History of the CPH

Since it was opened, the CPH has established itself nationwide as a conference location with an extraordinary combination of tradition and modernity, excellent technology and excellent service. Even heads of government have met here. Residents of Hanau also like to visit the CPH again and again.

Place for important events

Town hall and Congress Park Hanau

Important events have always been held on Schlossplatz. The “Stadthalle” (town hall) was already an ideal place for economic and cultural events. The CPH has continued this tradition since it opened in 2003. Important companies hold conferences and meetings at the CPH just as regularly as federal or state party conferences, theatre and concert performances or balls. The “competitive dialogue”, a method for designing the town centre of Hanau, something unique in Germany so far, was also carried out at the CPH with workshops and presentations for the various development phases.

From the moated castle to the Stadtschloss

The Schlossplatz in Hanau's old town refers to the square in front of the former castle Burg Hanau and the later Stadtschloss. The moated castle at today's Schlossgarten was first mentioned in a document in 1234. The complex, which was changed several times, was demolished in 1829/30 by order of Elector Wilhelm II of Hesse-Cassel.

Under Count Philipp Reinhard von Hanau-Lichtenberg, a new Stadtschloss (town castle) was built as a residence from 1685 to 1714 which involved several construction phases.

The castle complex included a government building, a chancellery and stables. The stables, which were there before the town hall, were built between 1712 and 1714. A carriage house was later added on the east side, from which the Friedrichsbau was built and connected to the Fürstenbau in 1763/64. In 1714, the Fürstenbau received a stately portal with a balcony above it. The Schlossgarten was laid out in 1766 as one of the first English landscape gardens on the European continent. In 1890, the town of Hanau bought the castle. After 1927, the Fürstenbau became the official residence of the mayor of Hanau.

From the stables to the town hall

According to its decision of 1928, the town council of Hanau wanted a stately building for economic and cultural events. Accordingly, the stables were converted into a town hall in the same year according to the plans of the architects Schad and Roth. The west facade had a sandstone gable at the main entrance, which is still prominent today.

Inside, a large hall with a stage was established on the ground floor and a chamber music hall on the first floor. The top floor was rented to the music conservatory.

On 28th March 1933, the National Socialists staged their first coordinated town council meeting in the town hall to show their power.

During the Second World War, the town hall served as a military hospital.

The Stadtschloss and town hall were destroyed during attacks by British bombers on 6th January and 19th March 1945.

War destruction and reconstruction

The town theatre also fell victim to the Allies' bombs. Hanau no longer had a large, stately event hall. The town council considered this to be "untenable in the long run," as was stated in a letter to the Hessian Ministry of Finance in November 1948.

The town did not have the funds for reconstructing the town hall. Therefore, companies and businesses in Hanau donated generous prizes for a lottery. 30,000 tickets at a price of one mark per ticket were sold, plus a house-to-house fundraising campaign and a donation from Dunlop in December 1948. With that money, the roof of the town hall was renewed to avoid structural damage in winter.

Voluntary associations in Hanau that were committed to the cause and collected money at festivals, as well as modules issued by banks and savings banks in the form of credit notes, subsequently served to decisively push the reconstruction process forward. Finally, the town hall was officially opened on 16th December 1950.

Only the town hall and the government building (today's town library) were rebuilt as former parts of the Stadtschloss.

From the town hall to the CONGRESS PARK HANAU

A community centre extension with a hall, conference rooms and restaurant was built in 1966. In the same year, the town hall's stage was expanded. However, as far as a theatre was concerned, the town hall remained a temporary solution. As a result, the “Friends' Association for a Theatre and Cultural Centre” was committed to building a theatre since 1988. In the course of the debate, the Schlossplatz emerged as the location for a new theatre and congress centre. There were preliminary plans that provided alternatives to renovate the town hall and the community centre or to modernise the town hall and build a new conference centre instead of the community centre.

In 2000, the municipality unanimously decided to build a new congress centre and to keep the town hall. The foundations for the CONGRESS PARK HANAU were laid in August 2001, and the topping-out ceremony was on Ash Wednesday 2002. The CPH was officially opened on 4th October 2003 with a gala concert by the Staatskapelle Weimar.

The municipality carried out the official opening of the CPH in October 2003 with the town's 700th-anniversary celebrations and the market rights award. On the open day, the colour scheme and acoustics of the Paul Hindemith Hall and the building's lighting concept impressed the visitors. From the beginning, modern art had been a characteristic feature of the establishment. The “Friends' Association for a Theatre and Cultural Centre” donated a wooden sculpture by Claus Bury for the historical foyer of the town hall — Henriette Westermayr. Later, large-format, geometric paintings by the internationally renowned British artist Jon Groom were added to the modern staircase of the CPH and in the vitreous south foyer. Since 2005, this has also been the permanent exhibition space of the “Art in the CPH” series.

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