The Thursday just before I got sick was a beautiful spring day, so I took the opportunity to visit Oldenburg, a city approximately fifty kilometers west of Bremen.
Oldenburg has long been a good place to go shopping, since the city is big enough to have a large variety of stores, but smaller than Bremen and thus has more independent shops, though the number of chain stores in the city centre has definitely gone up since I was last there. Nonetheless, Oldenburg still has some interesting stores such as the Bültmann & Gerriets bookshop, purveyors of fine books since 1871, and the best Leffers store I have ever seen (Leffers is a largely defunct chain of clothing retailers. I’m a lifelong fan). Unfortunately, Wohlthat’s book store, another largely defunct chain that used to specialize in art and coffee table books, has closed in the meantime.
I had lunch at the excellent Michael Schmitz Brasserie and Vinothek and ate some very fine spaghetti with lobster sauce. And since I had come by train, I could even have a glass of wine with my pasta.
Of course, I took a camera along, though not my usual camera, because I had lent that one to my Dad. Instead, I was stuck with a digital video camera that can also take photos. It took some time getting used to the camera, though I did manage to capture a few nice shots.
The so-called Lappan, a 15th century clock tower that used to belong to the chapel of a long defunct hospital. The Lappan is one of the very few buildings in Oldenburg that survived a devastating fire in 1676, though the rest of the hospital is long gone. Today it houses – no joke – a travel agency and a bank.
The Degodehaus, a medieval timbered house built in 1502, is another a the few survivors of the 1676 city fire. It’s named for the Degode family who bought the house in the 19th century.
This 19th century mural shows Anton Günther, last Count of Oldenburg. Count Anton Günther died in 1667 and has remained enduringly popular due to keeping his city out of the Thirty Years War.
And here is Count Anton Günther’s baroque castle. Nowadays it’s an art museum.
The triangular Old Townhall, buil in 1888.
The Old Townhall viewed from the side.
Between the Old Townhall on the left and the Degode house on the right you can catch a glimpse of the Lamberti church with its many spires.
Four of the Lamberti church’s many spires caught in a single shot. The church is surprisingly difficult to photograph, since it’s massive and located in a tightly packed part of the city.
Rear of the Lamberti church with two spires. The church is as weird on the inside as on the outside. The exterior may look gothic, but the interior is neoclassical. The first bits were built in the 13th century, but the spires date from the late 19th. It literally seems to exist in multiple dimensions.
Another look at the Lamberti church, this time at the front with the main and two side towers.
Another bit of the Lamberti church, shot through cherry blossoms. Blooming cherry trees were planted throughout the city.
This sculpture on Oldenburg’s market place in front of the townhall is called “Gegenwart” a.k.a. “contemporary times”. Apparently, contemporary times involve a topless woman and a guy wearing what looks like a Spartan helmet.
Another interesting piece of art, this one is called the rooster, the ball, the pendulum and the crescent and is supposed to symbolize the day, the Earth, time and the night. It adorns the entrance of the delightfully named Pistolengasse a.k.a. pistol alley.
The Hirsch Apotheke or deer pharmacy in an interesting building in the city centre. Note the golden deer above the door.
Detail of another pharmacy, the Ratsapotheke or city council pharmacy. Old pharmacies in Germany are often very interesting buildings.
A striking 19th century townhouse in the city centre of Oldenburg
Munderloh’s has been selling bicycles since 1859, i.e. almost as long as bicycles have existed, as this sign attests.
If this fellow looks familiar, that’s because you have seen him or rather his twin before. Because this bronze horse in front of the headquarters of the Oldenburgische Landesbank is nigh identical to the bronze horse set up in front of the Vechta branch of the Oldenburgische Landesbank.
For comparison, the bronze horse of Vechta can be seen here and here. And for the record, I have no idea why the Oldenburgische Landesbank, a regional bank, insists on covering North West Germany with sculptures of horses.
However, the Oldenburgische Landesbank has more to offer than horses, as this detail of their headquarters building attests. It’s an Art Noveau sculpture depicting the pressing of coins (the old Counts and Dukes of Oldenburg once had the coining privilege). For reasons unknown, the coining is done by a nude muscular guy.
Another bit of Art Noveau gorgeousness. The main entrance of Oldenburg central station, built in 1915.
Another view of Oldenburg Central Station with a clock tower. The smaller building on the far left houses the private railway platform for the Grand Duke of Oldenburg and his family, so they wouldn’t have to pass through the regular station, when travelling. Considering the station was built in 1915 and the Grand Duke of Oldenburg abdicated in 1918 along with the rest of the German aristocracy, he only had our years to enjoy his private platform.
The interior of Oldenburg’s Central Station is still remarkably unchanged from its Art Noveau days, as this statue between the old waiting rooms (now the ticket office and a coffee shop) attests.