The Money Fountain in Aachen

No, this is not the kind of fountain where you throw in a coin and make a wish. It is a fountain which symbolizes ‘The Circulation of Money’ (in German ‘Der Kreislauf des Geldes). I suppose the message might be that money isn’t of much use unless it’s circulating.

The water in the round basin flows round and round in a counter-clockwise direction (that’s “anti-clockwise” to you British folks). As far as I know, there is no particular reason why the water flows counter-clockwise instead of clockwise, just that the sculptor had to decide on one or the other. I’m told it also flows in the winter, because it is warm water from the nearby mineral springs.

The statues around the edge of the basin are allegorical figures representing stinginess, greed, condescension and begging. In the foreground a father is explaining to his child how to deal with money.

The child, listening

Here the child is listening intently to the father’s explanation. I’m sure my father gave me some advice about money when I was that age, but I have long since forgotten what it was. (Neither a borrower nor a lender be, perhaps?)

Stinginess, greed and condescension

Here is a closer view of the figures representing stinginess, greed and condescension, not necessarily in that order. I assume condescension was included here to wag a finger at rich people who look down on poor people.

The statues were made in 1976 by a sculptor named Karl-Henning Seemann, who was born in Wismar in 1934. The installation was commissioned and paid for by the Aachen Savings Bank. It is at the corner of Ursulinerstraße and Hartmannstraße, at the northwest corner of the Elisenpark in the center of Aachen.

My photos in this post are from 2015. I revised the text in 2019.

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