Bankers are celebrating a big corporate marriage today in Frankfurt. It is worth 9.8 billion euros (14.4 billion dollars). The deal is made between Germany’s second-largest and third-largest banks, Commerzbank and Dresdner Bank creating a company to rival Germany’s biggest bank, Deutsche Bank and leading to job cuts of up to 15,000.
Under the shadow of the tallest bank towers in Europe at the same time people are celebrating the Museumsufer Festival. The festival is one of the most important and biggest cultural festivals in Europe. It takes place on the Frankfurt museum riverbank, one of the most important locations for museums in Germany and Europe. For the people this time of the year in the city means celebrating and having fun. They do not want to think about certain business activities or what some call the dictatorship of the men in jackets.
During this weekend of celebrating arts and culture museums offer special programs and fees. Thousands of visitors are streaming to an interesting ethnographic museum at the Frankfurt riverbank, the Museum of World Cultures. The museum’s collection is of incredible value.
Many of the art items owned by the museum were taken from indigenous cultures throughout the decades and centuries of exploration. Two to three percent of the outstanding collection can be visited. The rest is stored somewhere. Only after the opening of the new museum (probably between 2010 and 2012), individual visitors, “upon condition of a provable professional interest and previous consultation of the responsible curator, may gain chargeable access.” This might prevent having to respond to questions of cultural repatriation.
While much of indigenous culture remains hidden in museum storage impossible for people to behold close to the Museum of World Cultures there is an energetic indigenous music group from Ecuador and Bolivia performing not on a stage but on the ground right on the side of the river Main. Words in Quechua are ringing beautifully, mixing with the sounds of flutes. Many people are passing by. But only very few want to listen. They want to eat and drink Luis the musician from Ecuador comments. Shortly after a festival supervisor asks the musicians to please go away. Soon the place is empty. The indigenous performers gone along with their words and music. And who wants to notice?