The German Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a philosopher and journalist and is known as the father of Communism and Marxism. With his call for a revolution of the working class, they would hold the power and a society would no longer consist of various classes or positions. Some countries, including China and Russia, have embraced his political ideology and use it as a guide for future decisions. In short, Karl Marx’s vision is still very much alive.
If you would like to learn more about the life of Karl Marx, you can do so in the Museum Karl-Marx House in Trier, or his birthplace. In this article I will give you more information about the life of this philosopher and answer the question why you should absolutely visit his birth house.
Karl Marx: A Happy Childhood in Trier
Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818 in Trier. His parents were the German Heinrich Marx and the Dutch Henriëtte Presburg from Nijmegen. Together, they had 9 children and Karl was the third. The family enjoyed a fair degree of prosperity. He received private education at home until the age of 12 and went to study law at the University of Bonn when he was 17. After a year, he transferred to the University of Berlin to study philosophy. Not much is known about the life of the young Marx in Trier. He received private education here, attended grammar school and left home when he went to study in Bonn.
Karl Marx learned very quickly, but regularly failed to attend lectures in order to engage in discussions with philosophers in coffee houses. When he was twenty-two, he graduated from the University of Jena with a doctoral thesis in philosophy. He had not made himself popular in Berlin by drawing different political and philosophical conclusions from the ideas of Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831).
The life of Karl Marx: Exile from Prussia and the Communist Manifesto
In 1943 Karl Marx married his childhood sweetheart Jenny von Westphalen (1814-1881). Marx became a journalist for the radical social-democratic newspaper Rheinische Zeitung, but after a year he left to work for Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. Here he met Friedrich Engels (1820-1895).
Marx was exiled by France in 1845, after he had spoken positively about an attack on the Prussian king Frederick William IV. Prussia requested France to exile him and did so.
Marx and Engels fled to Brussels. Together, they wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848, a year of revolution in European history with many uprisings. Marx and Engels returned to France, but decided to leave for London in 1850.
Most famous work: Das Kapital
Marx lived in London until his death on 14 March 1883. It was not a pleasant time, Marx and his family lived regularly in poverty. His bosom friend Engels supported him regularly with money. Marx wrote his most famous work, Das Kapital, in England.
In Das Kapital, Marx criticises the increasing role of capitalism. It would only lead to a small group of rich people exploiting the ordinary workers. He predicted a class struggle in which the ever-increasing working class would take over power in the country.
This would lead to a fairer distribution of wealth and prosperity. In the twentieth century, communist and socialist political parties were largely inspired by Marx’s ideas.
A review of Museum Karl-Marx-House
A visit to the Museum Karl-Marx-House is particularly interesting if you want to know more about the life of this philosopher. His entire life is shown, including his most important works Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. In addition, this museum is a welcome change from the old Roman ruins that you mostly see in the city. And finally, this is the museum of one of the most important ideologues in the history of mankind…
The house at Brückenstraße 10 was inhabited by the Marx family for only a short time. Shortly after the birth of Karl Marx, the family moved to a building on Simeonstraße 8. Today, it houses an optician’s shop and is otherwise not to be admired inside (unless you need glasses).
It was only discovered in 1904 that this was the original home of Karl Marx. It came into the hands of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1928. They wanted to turn it into a memorial to Marx, but the Nazis occupied the building in 1933 and turned it into a party building. After the Second World War, the SPD regained the building as a memorial. In 1968, the building opened as a library, museum and research institute for interested parties.
Practical information about the Karl-Marx-House Museum
The birthplace of Karl Marx is an interesting place to learn more about his life and ideas. He is not considered one of the most important ideologists in history for nothing. Depending on your interests, a visit takes about two hours.
How to get there: The Karl-Marx-House Museum is located in the old town of Trier. From the train station it is about a 20-minute walk to the museum.
Opening Hours: The Museum Karl-Marx-House is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission to the museum costs €5 per person.
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