Sweden has a reputation. For remaining neutral during conflicts, that is. But the land of blonde-haired women, meatballs, and Ikea didn't always take the path of neutrality. During the Thirty Years' War of the 17th century, Sweden invaded many of its Baltic neighbors, including Germany.
|The Kinderlore & entourage (2014)|
At the sight of Lore and the children, General Sperreuth softened. Picking up a blonde-haired boy dressed in black velvet, the general declared him a look-alike of his own son in Sweden and granted mercy upon the whole town for the children's sake.
In honor of the city's deliverance, Dinkelsbühl hosts a 10-day long festival known as the Kinderzeche every July with reenactments and city-wide partying. That's right - this town celebrates its 17th century surrender to a Swedish general by putting on parades, conducting a reenactment of the Swedes entering the city, and drinking copious amounts of beer. Out of the 300,000 people who visit the festival every year, only a handful of those visitors manage to stay sober! (OK, that may be a slight exaggeration!)
The general atmosphere of this otherwise small and somewhat-quiet town is festive during the Kinderzeche. Flags fly proudly throughout the town, showing off not only the red and white of the town's flag, but the German national flag, the Swedish flag, and the flags of sister cities in other countries. The main square is blocked to vehicular traffic, and wooden benches and tables turn the place into an outdoor dance hall. The 2014 Kinderzeche was especially exuberant as Germany had just won the World Cup only a few days prior.
While my husband has seen countless Kinderzeche festivals in the past thirty years, I've only enjoyed it twice - in 2010 and 2014 - but appreciated it more the second time than the first. Stay tuned for my next post, which will break down the Kinderzeche in more detail!
Have you ever heard of the Kinderzeche? Ever been?
Linking up with Bonnie Rose for #TravelTuesday!