In 1979 a special project/event, the festival for children „Spielplatz München – Playground Munich“ was requested in occasion of the International Year of The Child. With special funds and financing by the organisation Spielmotor e.V. the concept of a Play Town was created as a social work of art by the Pädagogische Aktion München e.V. organisation. Over 1000 children conquered the town on the first day. At one of the first citizen assemblies there was a vote on the name of the city: Mini-München was chosen.
In 1985, just six years later, the second Play Town took place at the closed-down Mollhalle near the Westpark. Special funds were again made available, it was the International Youth Year. This time the town project lasted 5 weeks and the central topic for the children and teenagers during the last few days of the Play Town was: What will be the future of Mini-München? Following the official end of the Play Town, the mayor and the town councillors paid several visits to their (official) colleagues at the town hall and managed to achieve that a continuation of Play Town was guaranteed across the different parties by making a special fund available.
In 1986 the organisation Pädagogische Aktion e.V. even organised two towns at the same time, one at the Mollhalle and one at the Munich Town Hall at Marienplatz, the role-model of which was Old-Munich and its events and narration came from historic references. A future bi-annual rhythm for the Play Town was agreed upon with the children.
In 1988 the Olympiapark GmbH offered that Play Town could return to the Olympic Park, after it had become homeless when the Mollhalle had been torn down. Olympiapark GmbH became a co-organiser and also provided funds from their own sponsor pool. A stroke of luck!
In 1990 one of the successor organisations of Pädagogischen Aktion e.V., Kultur & Spielraum München took over the organisation of the Play Town. The citizen assemblies of Play Town were held on Wednesdays in form of a children’s forum at the town hall, including the real elected politicians and local authorities.
In 1992 the Play Town received the attribute of „International“, especially important to the children who came to visit the Play Town from other countries. This way a special focus of Play Town life was made on children and teenagers from different countries living together.
In 1994 the children fought for the continuation of Mini-München a second time: with letters, resolutions, telephone chains and they were successful. The special funds were not cancelled.
In 2006 the Play Town Mini-München moved within the Olympic Park to the Event-Arena. Now there was finally more space in Play Town, there was a second level and a vast external area for activities which entailed moving about and for building new parts of the town.
In 2008, 2010, 2012 the Play Town also develops by international exchange. Child ambassadors from other Play Towns in Europe and from Japan are visiting Mini-München and residents of Mini-Munich are visiting other Play Towns. In the interim years there were two World Meetings of Play Towns, one in Berlin (Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk), one in Yokohama City (Magistrate of Yokohama City).
2014, the Children and teenagers are waiting for the opening of the 17th Play Town Mini-München International, but the Olympiapark GmbH withdraws from the long partnership and explains that the former location, the Event Arena is no longer available for security reasons and that there would be no alternative within the Olympic Park.
The Play Town Mini-München offers a joint space of action to take up many different roles for up to 2500 children daily on a total area of almost 10,000m². Developed as a „school of life“ (Grüneisl/Zacharias 1998) this bi-annual event is not only the largest school holiday project of the City of Munich, but with its complexity and plurality of possibilities to interact or cooperate also an un-matched playing and learning space for children from 7 to 15 years of age.
It has professions, a currency (MiMüs), over 60 different companies, universities, small companies, hundreds of self-organised events. Mini-München is a limited event and takes place over three weeks in the summer holidays.
This real-symbolic and complex city space has become possible due to a systematic accumulation and intensifying of existing contacts, networking structures, topics, experts, competencies, projects, material, methods and equipment on the one hand and the simple agreement with children and teenagers, to create city life together on the other.
Until recently: Event-Arena, former Olympia Cycling Arena at the Munich Olympiapark, approx. 5500sqm + external areas of approx. 4000sqm. Very good public transport connections, close to the city areas of Northern Munich.
No admission feet, free participant I.D., children and teenagers decide themselves about the duration and frequency of their visits, pre-booking for groups of 10 and more.
Trouble-Academy, Event Days, Police Station, Children’s kitchen and restaurant, International House, Founders‘ Centre, participation of craftspeople and guilds, Japan House, radio station, research city…
230 helpers and grown-up players, including personnel of the cooperation partners, interns, overall, approx. 150 per day from different professional groups, social and cultural pedagogues, artists, craftspeople, teachers, students of all sectors, researchers, former inhabitants of Mini-München with special qualifications
Volunteer model: former inhabitants of Mini-München (from 16 years of age) can experience Mini-München as helpers for a period of two weeks.
Participation of around 40 institutions with one-time to continuous contributions: Departments of the City, children and youth facilities, clubs and associations, companies.
Special funds granted by the Capital City of Munich, funds from the municipal funds of the organisation Kultur & Spielraum e.V., further co-organisers, sponsors, donations.
Kultur & Spielraum e. V. on behalf of the Municipal Youth Welfare Office/Youth Culture Organisation Munich and the Social Department of the Capital City of Munich and many cooperation partners and sponsors.
Kultur & Spielraum e.V.
Contact persons: Gerd Grüneisl, Albert Kapfhammer, Margit Maschek
D – 80802 München
T. 0049 89 341676