World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0003372744
Reproduction Date:

Title: Worpswede  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Art colony, Osterholz, Pasaje Seaver, Clara Westhoff, Paula Modersohn-Becker
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Worpswede  is located in Germany
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Osterholz
 • Mayor Stefan Schwenke (Ind.)
 • Total 76.13 km2 (29.39 sq mi)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 9,157
 • Density 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 27726
Dialling codes 04792 - 04794
Vehicle registration OHZ

Worpswede is a municipality in the district of Osterholz, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated in the Teufelsmoor, northeast of Bremen. The small town itself is located near the Weyerberg hill. It has been the home to a lively artistic community since the end of the 19th century, with over 130 artists and craftsmen working there.


  • History 1
  • Church of Zion and cemetery 2
  • Culture 3
    • Artistic community 3.1
    • Heinrich and Martha Vogeler 3.2
    • Second generation of artists 3.3
    • Worpsweder Käseglocke 3.4


Its origin goes back to the Bronze Age. The first time it was mentioned however was in 1218. Then it belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen.

In 1630 it was occupied by Sweden for a short period of time. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. However, it took another 120 years (1750) until the colonization of the Teufelsmoor was started by Jürgen Christian Findorff by drainage of the bog. In 1823 the Duchy was abolished and its territory became part of the Stade Region.

Church of Zion and cemetery

Plaque in Latin commemorating George II as principal of the Church of Zion building, hanging on its outside wall
Moor commissioner Jürgen Christian Findorff carried out the construction of Seven Years' War, which had its American version as the Anglo-French and Indian War.
Church of Zion: Typical Protestant Kanzelaltar, topped by the Tetragrammaton of God's Hebrew name יהוה.
George II, being as summus episcopus the supreme governor of the Hanoveran Lutheran church, provided financial support for the construction of the Church of Zion. The hall church is oriented. Its else rather modest interior is beautified by a typical Protestant Kanzelaltar, combining pulpit and altar table, created in Rococo forms. It bears the Tetragrammaton יהוה in a top medaillon and to the left of the pulpit the king’s ornamented initials GR (Georgius Rex, hidden on the photo by a painting).

There are heads of cherubim by Clara Westhoff and floral ornaments by Paula Becker at the pendentives and the columns, connecting to the ceiling. After in 1900 both artists, then still students, had rung the church bells for fun, which was generally understood as a fire alarm, they were fined. They could not pay and were allowed to perform instead by way of offering these decorative elements to the church. Lofts (or matronea) span between the outer walls and the columns.

Church of Zion as seen from South
The church tower with its spire in baroque forms had been added at the eastern end of the actual church building only in 1798. The Church of Zion is located on the Weyerberg, and with its tower it is a landmark, often used as subject of paintings by the artists.

The cemetery is a churchyard, thus it actually spreads around the church building. It was designed after plans of Findorff and attracts many visitors because of its elevated location on Weyerberg and due to the graves preserved there. Among them those of 80 known painters, authors, musicians and artisans, such as Fritz Mackensen and Paula Modersohn-Becker.


Worpswede is famous nationwide for its long tradition as an artists' colony. Nowadays, about 130 artists and craftsmen and women live there permanently; though one should really include most of the inhabitants of Worpswede, since many are artists or have at least to do with any kind of arts. As an example, the owner of the small "Café Vernissage" also displays her paintings in the Café.

Artistic community

In 1884 Mimi Stolte, the daughter of a shopkeeper in Worpswede, met Fritz Mackensen, a young student of arts, while she was staying with her aunt in Düsseldorf. Since he was destitute, she invited him to Worpswede to spend the holidays with her family.

In 1889 he settled in Worpswede, accompanied by other painters such as Hans am Ende and Otto Modersohn, and followed by others such as Fritz Overbeck, Carl Vinnen, and Paula Becker (who married Otto Modersohn). Other artists came, for example the writers and poets Gerhard Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, and Rainer Maria Rilke and the sculptor Clara Westhoff (who was married to Rilke).

Fritz Mackensen remained a good friend of Mimi Stolte's family to the end of his life. A memorial tablet created by Mackensen can be seen in front of the Kaufhaus Stolte.

Heinrich and Martha Vogeler

Worpswede railway station, 2007

In 1895 Heinrich Vogeler joined the first artists around Fritz Mackensen. He was not only a painter but also a draftsman, designer and architect. Since the growing industrialization made it necessary to find new ways of transporting goods and all sorts of materials, the idea came up to build a railway through the Teufelsmoor-area. So Vogeler was charged with the building of railway stations along the route. In 1910 the railway station at Worpswede was opened.

It is the only railway station on the Osterholz-Scharmbeck - Bremervörde route still kept in its original "shape". Nowadays it is used as a restaurant.

The “Barkenhoff” in Worpswede, 2007

In 1895 Vogeler bought a cottage and planted many birch trees around it, which gave the house its new name: Barkenhoff (Low German for Birkenhof, literally translated Birch-Tree-Cottage). It became the cultural centre of the artistic scene of Worpswede.

His participation in World War I, in which Hans am Ende was killed, made Vogeler contemplate about life. As a result he became a pacifist after the war had ended and joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). It was at that time that he and his wife Martha divorced. From that point on, he wanted to work ideologically. He left his former way of painting romantic scenes and started to make proletarian content the center of his work. In 1931 he emigrated to Soviet Union and was deported in 1941 by Soviet authorities to Kazakhstan, where he died in 1942.

Das Haus im Schluh in Worpswede

Meanwhile, the Barkenhoff became a children's home. It was recently restored and has re-opened as a Heinrich Vogeler Museum in 2004.

After their divorce, his wife Martha built up her own childhood dream with the "Haus im Schluh". It still exists and belongs to the descendants of Martha and Heinrich Vogeler. As during the time of Martha herself, it contains a museum, a boarding-house, a weaving-mill, and offers different cultural events such as exhibitions, concerts of songs, etc.

The “Niedersachsenstein” by Bernhard Hoetger

Second generation of artists

The first generation of artists was followed by a second one. The probably most important of them was Bernhard Hoetger, the creator of the Böttcherstraße in Bremen.

Like Vogeler he was a 'Jack-of-all-trades'. Many buildings in Worpswede have been built by him: examples include the Lower Saxony Stone (Niedersachsenstein), Kaffee Verrückt, Grosse Kunstschau and his own house Hinterm Berg. He also created many sculptures, such as the Bonze des Humors, the Träumende, Schlafende, Wut etc.

Worpsweder Käseglocke

Worpsweder Käseglocke, created by the architect Bruno Taut in 1921 and built in 1926 by the writer Edwin Koenemann. This small structure was given its name because of its resemblance to a cheese cover. Since 2001 the Käseglocke has been used as a museum

Worpswede "Cheese Cover" is the colloquial term for a residential building located in the artists’ village of Worpswede in Lower Saxony. It was built by the writer Edwin Koenemann in 1926 following the architectural draft of Bruno Taut. Nowadays, the wooden house is under preservation and in the last couple of years has been fully renovated. The building, which caused quite a stir because of its unusual igloo shape, received the name "Cheese Cover" by the inhabitants of Worpswede.

Edwin Koenemann

Edwin Koenemann came to Worpswede as a young man in 1908 with the aim of becoming an artist. After failed attempts in different artistic genres he managed to get by as a tour guide. Today Koenemann is one of the most well-known citizens of Worpswede. His former home was reopened to the public on May 1, 2001. The story of Koenemann’s posthumous fame started in the early 1920s. The architect Habich was based in Worpswede and worked closely with the German artist Bernhard Hoetger. Habich gave Koenemann, who was interested in expressionism, one particular edition of the Taut-magazine "Frühlicht" published in 1921/22. In the magazine Koenemann came across the plans for a Taut-one-family-house, which was supposed to be built on the Central-German Exhibition in Magdeburg, yet the building was never built there. There was talk about a house with a cupola or the shape of an igloo, which at that point in time had never been built before.

Initial Draft by Bruno Taut

The main idea for the igloo had already been expressed by Taut at the Chimney of the igloo forms the main axis, around which the stairs wind up to individual chambers, similar in appearance to a snail shell. The Dormer windows look as though they have simply opened up out of the shell, thus making a concession to human use.

Koenemann, who also dabbled as an architect, recognised his opportunity in the draft which was only published in limited circulation. He took the rough sketches from the magazine "Frühlicht" and used them as direct templates for his own house on the Weyerberg in Worpswede. Koenemann’s house, which he called “Glockenhaus” (the bell house), was completed in 1926. Koenemann and his appointed carpenter closely abided by Taut’s specifications when constructing the outer façade. Only in detail were there changes made, such as both of the small windows next to the front door not being rectangular as in Taut’s design, but rather triangular.

Interior Design

Inside, Koenemann designed a unique room layout. The central hall, which was arranged with an expressionistic mantelpiece composed from misfired pottery, became the principal position, while the living room was the central room in Taut's design. On the ground floor of the igloo, situated next to the hall and a small toilet, are the bedroom and the kitchen. Upstairs there are two tiny guest rooms and a generous studio room.

The house, with a diameter of ten meters and exclusively sloping walls, proved so spacious that the upstairs was repeatedly rented out by Koenemann. Problematic, however, was the heating of two separate flats, which was done by the central heating system of the fireplace in the hall.

Place of Interest

Comparable to the Hoetger-buildings, the “Cheese Cover” became an attraction of the artists’ village. During his lifetime the house was already known as a museum for an outsider. In the late 1920s, while Bruno Taut

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.