"The sociable nature and willingness to help, and the closeness in business and everyday life, are distinguishing features of the region." René Zechlin
The Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen is one of the most important museums for modern and contemporary art in Rhine-Neckar. Since 2014, its director has been Würzburg-born René Zechlin. After holding positions at the Frankfurter Kunstverein and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Ireland as well as the Kunstverein Hannover, he is now at the helm of the museum with the colourful Miró facade that stands opposite Ludwigshafen’s Pfalzbau.
Founder Wilhelm Hack envisaged the museum as a meeting place. Museum director Zechlin strives to follow the same principle - something that feels natural to him, thanks to his own experience of the region’s hospitality: the 41-year-old remembers the start of his career as a truly special time. Not only did his colleagues at the museum accept him warmly, he felt as if the whole region welcomed him with open arms: “The sociable nature and willingness to help, and the closeness in business and everyday life, are distinguishing features of the region.” For the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, he set the objective of presenting the region’s unique character to the outside world, expanding nationwide recognition, and consolidating Rhine-Neckar’s importance as a cultural centre.
For him, the region’s position is highly appealing to those interested in culture, with its wealth of historic and contemporary museums. The fact that visitors can get a tram to Ludwigshafen directly from Mannheim demonstrates how closely the cities in the metropolitan region are connected. Even though Ludwigshafen is not really perceived as a cultural centre, Zechlin regards the industrial cliché, which the city on the Rhine has not yet shaken off, as totally outdated. “I want to increase the coolness factor of the whole Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region even more, and show people that art absolutely does not have to be boring.”
Anyone who assumes that Zechlin has had enough of museums after a week at work would be wrong. He says, laughing, that actually he enjoys spending his free time at the region’s numerous exhibitions. The annual German Film Festival on the Parkinsel - with its unique and magical atmosphere, a world away from the glitz and glamour of the red carpet - is another event he wouldn’t want to miss. On his days off, whenever he feels the lure of nature, you will often find him on the wooded island, situated on the Ludwigshafen bank of the Rhine.
“In the Rhine-Neckar region, the city and countryside merge together seamlessly. Depending on my mood, I can decide on the spur of the moment whether I want to drive into charming Heidelberg or head towards the Wine Road”, says René Zechlin. Würzburg-born Zechlin has never experienced such tremendous diversity and variety in a small area in any of his positions throughout Germany. The cultural and culinary diversity are aspects he found particularly appealing. Thanks to the mix of traditional and gourmet cuisine, and the influences from foreign cultures, the museum director regards Rhine-Neckar not just as a top-class cultural centre, but also as a true gastronomical paradise.