The Fritz Thyssen Foundation: a new home in Cologne

The Fritz Thyssen Foundation headquarters are located in the heart of Cologne, near Neumarkt, straight across from the Romanesque Sankt Aposteln Church.

After a renovation and refurbishment phase lasting more than two years, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation moved into its new business offices, the former America House in Cologne, in January 2011.

The new headquarters of the foundation are intended to become a centre for scholarly dialogue and exchange of ideas as well as a location for scholarly conferences and exhibitions. The America House in Cologne was opened after the new building was constructed in June 1955 and has since that time been an important part of the U.S. presence in Nordrhein-Westphalen.

The building, designed by the architect R. H. Schickmann and today a listed monument, is located on premises neighbouring the former Apostelngymnasium, which was destroyed in the war. As part of the U.S. Information Service and a “window to America”, America House provided a look at the variety and diversity of the United States. In the period following the Second World War and against the backdrop of the Cold War, the House played a significant role in the cultural life of the city of Cologne. As a forum for discussion of important Western values, principles and human rights, it symbolises the efforts made by the U.S. government to democratise Germany. An additional task of the facility was to convey information to the German population on the culture, society and political system of the United States. When the Department for Press and Public Relations Work moved to the U.S. Consulate General in Düsseldorf in September 2007, America House in Cologne was closed.

An important time-witness to the recent history of Cologne, America House is being preserved as an architectural monument through its use by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and will also serve as an open house for societal and scholarly dialogue in the future as well.