Mechelse Dresdner (CCP5)

Mechelse Giant

Mechelse Giant


The various phenotypes show characteristics of the four different chicken breeds that were crossed into this generation of the Cosmopolitan Chicken Project / recognisable traits from Belgium, France, Great Britain, and the United States.




Originated in 1955, the Dresdner is the result of a long series of crossings, carried out by German prisoner of war Alfred Zumpe, a chicken breeder captured by British troops during WWII and put to work on a chicken farm – he managed to smuggle some eggs from the Heimat with him when he was deported by the British: he wanted to create a fast-growing consumer chicken / to this day, the Dresdner is a symbol for Dresden’s reconstruction after WWII / rather rare today.


Looking for a suitable Dresdner chicken, Vanmechelen visited the German city of Dorn-Dürkheim. 

Birthplace of the first chicks

Meeuwen-Gruitrode, on Koen Vanmechelen's home farm

First Showing

Mechelse Dresdner – The Desire
De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam (NL), 2003

De Brakke Grond Amsterdam 2003

The unexpected, the appeal of the chicken

Serendipity at work...

The first specimens saw the light in Meeuwen. They were all roosters. That’s a striking parallel with post-war history, when suddenly more boys than girls were born, as if to compensate for the many men fallen in the war... Questions arose, hypotheses were formulated. Was it the crossing itself that caused this crazy quirk of nature? And was that a ‘bad omen’? Or was it rather the opposite: a signal that the project absolutely had to be continued, if only to secure the survival of the opposite sex in the CCP story? And what to make of the fact that Dresden, located as it is in a valley, for many years after the war remained isolated, out or reach of all radio and tv waves? That the citizens of Dresden, cut off from world events, led a reclusive life as a consequence? And that the chicken that provided their daily egg   happens to be the one that was chosen to help break open borders via the CCP? That’s the unlikely chain of facts that Koen Vanmechelen discovered after his choice for the Dresdner Huhn...