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History

In the year 1964, the State of North Rhine-Westphallia took over the sponsorship responsibility for Upper Silesians living in the Federal Republic, as well as for the association Landsmannschaft der Oberschlesier e.V. (LdO). Many Upper Silesians who were forced to leave their homeland during the Second World War found a new home along the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. The sponsorship is moreover an expression of a much longer connection between this region and Upper Silesia. Already in the 19th century, many Upper Silesian miners came to the Ruhr region to work in the mines there, where there were opportunities for better pay. Many later went back to Upper Silesia, though many others stayed and started families.

In 1970, the foundation Haus Oberschlesien was founded in Ratingen-Hösel. In 1983, the State Museum of Upper Silesia began its work, initially on a small scale in the foundation’s building “Haus Oberschlesien”. In 1998, the OSLM moved to a newly built, modern museum building on the opposite side of the street. The impressive structure, consisting of three cubes made of glass, steel and concrete which appear to overlap and penetrate one another, was designed by the Cologne architects of Walter von Lom & Partner. All three cubes meet at the central, open stairwell, completed by a circular staircase. The roughly 1,600 m2 of exhibition space for permanent and temporary exhibitions is distributed across three floors.

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