A Visit to Baumwollspinnerei AKA the Leipzig Cotton Mill


Dinner at Spinnerei is what I see listed on my itinerary for the second night of a conference I’m attending in Leipzig, Germany. Beforehand, life is a little out of control, so I don’t even spend one minute checking it out on Google. That’s just as well so I have no preconceived expectations.

"Not exactly the entrance I expected"

Not exactly the entrance I expected

"The Leipzig Cotton Mill at night"

The area around the Leipzig Cotton Mill at night

Spinnerei isn’t a restaurant after all. Spinnerei appears to be short for Baumwollspinnerei AKA the Leipzig Cotton Mill.

The Leipzig Cotton Mill, founded in 1884, became the largest cotton mill in all of continental Europe. The area around the mill became a city within a city – a vast industrial area consisting of over 20 factories with onsite tenement housing, schooling and recreational areas – though I can’t imagine they were too grand. At its peak in 1907, 4000 workers were employed. By 1993, a few years after Germany’s reunification, the last of the thread production was stopped.

"Looking out through one of the artist's studios at Leipzig's cotton mill"

Looking out through one of the artist’s studios

What came next was a complete about turn. Instead of voiceless factory workers – people with strong, independent voices like painters, photographers, sculptors, fashion designers, cratftsmen and other creative types moved into the space.

You can take a two hour tour of Spinnerei  during the day – and that would give you a much richer understanding of the history and its’ development as a center for cutting edge art. There are more traditional restaurants somewhere on the property – I just didn’t see them. Nonetheless, a visit to Spinnerei, in particular the artist’s studios, proved to be a great way to mingle with both artists and bloggers – and to have one’s eyes opened to the past and the future. It’s also possible to buy art at one of the three exhibitions held throughout the year

"Artist's space in the Leipzig cotton mill"

The artists have so much space to work

Our time at Spinnerei was a blend of drinking, eating and visiting the studios of a few of the artists. The artists come from all over the world for a period of months to immerse themselves in the Spinnerei community.

Here’s a look at what we saw over drinks and dinner.

"Appetizers are beautifully presented"

Appetizers are beautifully presented

"Appetizers are are as delicious to eat as they are to look at"

Appetizers are as delicious to eat as they are to look at

"My new favourite drink - a rhubarb soda"

My new favourite drink – a rhubarb soda

"It's a stand-up affair only"

Dinner and drinks are a stand-up affair only

"Artist studio in the Leipzig cotton mill"

Huge windows are perfect for flooding the artist’s studios with natural light

"Leipzig artist studio with bed"

The studios looked like a scene in a movie

"Artist tools in the Leipzig Cotton factory"

The tools of the trade

"Artist brushes in a palette of colours"

Artist brushes in a palette of colours

Have you ever visited Leipzig’s old cotton mill??

Thank you to Tourism Leipzig for organizing the dinner.

Leigh McAdam



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