Welcome to Friedrich Schiller's Garden House, the Jena home of one of Germany's most prominent poets and thinkers. The summer house is the only remaining domicile of Schiller's years in Jena. Ten years of his life he spent in our city, a period that can easily be considered to have been the most prolific in his entire professional life, encompassing the diverse tasks of a poet, a philosopher, a historian and a university professor. In 1789 Schiller gave his famous Inaugural Lecture What is and to what end does one study universal history? In the following he took up his official academic duties: a post that brought prestige but little pay. In March 1797 Schiller purchased his Garden House. He suffered from lung disease and had been looking for a place outside the town. He and his family used the Garden house as a summer residence in the three years that followed. Together with his wife Charlotte, their two little sons, and three servants, they spent the summer months at this site. During this time Schiller wrote poems and dramas here, major parts of the Wallenstein drama as well as the beginning and the end of Maria Stuart.
Jena at 1800
"No place in Germany would be what Jena and its neighbourhood is to me, because I'm convinced that nowhere else we enjoy such true and sensible freedom and find as many excellent people in so small a place", Schiller wrote to Christian Gottlob Voigt almost in the midst of his days in Jena. What does that little note mean for us after more than 200 years? Let us try to have a deeper look on the Jena constellation. During the last eleven years of his life (1794-1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, at that time already famous and influential. They frequently discussed issues concerning ‒ among others ‒ aesthetics and politics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he had left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar-Jena Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents to their philosophical vision. The presence of Schiller and Goethe around 1800 was a magnet to many other intellectuals. Jena became the center of early Kantianism, early Romanticism, and early Idealism. Schiller himself stands in the middle of an intellectual constellation, which is singular in the German history. In short: The thinking of modernity got shaped in many ways in this city. Schiller was an artist first - a major poet and one of the leading dramatists of eighteenth-century Germany - and a philosopher and historian second. From his beginnings he was driven by a passionate belief in the humanizing and social function of art. The Romantics were deeply influenced by Schiller's programme.