Visit to Neues Volkshaus Cotta

It's Saturday morning, half of Dresden is closed because another World War II bomb has to be defused. It has been drizzling lightly for 48 hours. But in the rooms of the old, New People's House in Cotta, the good-humour sun shines through the Dresden neighbourhoods.

Text: Rosa Hauch · Photos: Yvonn Spauschus

Neues Volkshaus Cotta - Dresdner Nachbarschaften © Y. Spauschus

…and another Cuba Libre for choirmaster Nico…

Is that Metallica? A cool interpretation. Let’s sing sees itself as a modern concert choir. Impressive, and the tour schedule until 2024 is already on the website. Black choir clothes, about 25 golden scarves, new technology and the invitation to all guests of the public choir rehearsal to collect a lot of plus points. Five plus points – direct admission, promises Nico Müller. Five minus points – see headline.

The health of the humorous and committed choir director of the ensemble Let’s sing is very important to me. That’s why I keep looking around. The New People’s House on Hebbelstraße has a history of around 100 years to tell. Changing owners, changing systems. But the idea always remained similar – come and talk to neighbours.

The former Richard Gärtner House, built in 1929, had been empty since 2016. A pity about so much space for creativity, meeting and relaxation. The city of Dresden also saw it that way and advertised a ground lease for 30 years.

Hello, dear ones

Konglomerat e.V. has been awarded the contract with its concept. Now a pilot phase is running for three years, I learn from Anna. 30 years is a long time if you want to design a concept for it, 30 years is the minimum to experience whether a district concept is sustainable, is accepted and is filled with life by the residents out of themselves.

Neues Volkshaus Cotta - Dresdner Nachbarschaften © Y. Spauschus

The trained geographer from Göttingen took care of the community, communication and togetherness during the start-up phase. “My favourite thing is to organise entertaining events for the neighbours,” she says. Bingo evenings, getting into conversation with each other – that’s what neighbourliness is all about. Fishheads don’t talk, my ass. Before Anna moves to Bremen to live with her parents, it’s time to put this prejudice to rest.

Alex, the caretaker, is responsible for clearing out, putting away and tidying up. And he has a lot to do. All the rooms of the co-working space are habitable. The use is carefully separated into public, private and commercial. Private parties are facilitated by Gerd Weber’s Feiermanufaktur, ceramics workshop, yoga, choir rehearsals, exhibitions and other activities through Konglomerat e.V.

Anyone can paint

Peter Tiesler has proven it and only started relatively late in life. He has only been drawing and painting since he retired. Although the studied labour scientist has a family background in art and always had his grade 1 in drawing, there was never time for creativity in his busy working life as a company director and educator. Since 2007, he has been making up for all that and has already painted around 500 pictures. The tulip painting is his first picture. But it was followed by many, many landscapes. “These are impressions from my holidays and hikes in France, Switzerland, Austria and of course here from the surrounding area. I take photos, rasterise them and start painting the landscapes.” At the Volkshaus, there is a “Seniors for Cotta” project. They read and paint together and anyone who wants to start should start with very simple motifs, such as vases or cups, advises Peter Tiesler.

Neues Volkshaus Cotta - Dresdner Nachbarschaften © Y. Spauschus

And this is what the people of Cotta expect from Volkshaus

Jessica Hofmann is evaluating wishes and expectations for the new district centre for her doctoral thesis on the transformation of municipal processes.

“Well, first of all I would like us to find good and suitable tenants who fit in well with the Volkshaus in human terms and also in general.”

“And, of course, if everyone participates and helps to take care of the whole thing.”

“And it gets around here that this is a nice, open and warm place where everyone is welcome.”

What to add to that? Nothing else matters! (metallica, 1992)

More information

Neues Volkshaus Cotta
Hebbelstraße 35b · 01157 Dresden

Neues Volkshaus Cotta - Dresdner Nachbarschaften © Y. Spauschus

Dresdner Nachbarschaften – sichtbar, vernetzt, engagiert!

Neighbourhoods are everywhere – we are right in the middle of it. With district walks, conversations in the green, creative workshops, exhibitions and much more.

Supported by

The project is funded by the State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion. This measure is co-financed with tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament within the framework of the state programme Integrative Maßnahmen.