The Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut Nairobi is opening its doors again after more than a year of renovations. The extensive refurbishment which entailed adding new spaces and modernizing the existing ones has given the cultural institute a fresh, new look, apt for the modern age.

To celebrate the reopening, Just A Band, will premiere their new performance film “Echo” which looks back at the band's history and showcases their upcoming work, followed by a comeback appearance during a Q&A with fans. 

The ensemble will perform at Goethe’s 3-day event from February 17-19 where dozens of both upcoming and renowned artists will be showcasing their various projects including a VR project dubbed ‘The Heritage Museum’ which aims to raise awareness about the heritage, history and the importance of Kenya's displaced artefacts. 

And with vinyls making a comeback, the audience will be treated to an unforgettable exhibition by Jojo Records of specially curated and handpicked vinyls spanning as far back as the 1980s. 

All departments of the Goethe-Institut Nairobi will also display their work and facilitate trainings and workshops for creatives and the broader public with all ages being able to try out the German language. 

The event will be graced by representatives from the Government and the German Embassy and coincides with Goethe-Institut Kenya’s 60 years celebration of Kenyan-German cultural relations, where the German cultural institute has demonstrated its strong commitment to promoting local cultural and educational activities and experiences as well as European and international cultural cooperations.

The renovation

The refurbished spaces had been closed for over a year to make them more inviting, and interactive and stimulate creativity and interactions. 

Commenting on the contemporary, multi-purpose spaces, Goethe-Institut Nairobi Director Lilli  Kobler said, “We had been planning the renovation of these spaces for quite a while but the time just wasn’t right due to the high foot traffic we used to receive. However, the COVID-19 lockdown presented an opportunity for us to make the spaces more functional and user-friendly.”

She further added that the goal of the renovations was to create a fun relaxing environment that would attract diversity from visitors of all generations.

“We set out to create a convenient, fun and relaxing environment that will attract a diversity of visitors from all generations to come study, work, meet, exchange, inspire each other and learn new things. We are confident that the modernized spaces match the resources we offer and will make the Goethe-Institut Nairobi spaces a go-to location – a calm oasis in the bustling CBD. The space  aims to be home to the long-standing Kenyan-German cultural and educational relations and  provide our visitors, guests, staff and diverse projects with innovative and inspiring  experiences.” 

The renovated institute now features a terrace which offers a wider range of activities including a  digital corner, Virtual Reality (VR) stations, Gaming Fridays and a safe and engaging kids'  section that is geared at nurturing creative talents and encouraging a reading culture from an early age on.


Additionally, the library, which also got a facelift, now boasts revised stock of books after the Goethe-Institut Nairobi reduced nearly three-quarters of the collection they had and gave them out to universities, museums and other partners. 

Speaking about the library’s facelift Lilian Momanyi, Goethe-Institut’s Head of Library and Information Services said, “We undertook a survey to establish the needs of our library users and its findings informed our decisions on what books to keep, weed out and what to stock, particularly in this digital age that has significantly impacted how information is accessed, consumed, stored and preserved. Our  goal is to remain relevant to our customers’ needs and as such, we are proud that now, our  library is not only a place to read books and conduct research, but it’s a versatile, well-equipped space where people can socialize by attending events, public readings, meetings and trainings.”

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