CONTRIBUTED BY KARI MARTINDALE
Note: This article was originally published in 2014, but has been updated for the 2015 season. Enjoy!
Hameln (in English, Hamelin), best known for its famous rat-expelling kidnapper, the Pied Piper, lies in Northern Germany along Germany’s scenic Fairy Tale route. In December, they host a quaint Christmas Market.
One of the biggest highlights when visiting Hameln in any season is the Glockenspiel that reenacts the Pied Piper of Hamelin fairy tale—which, unlike many fairy tales, has confirmed historical basis. The Glockenspiel plays on the façade of the ornate Hochzeitshaus. During the Christmas season, the building also serves as the town Advent calendar.
Hameln’s surprisingly robust Weihnachtsmarkt stretched throughout town with several streets of vendors, a few rides, and all the food and drink of Christmastime in Germany.
I noticed some nice woodcarvings at this market, with better craftsmanship and more impressive sizes than what has been available in most of the markets we’ve visited. Some vendors were hawking rat-themed Christmas decorations and home décor. In general, the town played up its fairy tale legacy in a fun way.
While visiting the market, we enjoyed the timeliness of blowing our own glass ornaments at the local glassworks, the Glasshütte Hameln.
First we watched a demonstration of how the glass is blown. Although the presentation is in German, the glassworker was kind enough to translate as much as he could into English (which was a lot). After the demonstration, we each went down, one by one, to hand blow our own ornaments. Because the glass has to cool for 1-2 days, they mailed the ornaments to our home. The ornaments arrived safe and sound, just after we returned from our road trip. They are excellent souvenirs of our trip. (Those, and our Santa-costumed rat bell!)
Between the Glockenspiel, the rat theme, the architecture, and the quality of wares, this market has remained a favorite of mine. They did a great job of marrying the wonder of fairy tales with the wonder of Christmas. Were it closer to us, I would return. After all, they have one of my favorite statues in Germany…But don’t follow him!
Tips for Your Trip:
25 November – 23 December, 2015
Monday – Wednesday: 1000-2000
Thursday – Friday: 1000-2100
Sunday: 1100 – 2000
31785 Hameln, Germany