March 20, 2003 | Press Release

Grand Opening on 31 March 2003
Official Opening of the Institute's new building

The Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) will be celebrating the official opening of its new building at Konrad-Zuse-Strasse 1 on Monday, 31 March. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. The next day there follows a symposium with national and international experts in the field of demography. The topic of the symposium is "Theory in Demography". It is by invitation only.

On Monday, the President of the Max Planck Society, Prof. Peter Gruss, and the Institute directors, Prof. Jan M. Hoem and Prof. James W. Vaupel, will be welcoming a large number of invited guests from Germany and abroad. The ceremony begins with speeches held by

  • Prof. Hans-Robert Metelmann, Minister for Cultural Affairs of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern;
  • MinDir. Reinhard Junker, Head of Directorate-General Health, Life Sciences, and Sustainability of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research;
  • Arno Pöker, the Mayor of Rostock;
  • Prof. Herwig Birg, President of the German Demographic Association;
  • Prof. Hans Jürgen Wendel, Rector of Rostock University; and
  • Prof. Peter Gruss.

The guests will hear the premiere of a composition by Hyojung Jeoung, a female student of the Academy of Music and Theater in Rostock, performed by students of the same Academy. Commissioned by the Institute especially for the occasion of its opening, it is entitled Capriccio and is music inspired by The Flood Tide of Demographic Change.

There follows a scientific lecture called "The Past, Present, and Future of Demography and the Role of the Max Planck Institute in Rostock". Preceded by introductory remarks by Prof. James W. Vaupel and Dr. Gabriele Doblhammer-Reiter of the MPIDR, the lecture will be given by Kenneth Wachter, who is Professor of Demography at the University of California at Berkley, USA, and who is also Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute. Prof. Jacques Vallin, President of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, will open the ensuing discussion.

A few hours before the opening ceremony begins, namely between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to take part in a guided tour of the new building. During this time, the architect, the artists who created pieces of art displayed in the new building, and research scientists from the Institute will be available for interviews by journalists.

The new Institute building provides 3000 square meters of floor space for up to 140 employees, including two biological laboratories and a library. Being of a generous and spacious layout, the building consists of two four-storey wings facing each other, connected by a middle wing flooded with light. The main staircase and five seminar rooms are located in the middle wing. An auditorium on the ground floor sits approximately 120 people.

Henning Larsen, an architect from Copenhagen, designed the new building after having won an international architectural competition. The project management rested with AS-Plan from Kaiserslautern/Potsdam. Regional firms carried out around 90% of the work. The total building costs amounted to slightly more than 11 million Euro, to which the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern contributed around 1.5 million.

During the opening ceremony, a number of pieces of art are displayed in public for the first time. Two of them were the winning contributions to a competition for "Kunst am Bau" (Artwork at the Institute). Six paintings by Gerd Frick, of Neubrandenburg, depict life stages of the human biography: birth, leaving the parental home, marriage, migration, retirement, and death. The paintings, which represent research areas of scientists working at the Institute, can be viewed inside the building at the interface of the middle wing connecting the wings to the right and left. Consisting of two sets of three pictures, the display starts on the first floor and ends under the glass-roof of the third floor. Painted in color (aquatint), each picture measures 1.80 meter x 2.50 meters. They have been inserted between two piacrylic sheets, framed with aluminum.

On the Institute's outdoor terrace, overlooking the river Warnow, stands a kaleidoscope, created by the artist Olafur Eliasson, who grew up in Denmark and Iceland, and who now lives in Berlin. This sculpture also won a first prize in the art competition. The kaleidoscope, which is 6 meters long, is named "The Wilhelm Lexis Demographic Observatory".

A very large colored paper cutting, created by the Danish artist Sonia Brandes, can be viewed in the auditorium of the new building. The paper cutting is named after a legend from Nordic mythology, "Ydun and the Apples". Eating the apples are said to give eternal life and everlasting youth. Two untitled tapestries created by the Danish artist Helle Baslund are on view in the dining room adjacent to the cafeteria.

For further information, please visit: and


Head of the Department of Public Relations and Publications

Silvia Leek


+49 381 2081-143

Science Communication Editor

Silke Schulz


+49 381 2081-153

What next?

To the Home Page

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.