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Idea of the project

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Letters from the 900th to the 1000th anniversary of the city of Freiburg

At the suggestion of Johannes Rühl, former deputy head of the cultural office, Freiburg came up with a special project for 20/21:Until the official end of the city anniversary in July 2021, letters from Freiburg and all over the world will be collected – letters whose recipients are most likely not born yet. This is because the letters will find their ways to their respective receiver only in 100 years.

Writing a letter that only will be opened in 2120 and whose addressee is not even born yet today seems to be a strange idea at first sight. But at closer view it offers a unique chance to express oneself and stresses many interesting aspects.

What would we tell somebody today who lives in the year 2120? Which subject, what information could be interesting for people in 100 years? What would they want to know about Freiburg in the year of the grand pandemic? Maybe they would laugh or wonder in disbelief when they read which problems we had to deal with in 2020?

The letter project offers the chance to comment on something in a future that none of us will actually experience, but for which we are responsible today.

And: If we think of our own great-grandparents, wouldn’t there be a lot that we would have been interested in? In their worries, their everyday lives, their hopes and their thoughts concerning the future? Imagine you suddenly receive a letter from a relative that was addressed to you back in 1920. An exciting moment!

The letters that we send today and that will be read in 100 years will contain a unique content. They will be a collective legacy for the posterity, texts and thoughts of this very different twenties, which will be found in no history book, no newspaper, and no novel.

To the people in 100 years we offer a unique insight in the situation of people at the beginning of the 21st century.

To the 1000th city anniversary we leave with this project a gift of unique cultural-historic value.

The letters offer a snapshot of our time, a highly subjective insight in the mood of the people and the state of the city and the world, back then in 2020, when a pandemic threatened mankind.

With these letters the 1000th city anniversary receives a strong echo from an extraordinary time of the history of Freiburg. And as they are closed, private letters they convey an impressive picture of the subjective reality of today.” (Johannes Rühl)

And this is how it works

After writing your letter, send it to its journey to the next century. Please send it to the address of the city anniversary project group which is:

Projektgruppe Stadtjubiläum
Rathausplatz 2-4
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
GERMANY

Your letters will be received, numbered and listed by the city anniversary project group. The addressees will be noted down, the sender (you) will stay anonymous by name.

Afterwards the letters go to the city archive of Freiburg, where they will be stored in a special container. After the letter project is terminated on July 15th 2021, this container will be sealed and stays untouched for 100 years.

In 100 years the container will be opened and the letters will be delivered to their respective receivers.

Briefe aus dem 900. ins 1000. Jubiläumsjahr der Stadt Freiburg

General information

Paper, envelop etc.

  • Handwritten letters with ink or pen probably last the longest. Laser print and photocopies work as well. Ink-jet-printers are not suitable.
  • Please use acid-free paper if possible (no recycled paper).
  • Photos and negatives are allowed and very welcome. They should be of high quality though (print on photographic paper/from photographic laboratory if possible). Negatives are more durable than paper prints!
  • The outer envelope must not be bigger than A5, not thicker than 1,0 cm and not heavier than 150 g.
  • Only letters with paper content and/or plastics are accepted. Metal objects (e.g. paper-clips) can corrode and are therefore not allowed just as little as liquids.
  • Sending electronic data carriers (CD, DVD, USB sticks) does not make sense as they will not be legible after 100 years.
  • As the letters will not be opened, letters with suspicious content will not be accepted. Such letters will be send back to the sender.

Name specification on the inner envelope

Front of envelope: addressee
Classification as clear as possible to a person or group of persons that will possibly live in 100 years.

Recommendations:
 

  • Please name an explicit individual (e.g. ‘office-bearer’, ‘coach of the sports club XY’, ‘my youngest grandchild’, ‘leader of the organization XY’, etc.)
  • Or name a group of individuals (e.g. ‘my progeny’, ‘the inhabitants of a specific house’, ‘foundation/association XY’, ‘to the pupils of the 5th grade of my former school’, etc.)
  • Or name institutions
  • Please avoid the indication of unspecific individuals or groups (e.g. ‘to a policeman’, ‘to a young teacher’)

Back of envelope: sender
Name, surname
Living address, Home address (birthplace)
Name of spouse/husband
Name of parents and their children

Recommendation:
 

  • Mention further information about yourself or the group of people of the sender which can help the people in 100 years to identify the correct receiver. If and what you specify is your decision.

Rules and rights

  • The letters received will not be opened by us and will stay strictly locked. We will number the letters and list the addressees; the sender (you) will stay anonymous by name.
  • The letters will be kept unopened in a sealed container in the city archive of Freiburg or a legitimized successor institution for 100 years.
  • With the sending of a letter it will be passed over to the property of the city of Freiburg for 100 years. There is no claim of refund of letters.
  • With the participation in the letter project the sender of the letter agrees with the described rules and the whole procedure.