all about our 100 years' of history

There is no other place where the social and cultural life of the city is so intense and highly focused as in the 'Donauhallen' in Donaueschingen, located in the Black Forest. A lot of celebrities from the world of politics and sports, the economic and culture scene and the show business have already experienced the 'Donauhallen' and thousands connect its name with unforgettable moments. A good reason to take a closer look into the history of the festival hall of Donaueschingen.

The first festival hall

The positive economic developments of the so-called Period of Promoterism in the 19th century brought much life into  town: authorities and public institutions were established and also a spa facility with healthy brine after a rock salt mine had been opened up at the 'Aasner Kapf'. At that time, the up-and-coming city of Donaueschingen could afford for the very first time a festival hall that opened its doors on the old ground of the festival hall built in 1899. After the Great Fire on the 5th August of 1908, it even served as an emergency shelter for homeless families. For a period of 46 years, any kind of events had taken place here before it was completely destroyed by the allies' aircraft bombs on the 22nd February of 1945.

The temporary arrangement

After the end of World War II, a temporary arrangement was established. As of 1946 the town leased the 'Fürstlich Fürstenbergische Reithalle' the riding area in the street called 'Sennhofstraße', built in 1823, and changed this building into the festival hall of the town. Regarding the cattle and pigmeat markets, a multi-purpose hall was additionally built in 1951, on that ground where today you'll find the 'Donauhallen'. In March 1955 the riding area, used as festival hall, burned completely to the ground and, consequently, the persons in charge of the town Donaueschingen had to take action concerning a new festival hall.

The second festival hall

During a concert of the 'Liedertafel' of Donaueschingen, the provisional festival hall burst into flames on the 20th March, 1955. This fire disaster led to plans considering again transfering the festival hall in the centre of the city. The architect of the city, Mauritius, picked up the idea of the town council changing the cattle and pigmeat market, built in 1951, into a multi-purpose hall. It should be used not only for the cattle and pigmeat markets but also for club parties and other events. The town council accepted these plans and placed the order with the target of starting immediately the construction and finishing the first section before holding the music days called 'Musiktage' in the following October. As a substitue for the cattle and pigmeat market, Hall B was built in summer 1956. Today is known best as Bartók room.

The multi-purpose hall is converted into a festival hall

In the late 1960s, it was obviously that the multi-purpose hall didn't meet anymore the requirements concerning the international 'Musiktage'.  In February 1969, the former mayor Robert Schrempp informed the town council about the fact that the 'Südwestfunk' couldn't realize many planned stage performances in the old hall and, therefore, it was crucial to talk about an immediate reconstruction. Only a few time later, on the 10th March of 1969, the town council accepted the plans and the architect's office Willi Morisch, Robert Piesch und Horst Twarz was charged with planning. After some back and forth, the town council agreed finally to refine the market hall into a festival hall, a project whose costs amounted quite to a new building. The new hall was finished in time prior to the 'Musiktage'. On the 18th October of 1970, all started up without an inauguration ceremony. 

After that time, 'Donauhalle' A and B were renovated repeatedly. In 1970 next to Hall B, an attachment was built, the new Hall C. Hall A, today it's the Mozart room, was optimized, especially the acoustic irradiation as well as the acoustic itself and the stage technology, too. In addition, the foyer was expanded. Finally, all those measurements cost more than the actual construction. Not all measurements were made on behalf of the town. Again and again the 'Südwestfunk', today known as 'Südwestrundfunk', continually newly defined the quality and technique standards regarding the 'Musiktage'. 

At the beginning of 1974 the term 'Stadthalle' was said to be too ordinary and, so, they looked for a more appropriate name. Although the hall was only located a few metres away from the river Brigach, they decided to call it 'Donauhallen' as they thought that this name would fit better.

The 'Donaustuben'

A real event hall needs a catering. The town council of Donaueschingen came to that conclusion in 1973. The idea of expanding the economy wing had already emerged earlier but it was only realized between 1973 and 1974.
In December of 1974 the restaurant 'Donaustuben' was opened. Hubert Kliche was the first tenant of the new catering service in Donaueschingen, followed by Walter Egele from Vadans in Vorarlberg and later by Zelko Volaric.
Since September 2000 the 'Donauhalle' has no longer a gastronomical service.

Modernized at the highest level

In 1999, there were the first plans concerning the general refurbishment of the 'Donauhallen'. After a new call for tender had already been made in relation to the modernization plans of 2002, exactly those expansion plans caused quite a stir in 2006. In consequence, a local referendum was held but it failed. After countless local council and committee meetings and also after many design adaptations, the Lord Mayor Thorsten Frei started with a symbolic turn of tod the general refurbishment on the 5th March of 2008. The project manager of the whole was the architects' office Schaudt from Constance. The 'Donauhallen' obtained the, for many years desired, small room. With a high-quality acoustic and with the extraordinary flexibility of the platform, it was usable for numerous stage performances. The new room  got a more generous foyer which could be rented separately for receptions and fairs. Also the adjoining rooms were structurally modified: the artists' dressing rooms, the administrative rooms, the lecture rooms, additional seminar rooms and meeting rooms and, also, the kitchen rooms for the caterer. Finally, the 'Donauhalle' A obtained a redesigned foyer and the 'Donauhalle' B a modified entrance area with a new gallery.

The construction works were completed in September 2010.


The first festival hall 1899
interior view of the festival hall
the emergency accomodation 1908
riding hall 1954
multifunctional hall 1956
the «Donauhalle»
modernisation 2008-2010