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Winsen (Aller): Open-air museum

Winsen (Aller)
©Winser Heimatverein
©Winser Heimatverein e.V.
©Winser Heimatverein e.V., Michael Bastian
©Winser Heimatverein e. V., Michael Bastian
©Winser Heimatverein e. V., Lara Strauch
©Winser Heimatverein e. V., Michael Bastian
©Winser Heimatverein e. V.
©Winser Heimatverein e. V., Michael Bastian

Winsen open-air museum

Winsen's open-air museum in Brauckmanns Kerkstieg on Galgenberg (Gallows’ Hill) represents a farmyard that is typical of the southern Lueneburg Heath region. The open-air museum consists of six historic buildings: farmhouse, multi-purpose barn, granary, bakery, hay barn and pigsty. In addition, there are five other half-timbered buildings such as "Dat groode Hus", the coach house, the Kalandhof and two other granaries.

The period of origin of these houses ranges from the middle of the 17th to the 20th century. The furnishings and equipment shown in the fully equipped rooms are mostly from the 19th century. The farmyard is completed by a draw well, an apiary and a small herb garden.

The initiator, builder and sponsor of the open-air museum is the Winser Heimatverein e.V. association, whose members have largely mastered the extensive construction measures required during the years of the museum’s construction (1982 - 2007) and have since then successfully organised its operation. Founded in 1979, the association at first counted just 10 members, but has now reached a membership of around 800.

At the centre of the open-air museum is a Low German farmhouse, a two-storey building erected in Winsen in 1653 by Dietrich Olvers. In 1980, the house was deconstructed at its original location on Kahlenweide and rebuilt in 1982 as the first building of the open-air museum. The extensive and varied interior design provides a good insight into the living and economic conditions of the peasant population of the Suedheide region. The multi-purpose barn adjacent to the farmhouse, a three-storey building dating from 1727, was deconstructed in 1982 and rebuilt at the open-air museum in 1983.

The granary, which was always erected at a greater distance from the farmhouse for fire safety reasons, dates from the first half of the 18th century. The granary was primarily used for the safe storage of grain, food and valuable household goods. The building, which was formerly located on the military training grounds founded in Bergen in 1936, was deconstructed and rebuilt in 1983. On the right of the two ground floor rooms you can see an extensive collection of beekeeping equipment. On the left there are materials relating to sewing and weaving.

The baking house is a reconstruction based on an old model. These buildings used to be found on many farms. Twice a year the oven would be fired up for "Winsen Baking Day".

The hay barn, a three-post building from around 1840, had its original location at "Luessmannshof" in Hornbostel. It is remarkable that the timber used to erect the building that was deconstructed in 1984 had previously been used to build a much older house. Construction was completed in 1987. A variety of implements and machines can be viewed here today.
Built in 1860, the pigsty that stood on the "Krischanshof" farm in South Winsen until 1985, was rebuilt in 1987. An adjoining room houses a small workshop where household and farming equipment could be repaired. The Winser Heimatverein has rebuilt four other historic buildings adjacent to the open-air museum: a carriage house from Winsen, a farmhouse from Buchholz (Aller), another granary from Bollersen (Bergen) and the Winser "Kalandhof" with outbuildings, which was relocated to here from the street named "In den Dämmen". The coach house, built in the years around 1860, was the remainder of the building on "Hingstmann'schen Hof" in Winsen. It was deconstructed there in 1984 and rebuilt in 1985. The former horse stable on the ground floor was expanded as a multipurpose room, while the attic is set up as a spinning and weaving workshop. The farmhouse from Buchholz (Aller) was built in 1795, after the previous building had fallen victim to a fire in the same year. Jürgen Hinrich Benecke and his wife Catarina Maria Frerking managed the farm at that time. The dismantling and reconstruction of this large two-post hall house was accomplished by the association between 1989 and 1991. Since its commissioning, the building has become known in the district of Celle and far beyond as "Dat groode Hus", the cultural centre of the community of Winsen (Aller). An extensive cultural program with exhibitions, concerts, lectures etc. offers visitors a variety of experiences. The granary has its own small exhibition on the history of rafting in Winsen. The Kalandhof was built in 1781 by Hans Christian Lohmann and his wife, Catarina Maria Kohnen, after a fire destroyed the previous building. From the 15th century until the Reformation period, the tenants of the farm were required to pay charges to the Catholic "Kaland Brotherhood", after which the farm was named. On the ground floor of the two-storey house is a cosy café, on the upper floor are seminar and archive rooms. The replicated pigsty and granary contain storerooms and toilet facilities for the disabled. The "Applhoff" orchard with its regional apple tree varieties is situated behind the café’s garden terrace that is open in the summer.