Project Description

We are proud to support the city of Paderborn in redesigining their Science Days into an interactive, dynamic Science Festival, turning the historic city into a swirling “Living Lab”. In a participatory, collaborative process we brought together researchers and stakeholders from academia, culture and the municipality. The 3-day interactive “Expedition Science” Festival aims to inspire curiosity and opens up the fascinating world of research to visitors of all ages in new and creative ways.

All pictures by photographer Thorsten Hennig |

From 12 to 14 August 2021, children, young people and adults were invited to an exciting journey through the world of research – all the way through the past centuries to the digital future. Under the motto “Expedition Science”, Paderborn’s science and research institutes, museums and cultural institutions, churches, associations and members of Paderborn’s urban community invited visitors to join them live for questions, demos, trails and experiments and the latest findings on a wide variety of topics and research areas. Organised by Paderborn’s city marketing department, with the support of Paderborn University and the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum (HNF) an attractive and ambitious programme was developed.

Featuring some 80 different events and 154 stand-alone activities, “Expedition Science” promised a wealth of knowledge, fun and entertainment for young and old alike. Guided tours, audio walks and walking tours, workshops, experiment stations, short lectures, plays, short films, rallies and much more invited visitors throughout the city centre to join in, have a go, marvel and discover.

Whether physics or history, art, music or archaeology, computer science or mechanical engineering – thanks to the large number of participating institutions and broad range of topics, “Expedition Science” had something for everyone. Visitors were, for example, able to journey into Paderborn’s past on a tour of the city’s underworld, discover the world of mathematics and electrical engineering through sounds and tones in Paderborn Cathedral, programme their own computer games, examine the waters of the river Pader, build robots and machines, decipher hidden graffiti or wander around Charlemagne’s garden. Researchers young and old had the chance to investigate the question of whether there’s a “Paderborn scent”, take off on a test flight with the flight simulator “Icaros”, learn about the world of computers, explore the treasure of Paderborn Cathedral with a torch or embark on a 1,000-year journey through time with an interactive sound installation in the Chapel of St. Bartholomew – and much more.

The Science Café, for example, was be hosting a series of talks on “Between innovation and chaos – what has the pandemic done to us?”, with people from different spheres giving their perspective on life during the Covid-19 pandemic. Speakers included Dr Sierk Poetting, CFO, COO and member of the scientific advisory board at BioNTech, Professor Torsten Meier, Head of Anaesthesiology at the Brüderkrankenhaus hospital, and theatre director Katharina Kreuzhage. A further highlight on the programme was Erwin Grosche presenting the “Miracles of Everyday Life”.

This year, the concept had been adapted in line with the current situation: Events and activities that attract large crowds in one place were deliberately avoided in favour of individual “programme spots” throughout the city centre, which can also be visited in smaller groups, enabling compliance with coronavirus guidelines for visitor safety. A total of 22 institutions from science and research, culture and the urban community were actively involved in “Expedition Science”.