December 2021
Visuals: Stadthaus am Dom GmbH / Studio Revoluzzer
Science Center Wetzlar

Here's to the Future

Its inauguration might not take place before 2025 but it is already becoming apparent now: The Science Center Wetzlar in the new Domhöfe directly in front of the cathedral will be a gain for the city, for the region and for future generations.

It is well known that first impressions are crucial. And this one is without any doubt impressive. Ralf Niggemann starts the virtual tour through the new Science Center on his laptop. On screen, we enter the foyer through a glass façade, are guided upstairs to the exhibition floor, past several areas dedicated to various technological and scientific topics. The world of optics is presented in three dimensions; interactive exhibits centering around natural sciences and technology invite to participate; origin and future of the technology region become tangible and comprehensible.

Approaching scientific phenomena innovatively and through play

The initial idea of adapting the existing Viseum to modern requirements evolved into the prospect of creating a Science Center which appeals to people of all ages and would above all spark an interest in STEM professions in children and young people. The best in optics, the finest in mechanics, laser and vacuum technology of tomorrow – the new Science Center Wetzlar will approach scientific phenomena innovatively and through play. It is planned to install stations for experimenting with vacuum bell jars and magnetic fields; a Camera Obscura which puts the Cathedral on its head; microscopes, long-distance viewing optics and spectacles; animated digital and analogue exhibits which reveal scientific secrets and impart technological knowledge in an inciting way.

“With the Science Center, we are creating a showroom for our unparalleled technology region”, Ralf Niggemann explains. “At the same time, we’ll generate a space of experience where we hope to pique the interest of adolescents for science-oriented and technical job profiles which are very much in demand among the companies in the region.” Ralf Niggemann, executive manager of the supporting association of the Viseum Wetzlar, is not the only one who is convinced that the Science Center Wetzlar will be a great asset for the city and the region. “We have to seize this opportunity”, Lord Mayor Manfred Wagner says markedly, “both to obtain qualified young talents and skilled specialists and to draw nationwide attention to our city which is so rich in tradition.”

Experience-oriented spectrum and vocational orientation

For the future of the city and the economic region, it is most important to spark the interest specifically of young talents in natural sciences. Therefore, Ralf Niggemann and the team of consulting and creative studio klv have set their combined wits to interlinking the experience-oriented spectrum with the aspect of vocational orientation. For that matter, there will be a “Wall of Jobs” where young people may get an idea about various study programs and many exciting jobs with a vocational training. A “Job Profile Configurator” assists young people in finding out which individual skills are required in which job – and what kind of occupation might be suitable for them. Interactive screens and mobile terminals will not only assist in gathering information but also allow them to get in touch with the appropriate companies in the region which take on apprentices.

That way, the Science Center will draw upon the very qualities of the region and return them with interest. “There is a lot of talk about hard and soft location factors that make a city or a region attractive”, counselor Andreas Tielmann says and explains: “With the Science Center, we are able to combine them in a unique way.” Which is so convincing that the concept does not only bear scrutiny at a glance but leaves a lasting impression. As was confirmed by Kristina Sinemus, Hessian Minister of Digital Strategy and Development. During her visit to Wetzlar this summer, she was underlining, that STEM professions are a key part of digitization and therefore of significant importance for the location of commerce and industry in Central Hesse. “We receive a lot of support”, Ralf Niggemann says with glee, “and in the months to come, we will spare no effort to gain more political backers and partners from industry and commerce – so that the concept of the Science Center Wetzlar can be implemented and become a reality.”