a new story of the old saxony

5.4. a 18.8.2019

Lower Saxony today has around eight million people. They have their roots everywhere in Europe and in the world. Many families have been settled here for centuries, some perhaps since the early Middle Ages. At that time almost all inhabitants of the country were called "Saxones". Are today's Lower Saxony descendants of these "old Saxons"? Where does the name "Sachsen" come from and who were they?

In co-operation, the Braunschweigische Landesmuseum and the Landesmuseum Hannover 2019 present a new history for Lower Saxony in a large joint exhibition. The exhibition traces the myth about the "old Saxons".

Facts and opinions

who are the old saxons?

Archaeologists and historians have the history of the 1. to 10. Century n. Chr. In today's Lower Saxony, but also in Westphalia fundamentally revised. The well-known story of the conquest of these areas by the Germanic tribe of the "old Saxons", but also the supposedly practiced early democracy were critically questioned. The myth turned out not only as romantically transfigured, but also as politically wanted - and was already used in the early Middle Ages to justify claims to power. Explore the myth of Saxony with us: we sort the facts and opinions!

time testify

far and strange

Many high-level credentials from across the 1. Millennium from German and international collections are brought together here for the first time. The exhibition presents 160 partly extensive ensembles of archaeological finds and around 60 prominent individual objects: fine jewelry and weapons from graves, unique manuscripts and royal documents. They are the last witnesses of a distant epoch. Whether valuable treasure trove, magnificent grave goods or banal everyday object: These contemporary witnesses give unexpectedly concrete insights into the life of an archaic society at the intersection of former European cultural areas. What they tell us is alien and close at the same time.

identity and myths

who is we"? and why?

Ancient myths and historical narratives create identity. Who belongs to it when we say "we?" Modern scientific findings offer surprising new perspectives on the emergence of identities and their transformation in the 1. Millennium AD According to the popular myth that the ancient Saxons are the ancestors of Lower Saxony, the exhibition juxtaposes modern historical knowledge about the emergence of the powerful Saxon identity of the early Middle Ages. The story of the Roman defeat in the Teutoburg Forest until the rise of Saxon nobles to kings of the East Frankish German Empire appears today in a new light. Discover the story behind the myth!

a game of throne

war and politics in the heart of europe

The Niedersächsische Landesausstellung tells the story between the Harz and the North Sea in the 1. New Millennium: It's a political story, a narrative of winners and losers. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire have also had their effect here. The members of the upper class are highly mobile and very networked. They themselves become impulses in European affairs. At the same time foreign kings compete for supremacy in the country, different cultures meet. The struggle for power, influence and prosperity in the regions is not guided by the means of diplomacy: violent clashes, political marriages or purchased loyalties are common instruments of politics. The decisions of powerful families set the course for the development of the whole country. "Game of Thrones" - on our doorstep.

winner write history

where do the saxons come from?

In Roman times, the name "Saxones" was a name for pirates and pirates. Only from the 7. In the 19th century AD, the inhabitants of Lower Saxony and Westphalia were called "Saxones", ie "Saxons". A dirty word? The Saxons did not want to recognize the rule of the Frankish king. Only Charlemagne could subdue her. But only a few generations later, a Saxon nobleman rose to the Frankish throne with Henry I. He was succeeded by his son Emperor Otto I, now the most powerful man in Europe. In the monastery of Corvey, the monk Widukind wrote the story of these proud men in the 10. Century - and thus founded the myth of Saxony. His story captivates to this day.

meet & greet

reference point human

Fascinating portraits and survival scenes allow you to share important moments and events in the lives of nine people living in Lower Saxony and Westphalia back then. The colorful images come from Kelvin Wilson, one of the most prominent archaeological illustrators in Europe. His works are the result of an intense artistic exploration of archaeological-historical research. His expressive illustrations meet their subject with respect: in eye contact with the historical individuals portrayed by him rather than reconstructed, the temporal distance between them and us is extinguished - an imagined past becomes for a moment a memorable present.