There is an eye-catching house at the corner of Mönchstraße and Böttcherstraße, opposite St. Catherine’s hall – painted yellow with blue-green window frames and a Gothic brick gable. An open door welcomes you to the Burmeister Memorial. Prof. Dr. Hermann Burmeister, the famous German-Argentine natural scientist, was born in Stralsund. His birthplace once stood just feet away at Böttcherstraße 9. It could not be preserved and was demolished, so the German Marine Museum acquired the untenanted, ramshackle condemned house at Mönchstraße 45 in 1987.
From June 1st 1990 on, the Urban Regeneration Company (SES) took over the time-consuming protection and reconstruction of the building. It was not tried to just rebuild the Gothic gable but to save as much historical structure as possible. On May 2nd 1994, Burmeister’s 102nd death-day anniversary, the building was handed over to the public as "Burmeisterhaus". Reconstructing the building was a pilot project of urban regeneration and funded by the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development and the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. However, funds benefited a very special building. Dendrochronological age determination of wooden parts proved that it was already built around 1360. The house’s structuring is typical for a Gothic bourgeois house in Stralsund. The floor plan reveals that the room layout has been most widely preserved. The relatively small frontage is formed by the high brick gable. Behind the facade there was a double-height hallway on the ground floor and several storage rooms on the upper floors. Despite many physical alterations the house’s Gothic character was kept because it was practical.
It was not before the end of the 18th century that storage room was rebuilt and used for residential purposes. The house was city property and allocated to the deputy rector of the local grammar school. During his school days (from 1787 to 1789), Ernst Moritz Arndt lodged there with rector Furchau. Today the building not only houses the Burmeister Memorial but also MEERESMUSEUM’s library, a small laboratory and workspace for scientists of the German Marine Museum.
Still using and maintaining historical structure means keeping old town houses alive and thus preserving Stralsund’s Hanseatic inner-city character and charm.