Hameln, known as Hamelin in English-speaking countries, holds greater fame compared to many other German towns due to the renowned tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. This centuries-old legend, shrouded in mystery, revolves around the disappearance of 130 children from Hameln in 1284, as documented in historical records.
The popularity of the Pied Piper tale, thanks to the Brothers Grimm, draws countless visitors to Hameln. Even growing up in Tasmania on the opposite side of the world, I was captivated by this story as a child, making it a must-visit destination for me.
While the tale forms a significant part of Hameln’s tourism, there is more to explore in this charming town. Its Old Town exudes a fairy tale ambiance with its picturesque half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and vibrant Market Square (Markt Platz).
Visiting Hameln is a delightful experience and definitely worth including in your Germany itinerary or while traversing the Fairy Tale Road. During our journey to Bremen, we made a stop in Hameln and found it to be a rewarding detour.
Although Hameln offers a more relaxed and low-key atmosphere, with not an abundance of tourist attractions, it is precisely this characteristic that adds to its allure. It’s a place where you can unwind, soak in the surroundings (keeping an eye out for rats!), and savour the essence of the destination, rather than rushing from one attraction to another.
Pied Piper’s House (Rattenfängerhaus)
The Rattenfängerhaus, also known as the Pied Piper’s House, is a half-timbered building located in Hamelin. Its name derives from an inscription on its side, which claims to be an eyewitness account of the events depicted in the Pied Piper of Hamelin story. The inscription describes the departure of 130 children from Hamelin on June 26, 1284, led by a piper dressed in vibrant clothing. The children vanished forever after passing the Calvary near the Koppenberg.Read more about Rattenfängerhaus (Pied Piper's House)
The Rattenfängerbrunnen Osterstraße, also known as the Ratcatcher’s Fountain on Osterstraße, is a prominent landmark in Hamelin. The fountain is dedicated to the famous Pied Piper legend and serves as a visual representation of the story.
Located on Osterstraße, the Rattenfängerbrunnen Osterstraße features a central statue of the Pied Piper himself. The statue depicts the Pied Piper dressed in colourful attire and playing his enchanting pipe. Surrounding the Pied Piper are several sculpted rats, representing the vermin infestation that plagued the town of Hamelin in the legend.
The fountain is a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. It offers a picturesque setting where people can gather, relax, and admire the artistic representation of the Pied Piper tale. The Rattenfängerbrunnen Osterstraße serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of the Pied Piper legend and its significance to the town of Hamelin.Read more about Rattenfängerstatue (Pied Piper Statue)
Hamelin museum showcases a collection of significant historical pieces and artefacts that hold great importance for the town. Within its walls, you’ll find a diverse range of exhibits, including literature, artefacts, paintings, and statues, some of which trace their origins back to the Middle Ages. It serves as a treasure trove of Hamelin’s history and cultural heritage.
Visiting the museum is not only enriching but also affordable. The entry fee is five euros per adult and three euros per child, making it an accessible activity for individuals and families alike. Families can take advantage of a special family-friendly fee, which is just 12 euros, providing an opportunity for everyone to delve into the town’s fascinating past.Read more about Museum of Hamelin
The Glockenspiel in Hameln presents the story of the Pied Piper, but beneath its seemingly charming façade lies a replication of the darker aspects of the tale. When the bells chime, the Piper emerges, accompanied by a horde of rats. Then, with the next set of bells, a “darker” depiction of the Piper appears, leading all the children out of the town, except for two— a blind child and a child described as “lame.”
Every day, at specific times, the bells resound to initiate the Glockenspiel’s performance. The scheduled times are 1:05 pm, 3:35 pm, and 5:35 pm. Additionally, the bells also ring at 9:35 am for the Pied Piper song and at 11:35 am for the West River Song. You can find the Glockenspiel positioned on the gable of the Hochzeithaus, located on the west side of the building.
While the Glockenspiel may appear as a charming spectacle, it portrays the darker undertones of the Pied Piper tale, leaving a lasting impression on those who witness its performances.Read more about Hameln Glockenspeil
Rattenfängerstatue (Pied Piper Statue with children)
On the Rathausplatz in Hameln, you will encounter a mesmerizing fountain adorned with statues of children (as depicted in the picture). This enchanting fountain was gifted to the town in 1975 by Karl Ulrich Nuss, whose design emerged victorious from a competition that received an impressive 132 submissions.
Originally intended for placement in the Pferdemarkt area, the fountain’s size was ultimately considered too grand for the old town’s confines. Consequently, it found its home in the Rathausplatz, becoming a captivating centerpiece that enhances the beauty and allure of the town’s central square.
The statues of children adorning the fountain serve as a captivating visual representation of the timeless spirit embodied in the Pied Piper tale. As you wander through the streets of Hameln, be sure not to miss the opportunity to marvel at this remarkable fountain, appreciating the ingenuity and artistry that brought its design to life.Read more about Rattenfängerstatue (Pied Piper Statue with children)
Pop into the tourist info point for maps, what’s on that day and to orient yourself by watching the “Legendary Hamelin – fairytale Weserbergland”Read more about Hamelin Tourist Office
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