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16 October 2019 – 22 March 2020

Overman – Friedrich Nietzsche and the Consequences

This exhibition in honour of the 175th anniversary of Friedrich Nietzsche’s birth and the 150th anniversary of his appointment to Basel University’s Chair of Classical Philology offers visitors an insight into the turbulent life and ground-breaking ideas of Modernism’s most influential and most radical philosopher.

Who was Friedrich Nietzsche? A precursor of the Nazis who glorified war, a misogynist, a madman? Or was he not rather an anti-anti-Semite, a committed European and a champion of individualism and self-fulfillment, from whom we have a lot to learn about the challenges of the present?

Basel Historical Museum is celebrating Nietzsche’s 175th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his appointment to the Chair of Classical Philology at Basel University with an exhibition that sets out to answer just such questions. Nietzsche’s influence on subsequent generations cannot be overestimated and remains unbroken to this day. As a freethinker, he had a formative impact on the humanities and social sciences and on the development of Western society generally throughout the 20th century and beyond. Some of his ideas have even trickled down into everyday life

Basel Historical Museum’s special exhibition in the Barfüsserkirche falls into three sections, the first of which approaches the Nietzsche phenomenon through his biography, including his seminal years in Basel. The second section provides an introduction to some of his most influential works – Will to Power, The Eternal Return and Übermensch, after which the exhibition is named – and explains the key concepts and ideas that they contain. Finally, part three unfurls a vast panorama of the wide-ranging consequences of Nietzsche’s writings from their scholarly treatment and reception by artists to the role they have played in popular and everyday culture.

The exhibition offers visitors a compact and informative overview of the life, work and impact of Friedrich Nietzsche and supplies the tools needed by those interested in devoting part of this anniversary year to reading his works for themselves.

The exhibition will be flanked by a large, lavishly illustrated catalogue published by the Christoph Merian Verlag. This will contain essays on the most diverse aspects of Friedrich Nietzsche and his work by historians and Nietzsche experts of renown from all over the world.


The exhibition has been generously supported by the Nietzsche-connoisseur and patron Dr. Peter Buser.

Special exhibition in the Barfüsserkirche

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Basel Historical Museum
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Steinenberg 4
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00
Message: +41 61 205 86 02

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