Together we make the world
For this new series of newsletters, we interviewed families and friends to learn about different ways of living and different possibilities when raising kids. A lens to think about contemporary life. First up, Vanessa Sondermann's family.
Vanessa Sondermann lives with her two little girls, aged 5 and 9, in Cologne where all three were born. She is an Art Historian and works at an art institution in Dusseldorf.
How is it, as a family, to live in Cologne?
Cologne is a beautiful city to live in. It is an old town with its own history. It was founded in the Roman period and you can find here many archaeological ancient ruins. Cologne is also a city of art with many artists, the cathedral, beautiful buildings and museums like the Museum Ludwig. Its location is also great. It’s close to Belgium, France and The Netherlands to where we often travel.
What is the first thing you look at or think of when deciding to buy your kids’ clothes?
For me it is important that the clothes we buy are sustainable. Then of course the colours and the design. The combination of all those is essential. Of course I have a passion for art and if there is a great illustration or colour combination it’s easy to fall in love.
How conscious are you of setting an example for your kids?
Our whole way of living, to respect each other and our love for art, design, and nature is the way to show our kids how to live and respect this world we live in.
What are the most important lessons you try to pass on to your kids?
To respect each other in every personality and way of life and to be yourself no matter what others think. To be unique and respectful.
How and when do you talk to your kids about race and equality?
We always talk about these things. I think it is important to let them know because they are our future. And in this future all lives matter!
How are recent events and politics discussed at home?
Because the little girl is still 5 she doesn’t really understand these but with our older daughter we always talk about openly about recent events and politics. She of course asks because she often doesn’t understand why things are happening. Children are naturally so full of love and respect that for them war and bloody disputes are things they cannot really understand. They want peace and freedom for all. Is that not a great base for life?
How important is art in your daily life?
Art is here every single day!
Any favourite artist or work of art?
There are so many! Modern Danish painters Per Kirkeby and Poul Gernes. Early paintings of Gerhard Richter. Of course Sigmar Polke, Tal R, Thomas Struth, Bernd and Hilla Becher. There are also so many younger artists which I really love. I love Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gaugin. I have a passion for surreal paintings and adore Picasso. I think he is a genius. Also René Magritte. I love the Romantic period with Caspar David Friedrich and from the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci.
What kind of future do you dream of?
I dream for my children of a peaceful world!