“Around the World” in the Knauf museum in Iphofen, Franconia, Germany presents nearly 110 tourism posters from the collection of the German Historical Museum Berlin (DHM). Primarily from the 1920s and 1930s as well as from the 1950s and the early 1960s. Posters from shipping companies, airlines and railways, from tour operators and tourist agencies are evidence of the economic importance of tourism and touristic promotion for societies in the 20th century.
Within the many fields of application for poster art, tourism posters make up a class
of their own, to the service of which many notable commercial artists have devoted
their work. “Around the World” invites you on an imaginary journey across continents,
countries and cities and at the same time through a brief segment of poster history.
In addition, travel guides, tourist souvenirs, photos from aboard German cruise
ships and from airlines, entirely from the collections of the DHM, give an impression
of the world of travel.
Quotations serve as an echo of travel experiences and impressions of country and
people and comment on the allure of the posters.
The poster collection of the German Historical Museum Berlin comprises the stocks of the former Museum für Deutsche Geschichte and the German Historical Museum that came together in the course of reunification.
It contains around 75.000 posters, ranging from the early period of postermaking
at the end of the 19th century, through the First World War, the Weimar Republic
and the time of the “Third Reich”, on up to the German Democratic Republic and
the Federal Republic of Germany. The principal focus of the collection is the political poster, but in addition there is a great deal of material from the areas of commerce and culture, including some 1.700 tourism posters.
A large portion of these tourism posters acquired by the former “Museum für Deutsche Geschichte” came from private collections: the Bernhard Koslowski Collection and the Arthur Wolf Collection. Later acquisitions, including those of the DHM, supplement these stocks. “Around the World” shows a representative selection of the tourism posters.
Immediately after the crushing of the trade unions at the beginning of May 1933,
the “Deutsche Arbeitsfront” – “German Labour Front” (DAF) – was founded as the
single unified organisation of “all working Germans”. This “pseudo trade union”
was the body responsible for the National Socialist leisure-time and travel organisation
“Kraft durch Freude” – “Strength through Joy” (KdF) – that was launched in
According to Robert Ley, head of the DAF, the privilege of the upper classes to travel
should be broached as an “act of socialism”, and workers should be sent on holiday
with inexpensive package trips offered by the KdF.
In 1934 the KdF was already able to sell around half a million holiday trips, and by
the outbreak of the war in 1939 the number had risen to 37 million. The majority
of these trips were short inland excursions and hiking tours, which workers could
afford. However, the share of workers participating in the prestigious cruises with
ships of the KdF fleet to Madeira, the Italian coastal areas and Norway was less
Until June 29, 2014.
Posters: Courtesy of Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin.
You can win the wonderful exhibition catalogue. Just comment the following question until May 1, 2014: Which is your favourite holiday destination and why?