The Fritz Thyssen Foundation has been based in the heart of Cologne’s inner city at Apostelnkloster, straight across from the Romanesque Sankt Aposteln Church, since 2011.
The building was designed by Rudolf Schickmann and opened as America House in 1955. Until it was closed in 2007, it served as a “window to America”, offering views of the culture, society and politics of the United States and fostering cultural exchange between Germany and the USA.
Following its conversion, the Foundation building, which is listed as an architectural monument, offers wide-ranging possibilities to perform its task, the promotion of science and research, in the public domain. With several event rooms, it serves as a centre for scholarly dialogue and a venue for cultural events. In addition to events supported by the Foundation, guest events also take place here.
Former America House in Cologne
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 Rudolf 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 symbolised 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.