If these walls could talk or from dead meat to living culture
For almost one hundred years, the slaughterhouse (Schlachthof) was the last station in the life of countless numbers of cattle and pigs. In 1977 this bloody business was moved to more modern buildings. The people of Bremen, especially the young, were left wondering how the city could use this prime piece of industrial architecture. Since this was a time of social change and criticism of the conventional cultural scene. The building was initially occupied by squatters before the idea for a new cultural centre was born.
A group was founded and negotiations with the cities politicians began. Up to this point, the great hall had already been used as a venue for all kinds of cultural events, but suddenly, the fate of this beautiful building appeared to be sealed, because on August 13th, in the summer of 1980, at four a.m. a demolition crew made its move.
Protests and numerous demonstrations ensued, even parts of the ruling Social Democrat Party condemned the demolition as an intolerable clandestine operation.
Undiscouraged, the Schlachthof Society occupied the remaining buildings. Finally, after a protracted struggle the foundation 'Wohnliche Stadt' granted funds for the renovation of the water tower, Kesselhalle and Magazin area.
In October of 1981 the Kesselhalle opened its doors and ever since this building has been a favourite venue for music, theatre and dance. Under the management of the Change event team, the Schlachthof became Northern Germany's Punk Music stronghold. Change bands, that can now easily fill the city's main convention centres, gave free and independent on the Schlachthof stage.
Workshops were founded, to develop and initiate projects, ideas and plans for restructuring the centre. A critical approach to the media was tried and the newspaper Zett is now published monthly as a platform for counterpointing mainstream publications.
A plaque at this place reminds since 1995 that during the reign of the National Socialists the Schlachthof served as collecting point for Romany people, before they were deported.
While at first the Schlachthof was operated on a voluntary basis, the situation changed when the government altered its employment policy. Job generating measures lead to more continuity and commitment. At last, in 1994 the Schlachthof was officially included in the cultural budget of the City of Bremen. Today, 15 men and women are permanently employed, 4 trainees and 7 further jobs are financed through other funds.
Around 300 events take place at the Schlachthof every year, attracting an approximate 120.000 visitors. In addition to these there are the guests of the Schlachthof Pub, the summer garden and the skateboard area. The Schlachthof cooperates with many groups, organisations and people in this city and is linked to cultural centers throughout Europe.