The Ziegenbalg-House in Tharangambadi is a joint project of the Francke Foundations in Halle and the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church in South India with the help of many partners. It invites you to explore the diversity of agents, the non-linear development and the cultural crossroads of Indian and European societies, systematically initiated by the Danish-Halle Tranquebar Mission since 1706. These cultural encounters created a joint heritage proven by various architectonical, written or other material sources, mainly stored in European archives.The Ziegenbalg House opens a new space for multi-media collection and public communication of these sources to Indian audiences. It is a cooperative project of heritage restitution in contemporary formats.
Film Project accompanying the renovation and the first steps of the museum in the years 2016-2018
En route between Burgkirchen, Halle and Tranquebar the documentary filmmaker and photographer Heiner Heine captures the major steps of the museum project. In the course of the three-year project he documents with his camera the renovation as well as Jasmin Eppert’s work and the progres of the museum project.
With Drums and Garlands
Every year, there is a parade commemorating the arrival of the first Lutheran missionaries Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg (1682–1719) and Heinrich Plutschau (1677–1752) in Tharangambadi. The 310th anniversary thus formed the adequate context to inaugurate the museum project, in presence of the director of the Francke Foundations. A historical moment celebrated with drums and garlands.
It began in Tranquebar
After their arrival in Tranquebar, Ziegenbalg and Plutschau started an exchange with the local people based on due respect and heartfelt interest. It was the beginning of an intercultural dialogue between the India and Europe. Here you find an insight into that history.
The Francke Foundations coordinate the international museum project from 2012 onwards. Therefore, they got engaged with several partners from Germany and India. The partner institutions share their approaches to support the project as well as their visions for its future.
The Sky Above Tranquebar
310 years after the arrival of the first Lutheran missionaries in India, Jasmin Eppert is assigned to coordinate the museum project in Tharangambadi. Until spring 2019, she will live and work in the small South Indian town. She reports about her work and her life abroad.
Back to Old Glory
The Indian National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Pondicherry, realised the restoration of the Ziegenbalg House, within four stages of construction. The executive engineer and the architect of the Indian conservatory organisation talk about the challenges of preserving and restoring the historical structures of the Ziegenbalg House.
An Idea Takes Shape
On July 15, 2017, one year after the initiation of the project, the Ziegenbalg House opened its gates to the public. The historical, intercultural dialogue between India and Europe is displayed in five rooms on two levels. Jasmin Eppert guides us through the exhibition.
Make in India: Printed in Tranquebar
The people coming to the museum undertake a pilgrimage to visit the craddle of Indian printing in Tharangambadi. The printing exhibition so far is the most vivid and most interactive part of the museum and is highly appreciated by visitors from far and wide.
A Vivid Museum
In the beginning, there was a building to be restored, eventually to be revived with programmes and activities. Jasmin Eppert and her colleague Joice Shramila thus give insights into their vivid and diverse ways of museum work in Tharangambadi.
The Land of the Singing Waves
Tharangambadi, also called Tranquebar, at the Eastern coast of South India, witnessed the first Lutheran mission abroad, more than 300 years ago. Nowadays, this intercultural museum project preserves that memory of the past for the present and the future. Jasmin Eppert and the people living in this small town guide through Tharangambadi, the Land of the Singing Waves.
Step by Step towards a vibrant Museum
At the start of the eighteenth century Lutheranism left Europe for the first time. Pietists from Halle played a decisive role in its overseas dissemination and thus, two centuries after the Reformation, fulfilled one of Martin Luther’s important goals.
In 1705, with little luggage and medication only for the most common diseases, Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg boarded a ship in London. Together with his colleague Heinrich Plütschau he set off for Tranquebar on the South Indian coast. They carried with them a letter written by the Danish king Fredrick IV. He had dispatched the two theologians, who were pupils of Francke, to establish a mission station within the Danish trading colony.
Jasmin Eppert checked in her luggage for Tranquebar 310 years later. On behalf of the Francke Foundations, the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC), and the missionary societies of Leipzig and Hermannsburg, she will establish a museum dedicated to the history of the intercultural dialogue between India and Europe during the next three years. This dialogue began with Ziegenbalg’s and Plütschau’s arrival more than three centuries ago. The premises are to be renovated in cooperation with local partners.
The project to renovate the former Ziegenbalg residential house is supported by: