Papenburg has some more interesting places other than the famous Meyer Werft. At the opposite part of the town, my wife and I visited the Von-Velen-Anlage, which is an open air museum reminding of the original lifestyle in the area and especially the traditional peat cutter life. We really enjoyed our visit there, so that I share my experience with you.
von-Velen-Anlage – Location & Admission
Von-Velen-Anlage is located on the East edge of Papenburg in the Emsland region. It is located in a residential area. There are, however, multiple references to historic living, e.g. historic boats, around. The open air museum features a parking lot on the opposite side of the street. If you travel by public transport, there are bus stops nearby, e.g. Papenburg Gaststätte Schnieders (bus lines 612-2, 970, 980).
The open air museum is only opening in the summer months, roughly from mid-April to mid-Oktober. The daily opening times are 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. Admission to the museum is 3.50 EUR per adult. You may also book a guided tour through the premises (5 EUR per person, 30 EUR min.). The von-Velen-Anlage also organizes other experiences like historic boat trips (5 Euro, min. 5 people). If you are in the group, you may also enjoy the view from Papenburg’s historic tower.
von-Velen-Anlage – Outdoor Exhibits
The key exhibits are for sure the traditional houses (see below), but there are quite some other items in this museum as well. First of all, there are traditional tools used for peat cutting. There is also a display about legendary inhabitants from that area, e.g. a story about a female ship captain, which is illustrated very entertainingly.
The museum is also telling you about wildlife and flora in the very special botanic condition o the Emsland region. I feel that this part was very nice as well.
von-Velen-Anlage – Traditional Houses
The settlers, who were attracted to live in the region by marketing, received a some 40,000 square meter ground, which they could use for peat. On top of that, they were attracted by being freed from tax payment for multiple years. This originally lead to rather simply buildings, which more and more improved over time. You can get inside the very basic Heidekaten as well as comparably modern stone buildings, which illustrate life at different times and wealth levels. The order of pictures does not reflect a historic order or something like “From basic to rich”, but is just reflecting my order of visit.
Houses made of stone or wood of course also required that you dug a canal on your ground already and got rid of some of the water in the area. This housing below is slightly more basic than the stony house above, but that rather makes it more interesting to explore.
The house below is a very typical building, which the settlers built at the beginning of being at their new home. Overall, the park-alike open air museum are is very interesting, but also very relaxing.
von-Velen-Anlage – Services & Outside Museum
The building at the entrance to the museum space fulfills several functions: first of all, it hosts the administration facilities. However, there is also a small exhibition and an interesting movie about the museum. The building also features the souvenir shop, which has a lot of regional produces. The staff was very friendly and helpful, we really enjoyed it.
Related to the museum is the picturesque Papenburger Hus, a cafe in a lovely traditional style. The key product (not offered daily) are traditional buckwheat pancakes, which are absolutely delicious. They typically come with tea or coffee. Prices are low – and similar to the museum, staff is very friendly. We felt very welcome in the cafe.
Next to the cafe is the van-Velen-Garten, a herbary-style garden. The place is really nice and comes with some colorful sculptures.
The von-Velen-Anlage is located next to a historic canal, which also featurs a memorial to the traditional transport boats (which have been pulled by people in the beginning). There are also some historic ships, which complete the beautiful scenery of the area.
von-Velen-Anlage Papenburg – My View
To be honest, I much more enjoyed the visit at the von-Velen-Anlage in Papenburg than the Meyer Werft visit. I feel that this place is driven with so much love – and you just learn so much about the area, so many new stories you are not aware of. If you are around, I definitely recommend the visit. And if the cafe is open, visiting the museum and having buckwheat pancakes thereafter is rather a must than an option.
Germany – The Very Northwest
Open Air Museums
Here are all my postings about Open Air Museums: