Goethe-Institut Fairy Tales

Facts and fiction


An international travelling exhibition was planned to bring to life fairy tales as a part of the German cultural inheritance. facts and fiction staged the tales of the Brothers Grimm as a modern literary genre. The interactive, graphic and controversial exhibition enabled the fairy tale world to be experienced and further developed.

They are still alive! 200 years after the first edition of their famous collection of Children’s and Household Tales was published in 1812, the Brothers Grimm stories are still world famous. They are Germany’s biggest cultural export and to this day Hollywood continues to return these stories again and again.

Aware of the cultural significance of these fairy tales, the Goethe Institute sought to promote the Grimm Brothers’ literary heritage and interest in German as a language for the future. Therefore a travelling exhibition celebrating this 200th anniversary was sent on a world tour. The exhibition needed to be easy to set up and take down; it also needed to be self-explanatory, flexible and modular so it could be placed in every imaginable location – even in small spaces.

Our aim was for the visitors to able to experience, inhale and develop the fairytale world for themselves – rather than just passively consume it. The exhibition told stories about heroes, princesses, talking animals, and witches; evil was personified and we came face to face with horror. The fairy tale world became an enchanted forest. Visitors were invited not to go beyond the seven mountains but to seven stations to experience and contribute to popular and less well-known fairy tales.

In order to establish a balance between content, aesthetic value and functionality, we adapted the principle: simplify your exhibition. The enchanted forest had to be one that could be put in box. Onto the ship, off the ship. Open the box, unpack the forest. Assemble. Finished. Just like magic.


Facts and fiction
around the world


Cultural Institutions
Analogue, Interactive, Learning, Modular
Jubilee, Travelling Exhibitions