After a battle with local authorities, German anatomist Gunther von Hagens finally opened his new “Body Worlds” museum in Alexanderplatz, Berlin.
Body Worlds has been fascinating and horrifying people for more than 20 years, yet is still the source of major controversy wherever it lands.
Van Hagens invented “plastination” in 1997, a process which preserves body tissue and sees corpses coated in silicon rubber and resin.
His critics, particularly religious ones, say corpses deserve better treatment. Officials who don’t want his exhibits in their town often rely on burial codes to close them down.
That was the case von Hagens had been fighting in Berlin since October, but while a local court ruled that the specimens in his exhibit do in fact count as corpses, they do not violate burial codes.
Von Hagens claims to have a list of more than 15,000 people waiting to “join” his exhibition, including himself.
His wife and Body Worlds creative director Angelina Whalley says the exhibitions serve a positive purpose, telling Reuters that after visiting, “some people said they would never take their bodies for granted any more”.
She said a poll conducted of visitors six months after they’d seen Body Worlds showed 9 per cent had given up smoking, 23 per cent did more exercise and 30 per cent ate more healthily.
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