Matchbox from the GDR

Advent wreaths, sparklers, fireworks.

To fit the season, we have chosen a matchbox from the ‘VEB Zündwarenwerke Riesa’ (publicly owned company for match production, Riesa) as our thing of the month. This cardboard box measuring 5.3 x 3.6 x 1.5 cm with color print and a friction surface on its side contains something quite handy at the end of the year. The abbreviation ‘VEB’ meant more than that in the GDR. Considering the poor quality of some of the matches, it commonly referred to ‘Vorsicht, eins brennt!’ (Careful! One might light up!)

In our current special exhibition “Lumomonsterology. A match collection from the GDR”, on display at Museum der Dinge from December 1st, 2017 through March 26, 2018, a taxonomic scheme of how matches can deviate from the norm is on display, along with an extensive documentation of the activities around Lumomonsterology in the 1980s.