By Anneliese Leithoff Christensen and Monika Müller-Kroll
This year sees the 250th anniversary of the birth of Alexander von Humboldt, prompting events celebrating his legacy across Berlin throughout 2019. A Prussian scientist made famous for his writings on the Americas, Humboldt valued interdisciplinary work and fought against a growing tide of racism and anti-Semitism.
We caught up with Dr. Ottmar Ette, professor at the University of Potsdam, who has studied Humboldt’s work for more than 35 years. Ette believes that Humboldt’s legacy is one that should be taken note of in the 21st century. “For his 250th birthday, I feel that he’s back again on stage. [He was] a thinker in the sense of a democratic, open-minded, anti-colonial…truly a non-racist,” Ette says.
Exhibitions, readings, lectures and more are being hosted around Berlin throughout the year, with a celebration on Sept. 14 at the Humboldt Forum in honor of his birthday.