The Rhine-Neckar Shuffle- Mannheim

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Southwestern Germany. It was a bit of a road-trip-style adventure, so I had the opportunity to visit several wonderful cities in the Rhine-Neckar region, making up what is known as the Rhine-Neckar Triangle.

Of the three cities I visited, I probably spent the least amount of time exploring Mannheim, but I was really impressed by what I was able to see in this time! My first stop was straight over to the Kunsthalle Mannheim, a museum of modern and contemporary art. Modern art tends to be a little hit or miss with me, but I was nevertheless impressed with the installations throughout the museum. These days, the museum plays host to the largest collection of Anselm Kiefer works in the world. The artist’s works often confront the more controversial issues from Germany’s history- a trend I found continued throughout the museum. When I visited, each piece of art had a mark next to it denoting its providence and relationship to the National Socialist movement.

Once I had absorbed as much as I could from this museum, I headed over to the Mannheim Palace, which is an extraordinarily large baroque palace that is partially used as a museum and also hosts the University of Mannheim. Had I known that I could go to university in a palace, school may have gone a little differently for me. Entrance to the museum portion of the palace was only 7 Euro including the English audioguide- which I highly recommend as all of the written literature throughout the museum was in German. Although significant portions of the building were destroyed during the war, the Palace has undergone a multimillion dollar renovation restoring it to its former glory. I loved the baroque art and architecture and the furnished rooms were a delight to walk through. My favorite areas were the famous Knights Hall and the Rocco Library Cabinet of Electress Elisabeth Auguste von der Pfalz, the latter of which had survived the devastating destruction of the Second World War.

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