater der Welt” (Thea­­tres of the World), the permanent exhibition on the Sky Disc of Nebra and the ar­­chae­­ological exhibition on “Fundsache Luther” (Luther – Lost Property) in the Sta­­te Museum of Pre-History, the Hän­­del Fes­­ti­­vals, the re-opening of the extension of the Moritz­­burg, the reconstruction of the house in the Fran­­cke Foun­­dations where Au­­gust Hermann Francke used to live, the collections of Hermann Ger­­linger, Einar Schleef and Lyonel Fein­­in­­ger, the annual exhibition at Gie­­bich­­­­en­­stein Castle or the “Lange Nächte der Wissenschaft” (Long Science Nights).
The objective of the campaign, which is oriented to cultural fans and those on short or city trips, is to build up the national image of Halle as city of Händel and main cultural centre.
The 24-page cultural brochure “nur bei uns. In Halle an der Saale”, of which 20,000 copies are printed semi-annually and which is distributed at various trade fairs such as the ITB in Berlin, the tourism trade fair “Horizont” in Karls­­­­ru­­he or the “Tourismus und Cara­­va­ning Leip­­zig”, provides information on up-coming cultural highlights in Halle an der Sa­ale.
The national placing of advertise­­ments and advertorials cover “DIE ZEIT”, “ZEIT Kultursommer” and “ZEIT Reisen”, “DB mobil”, the customer magazine of Deut­­sche Bahn AG, inserts in culturally oriented magazines in “Focus” and “Spie­­­gel” and advertisements in other culturally oriented magazines. Germany-wide bill­­­­­­board posting has been carried out in three stages to date – in No­­vember, April­­ and May/June in Munich, Hanover, Er­­furt, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Halle­­ and Wei­­mar.


What can you discover in “nur bei uns.”? The SMG covers the whole range of Halle’s special features, such as the Neue Re­­si­denz, the seat of Cardinal Albrecht von Bran­den­­burg, Archbishop of Mag­­de­­burg and Electoral Prince of Mainz since the 15th century; the letter from Martin Luther to Albrecht on 31 October 1517 opposing the sale of in­­dulgences – along with his 95 Theses as an attachment; Car­di­­nal Alb­recht’s departure from Halle in 1541 under pressure from the reformation movement; Luther’s three sermons in Hal­le’s Market Church in 1545 and 1546; the fact that his body lay in state there on 20/21 Fe­­bru­­ary 1546; the fact that his death mask still lies there today; the fact that Halle’s Marien­­bi­­bliothek is the oldest Lutheran Church library in Germany; and the fact that the carillon in the Red Tower is the second-largest in the world. All this can only be found in Halle!

What makes the Martin Luther Uni­­ver­­sity of Halle-Witten­berg, which was foun­­d­­ed in Halle in 1694, unique? It is not only the oldest and largest education institution in Saxony-Anhalt. At the be­­ginning and end of the 18th century, the Electoral-Brandenburg State Uni­­ver­­sity was Germany’s leading and most modern university for many decades and in the first decades of its existence had the highest student numbers of all universities in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

What is the reason for the fame of the Francke Foundations in Halle? The theo­­­­­lo­­gian and pietist August Hermann Francke (1663–1727) established a dia­­conate centre here. The foundation stone for a new orphanage was laid in 1698 and within 30 years, school, residence, work­­shop buildings, gardens and a phar­­macy had been built. Thus, from Chris­­tian doctrines in­­spired school town grew, where up to 2,500 people lived. Through the Francke Foun­­dations, Hal­­le got Ger­­many’s first childrens’ hospital, the longest half-tim­­bered house in Eu­­ro­­pe and the world’s only baroque cham­­ber of art and natural products. The Bible Society, founded in the Francke Foun­­da­­ti­­ons in 1710 by Carl Hilde­brand von Can­­stein, is also the oldest in the world.
Halle’s Moritzburg castle was originally built as the residence of the Magdeburg archbishops, it is one of the most im­­pres­­sive late mediaeval castles in Cen­­tral Germany. Among its many occupiers were Albrecht von Wallenstein and the imperial general Tilly.
From 1637 to 1639, the Thirty Years’ War left traces of destruction throughout the entire west and north wing and in the southwest bastion.


An international architecture competition helped to resolve this situation in 2008: The great expansion project of the Mo­­ritz­­burg, whose modern roofing is a re­­spon­­se to the moving language of the existing historical gabled roof and gables, is pu­­re world architecture, in which the im­­posing collections of Hermann Ger­­lin­­ger, Einar Schleef and Lyonel Fein­­in­­ger have found a worthy home.

The city’s most famous treasure is found in the State Museum of Pre-History in Halle, namely the 3,600-year-old Sky Disc of Nebra, an important archaeolo­­g­­ical find of the 20th century. The Sky Disc is the world’s oldest tangible de­­­scrip­­tion of astronomical phenomena and gives an idea of what our forefathers knew about the course of the world and its religious interpretation. The State Mu­­­­­seum also has one of the oldest, most important and – with more than eleven million finds, one of the most comprehensive – ar­­ch­­aeological collecti­­ons in Ger­­many and is one of the most significant ar­­chaeo­logical museums in Cen­­­­tral Europe.

Giebichenstein Castle, which dates from the 9th century, was among other things, the death and lying-in-state site of several bishops in the archbishopric of Mag­­­­deburg and served the king as a “state prison” for members of the up­­per aristocracy. Even Lud­wig the Leaper, Land­­grave of Thuringia, was arrested for mur­­­­der of the Count Palatine of Saxony. Hein­rich IV was a guest here in 1064, Fried­­rich I Bar­barossa con­­ve­­ned the Princes’ Conference at the castle in 1157 in preparation for the planned Polish cam­­paign as part of the German eastwards expansion. Today, Gie­­­bich­en­­­­stein Castle is the Halle College of Art and Design, which has developed from the tradition of a tradesmen’s and artistic school to a modern art and de­­sign college with university-level status, where over 1,000 students form over 20 coun­­tries study. Halle is also known as the birthplace of Georg Friedrich Händel (1685–1759), whose operas, or­­atorios and cantatas made him famous. Even today there is still much evidence of his life and work in Halle: Händel’s birthplace with the newly opened Hän­­del Mu­­­seum, the Market Church, where he was baptized, and the Händel Festi­­vals, which the city of Halle has been organizing since 1922 in honour of its illustrious son, along with numerous con­­certs such as by the Hän­­del Festival Or­­chestra. In the midst of the Market Square, a 3.2-metre-high bronze statue of Hän­­del stands as a tribute to the great com­­poser.

Without Händel, Halle today would not have the oldest secular boy’s choir in Germany or an internationally famous Children’s Choir Festival. You can find tradition in Halle anywhere you look. Combined under “nur bei uns.”, it can now let its effect unfold.


Stefan-Voß1Der Autor wurde 1965 geboren und stu­­dierte Geschichte und Politikwissen­schaf­­ten. Nach Stationen als Journalist beim „Holsteinischen Cou­­rier“ wechselte Voß 1999 ins PR-Fach und wurde 2004 Pres­­se- und Mar­ketingchef der Stadt Wolfs­­burg. 2006 war er als Ressortleiter Stadt­­marketing der Wolfs­burg Mar­­keting GmbH tätig und übernahm 2008 die Ge­­schäfts­­führung der Stadtmarketing Halle (Saale) GmbH.