The House on a Hill

goetheanum(Part 5 of Europe Collection. Written from the point of view of the Goetheanum building itself.)

Hello there. Welcome! Don’t be shy. Come right on in. I certainly don’t bite. Ah, I see you’re not from around here. Well, I can’t change what I am, but I hope some part of me will be comfortable and familiar to you. I see you look around; you must find everything so new and fascinating. Yes, I am quite a beauty, aren’t I? But here’s a fact: I’m just Version 2.0 of what used to stand here. The old building, well it did its job, but it burned down. So they built me. And goodness, I have seen so much since the day my doors were opened to the first philosophers, teachers and dreamers they were meant for.

Those hills, they used to be just hills, but now they’re a pretty little city and a busy railroad. And these fields used to be empty, but now my babies have grown on them. They’re buildings that were put up for other purposes, but I’m the most important one. Cafeteria? I’ve got it. Music hall? More than one. Theater? Please. Bathroom? Absolutely. And don’t forget to check out the stained glass windows. Watch your step because there are lots of stairs, and if you fall–well, it’s a long way down. And pretty sharp, too. I’m not sure why, but my entire structure is flat and angular. Must be something that has to do with the cosmos or something like that. I hear a lot of that kind of talk in the halls. I hear a great many things, and have been through many transformations. (Quite honestly I don’t think they’re even done with my exterior. They’re still giving me a facelift, but those are expensive.) People walk through my doors, my big heavy doors, and walk out again. Some stay for very long, others just for fleeting weeks. Each generation is different, but alike in that they all share a need for–well, for me. And no matter how long I’ve stuck around  for, I’m never lonely. See, this guy who designed me, Rudolf Steiner, he never lived long enough to see me completed, but he did leave behind a legacy. It’s a legacy that continues to this day by the head, heart and hands of other people. It’s a legacy that guarantees I will never be useless or lonely. Maybe someday, when you get older, it’s a legacy that YOU will continue.

But in the meantime, make yourself at home! We don’t have young people over often, so let’s see what I can interest you with. Er, there’s lots of pianos. You can explore the different wings. No pictures allowed in the grand theater, but enjoy looking at the ceiling! Oh and there’s Internet connection in the lounge if you need it. If you get hungry or thirsty (or sleepy) they have coffee breaks like, every three hours. (These teachers, you see, they go nuts without their coffee.) My favorite room, though, is the one with the sculpture of the Representative of Humanity. Go check that out. Go. What are you waiting for? Oh, I see, you’re tired. Jetlag? I can’t relate, but I’ll leave you be. Don’t mind me, I’m a little overexcited, even if I don’t look it. So if you’d just find someone to tell you which of my baby buildings you’re going to be sleeping in, just settle right in. I’m not going anywhere.

We have an amazing view, by the way.

Don’t forget to watch the stairs.

And no pictures in the grand theater!

Seriously though, watch the stairs!

Wait a second…we have an elevator. Okay, you can go use that. And don’t forget, make yourself at home. Really. I might seem a castle, a spaceship, a place of sacred honor, but I’m really just a house on a hill. A house on a hill in Switzerland, but a house that’s meant for the entire world.

See you at the next coffee break…goetheanum

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