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  • Department of Germanic Languages
    414 Hamilton Hall, Mail Code 2812
    1130 Amsterdam Ave
    New York, NY 10027

  • Tel: 212.854.3202
    Fax: 212.854.5381
    E-mail: germanic@columbia.edu

  • Deutsches Haus
    420 West 116th Street
    (between Amsterdam Ave and Morningside Dr)

Deutsches Haus History

Established at Columbia University in 1911 by Edward Dean Adams and Rudolf Tombo, Deutsches Haus was the first of the foreign language houses to be founded at an American University. It served as a link between German and American culture until the entrance of the United States into World War I. By April 1917 Deutsches Haus as such ceased to exist, to be reopened in January, 1918 as a workroom for the Columbia War Hospital.

In the spring of 1928, F. W. Lafrentz, President of the Germanistic Society of America, urged the reestablishment of Deutsches Haus at Columbia University, enlisting the aid of the Columbia University president N. M. Butler.

In 1929 President Butler opened the new Deutsches Haus, which received congratulatory messages from numerous German officials and intellectuals such as Edmund Husserl and Max Planck, as well as from authors and poets such as Max Brod, Gerhart Hauptmann, Freiherr von Münchausen, Hugo von Hoffmansthal, Arthur Schnitzler, Clara Viebig, Arnold Zweig, Stefan Zweig, and Thomas Mann.

In 1972, after the original building was torn down and the location of Deutsches Haus had changed several times, the cultural center moved to its current address at 420 West 116th Street. In the recent past, Deutsches Haus has hosted numerous film and lecture series, recitals, and informal social events, increasingly incorporating cultural representations from the smaller language and cultural programs, such as Dutch, Swedish, Yiddish, and Finnish, which are a vital part of the Department of Germanic Languages at Columbia University.