Kunstmuseen Krefeld

The Kunstmuseen Krefeld have been venues for the presentation of contemporary art for 120 years.

With their three locations—the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in the center of town and the modern villas Haus Lange and Haus Esters in the Bockum residential area, the Kunstmuseen Krefeld represent an ideal forum for a program dedicated to the encounter of fine and applied arts.

Kaiser Wilhelm Museum

The foundation for the Kunstmuseen Krefeld was laid in 1897 with the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum at Karlsplatz.

Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, 2017, Photo: Volker Döhne
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, 2017, Photo: Volker Döhne


Robert Stadler designs the new café for the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum as a Gesamtkunstwerk. This new place for culture, exchange, and culinary delights will be officially opened on April 2nd and 3rd, 2022.

Rendering: Studio Robert Stadler
Rendering: Studio Robert Stadler

Haus Esters Haus Lange

The two urban villas Haus Esters and Haus Lange were erected in 1927–1928 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the leading representatives of New Architecture. Originally planned as private homes for the families of two friends active in Krefeld’s silk industry, Hermann Lange and Dr Josef Esters, they are now venues for the temporary exhibitions of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld.

Haus Lange  
Garden view  
Photo: Volker Döhne
Haus Lange
Garden view
Photo: Volker Döhne
Haus Esters, Krefeld  
Straßenfront, Norden  
Foto: Volker Döhne
Haus Esters, Krefeld
Straßenfront, Norden
Foto: Volker Döhne

Mies Van der Rohe

“I wanted to use a lot more glass in this house, but my client did not want that. I was faced with problems. They were nice people. We became good friends.” These are the few written lines we have from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) on his client Hermann Lange (1874–1942) in Krefeld. They come from an interview in 1959 and thus bridge a gap of 30 years since 1930, when Haus Lange and Haus Esters were finished.

As a result, they tell us little about the real significance that the textile manufacturer had for Mies van der Rohe's creative work in the 1920s. After all, Hermann Lange was responsible for commissioning or passing on eight projects to him. Their collaboration began with the appointments for the café “Velvet and Silk” at the Berlin trade fair for women’s fashion in 1927.

By 1927–28, when he began to plan Haus Lange and Haus Esters, Mies van der Rohe was already a highly successful Modernist architect. Born in 1886 in Aachen as Ludwig Mies, the name under which he was to rise to fame was made by adding his mother's maiden name. After a brief apprenticeship in Aachen (vocational school, his father's stonemason business) and initial employment as a furniture designer by Bruno Paul and later as an architect for Peter Behrens in Berlin, in 1912 he opened up his own architectural practice.

By the beginning of the 1920s he had already come up with trailblazing ideas for a high-rise at Friedrichstrasse station (1921), an office block in reinforced concrete (1923), a country house also in reinforced concrete (1923), and for a country house in brick (1923/24), even if none of them were built. At the same time, by the mid-1920s Mies van der Rohe was already an experienced architect who built villas and country houses for the upper classes in Berlin and its surrounding areas. In 1926 he directed the Werkbund exhibition The Apartment, which was responsible for the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart. That same year he became vice president of the Deutscher Werkbund and in 1930 director of the Bauhaus, which had moved from Dessau to Berlin, where it was closed in 1933 by the National Socialists.

These few key dates already give an idea of the sheer scope and diversity of this great man of architecture. The foundations of Miesian design, which is inadequately conveyed by such buzzwords as “open plan” and “steel frame” (even for residential buildings and country homes), had already reached its maturity in Mies van der Rohe's work in Europe. Ultimately his greatly impressive achievements while in America from 1938 onwards were his revolutionary ideas for high-rise buildings and the concepts behind his large-scale projects. Mies van der Rohe developed the curtain wall made of steel and glass, as well as trussless interiors for hall constructions with wide-span roofs.

In 1953 Mies van der Rohe was made a Member of the Order Pour le Mérite (German Federal Republic) and in 1963 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom—an honor bestowed by the president of the United States of America. Mies van der Rohe died on August 17, 1969 in Chicago.

Verseidag Dye Factory, Krefeld, (First stage of construction 1931)
Verseidag Dye Factory, Krefeld, (First stage of construction 1931)
Mies van der Rohe working on Haus Esters, approx. 1927/28, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2019
Mies van der Rohe working on Haus Esters, approx. 1927/28, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2019


Katia Baudin
T +49 (0)2151 97558-111

Administrative Assistant
Sylvia Görres
T +49 (0)2151 97558-111

Assistant Curator
Juliane Duft
T +49 (0)2151 97558-118

Deputy Director
Dr. Sylvia Martin
T +49 (0)2151 97558-114

Curator of Collections
Dr. Magdalena Holzhey
T +49 (0)2151 97558-113

Fundraising and Partnerships
Tabea Malter
T +49 (0)2151 97558-136

Education and Public Programs
Thomas Janzen
T +49 (0)2151 97558-112

Press and Communications
Fabienne Kylla
T +49 (0)2151 97558-131

Dirk Rose
T +49 (0)2151 97558-125


Employee Freunde der
Kunstmuseen Krefeld e. V.
Julia Lemke

Visitor Services
Eva Tuttaß
T +49 (0)2151 97558-137

Anna Verstegen
T +49 (0)2151 97558-137

Administrative head
Beatrix Schiffer
T +49 (0)2151 97558-155

Administration Ursula Resech
T +49 (0)2151 97558-126

Julia Schramm
T +49 (0)2151 97558-117

Sebastian Köhler
T +49 (0)2151 97558-122

Conservator for Paper
Charlotte Bretzendorfer
T +49 (0)2151 97558-122

Saskia Mench
T +49 (0)2151 97558-151

Technical Manager
Thomas Larisch-Pütz
T +49 (0)2151 97558-133

Art Handling and Carpentry
Henrik Weiß
T +49 (0)2151 97558-135

Art Handling and Depot
Andreas Schwaen
T +49 (0)2151-97558-116

Facility Manager
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum
Markus Richter
T +49 (0)2151 97558-124

In-House Technician
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum
Thorsten Hausmann
T +49 (0)2151 97558-150

Facility Manager
Haus Lange und Haus Esters
Jürgen Schmitz
T +49 (0)2151 9557-18

Haus Lange and Haus Esters
Vera Lasch
T +49 (0)2151 9557-19