Where else can you see a shoe encapsulated in a statue of a moustachioed man with an artificial eye? Why, here in Rotenburg, of course! This little city provides for a sweet walking tour. There is a sight seeing map available at the info center, located right inside of the city hall. The tour takes you on a loop around the city center, ending up at the Heimatmuseum.
The Yellow Fellow in the Watchtower
While many German cities incorporate sculptures into their marketplaces, none that I have seen have done so with such careful drollness as Rotenburg. Starting with the Rathaus (City Hall), please direct your attention to the highest point of the building, to the yellow person balancing in the glass enclosure. . . . Other out of the ordinary pieces are located in the city loop. The city gate is comprised of two axe-like structures pointing towards one another, with golden heads. The horse statues, most appropriately located in the Pferdemarkt (horse market), are more traditional but also have a unique sense of humor, with one of the horses stuck in a frozen whinny. Someone’s jacket is forever hung up on a pole between them.
The jewel of the sculptures of Rotenburg is the “Paar-oh-die” in the Neuen Markt. The artwork serves as both fountain and sculpture in one, although it is constituted of three pieces. One of the pieces is titled “The parody of Paar-oh-die”. This is the one with the shoe inside. This sculpture is a masterpiece of absurdity and does of good job of funny bone tickling.
The Old Standards
Far from being an unreasonable city, Rotenburg has many traditional sightseeing options available. The Alte Apotheke (the old apothecary) is a stunning timber framed building which still serves as an operating pharmacy. The Rudolf-Schäfer-Haus is also charming and serves as a small city museum, complete with garden.
The grounds of the Heimatmuseum are the most picturesque part of Rotenburg, which aim to display the history and the old way of life in Niedersachsen. History has indeed been meticulously preserved on these grounds. Here one can see prime examples of the northern style thatched roofs. These roofs are usually only viewable out in the country side, so it is nice to see some inside city limits here. Reminiscent of the houses of the Three Little Pigs, this style of house is unique to northern Europe and not at all visible in the big cities. The round outdoor oven and the farming equipment details more of the historical story of Rotenburg. And the historical and modern come together with the display of stone pieces from the old renaissance castle.
Rotenburg is well cared for. There are blooming flowers everywhere in the summer and the grounds of the museum were especially immaculate. Just be wary of the traffic, as the cars seem to be constantly coming from somewhere at a most rapid pace.
How to get there: From Bremen, take either the regional train to Rotenburg (Wümme) or the Metronome, direction Hamburg. From Hamburg, take the Metronome, direction Bremen. Rotenburg is 20-30 minutes from Bremen and 50 minutes from Hamburg.
Great things: The whimsical sculptures and the historical buildings. Things just seem to all fit together in Rotenburg.
Date of visit: September 11, 2006
Rotenburg website: www.rotenburg-wuemme.de