At the beginning of July, my wife and I visited the LWL Freichlichtmuseum Hagen, the LWL Open Air Museum in Hagen. The place is a collection of historic buildings, which have been moved to the museum and re-arranged so that they illustrate historic life in the Ruhrgebiet region. The museum is driven by the LWL, one of two regional development (Landschaftsverband) companies driven by the German state of North Rhine – Westphalia. Here is my review.
LWL Open Air Museum – Location & Admission
The museum is located in the borough of Selbecke, which is comparably remote and almost has a village character, South of Hagen’s city. The open air museum does have a dedicated bus stop named Freilichtmuseum. Two lines are servicing the bus stop, 84 and 512. Most visitors, however, go to the LWL Open Air Museum by car due to the rare connections. There are sufficient parking lots. However, you walk some 300 meters from the parking lot to the entrance gate and another 200 meters to the first real attraction of the exhibitions (see below).
Th museum is opening from April until October. From Tuesday to Saturday as well as on public holidays (including Mondays), grounds are opening from 9:00 to 17:30 hrs. On Sundays, gates close 30 minutes later. Adults pay 8 Euro. The Ruhr.Topcard is accepted as well as annual passes by the LWL and LVR regional “Landschaftsverband” associations of Northrhine-Westphalia.
LWL Open Air Museum – The Visit
As you see on the map photo above, the are of the LWL Open Air Museum is quite lengthy. A typical route is to go through the different sections (named as D, C, B and A) and take the “express route” walk on a road back to the exit. The museum is excellently documented in German and English. You may, however, also use a museum app additionally. The directions are given in clear signs, which also give you an idea about the distance. A key focus of the LWL Open Air Museum are historic crafts. A majority of the buildings is representing historic workshops. Especially on weekend, there is are live demonstrations, Building featuring these are shown at the entrance as well as marked by the red flag you see below.
The first section you enter after passing the entrance gates is section D. There are copper works, but I especially liked that the museum displays a typical craft historically driven by the blind, broom making and chair caning. This section is also featuring one of the major playground and is thus popular by the young visitors. Another really interesting part of this area is that they have a hairdresser, who is doing historic-style hairstyles.
Hammer Mills and The German Blacksmith Museum
Before you reach Section C, you pass a nice pond. Most of the crafts in that area feature working with metal. For example, there is a hammer mill, a smith specialized for hatchets and another one for drills. We somehow missed to visit the German Blacksmith Museum in that area, as it felt to be part of one of the restaurants of the museum.
Section B introduces you to paper. There is a paper mill, but also a printery, which even allows you to print your own LWL Open Air Museum postcard. However, there are also some additional smith works like the very interesting Sensenhammer, which is made to create scythes.
Section A is the Heart of the Museum
The most remote part of the museum has been my favorite to hang out and relax (while the previous ones were more educative). The buildings in there form a little village. They also explain businesses and crafts which you would expect in a historic village. For example, you can buy bread at the bakery, have some sausage at the butchers or have a look at historic opticians and goldsmiths. Yeah, there is also a brewery – and as this area features one of the two major places to grab a bite, you can enjoy the drink more or less right on the spot. Cheers!
In Section D already, there has also been an exhibition about historic caricatures. Really entertaining.
LWL Open Air Museum – Shopping & Services
As said, there are two major restaurants in the open air museum, which feel very beautiful, especially on a sunny day. Playgrounds are spread all over the place. The village area and the exit building feature a souvenir store. The staff was very friendly and explained a lot. Unfortunately, we have visited the museum around noon, roughly from 11:00 to 14:00 hrs. The people driving the craft exhibitions more or less had lunch break in parallel, which meant that suddenly most of the demonstration sites were deserted. That felt a unnecessary and a bit disgusting.
LWL Open Air Museum – My View
The LWL-Freilichtmuseum Hagen is definitely a beautiful place and worth visiting. Kids will also have a lot of fun in there, not just due to the high number of playgrounds. I did not like the parallel lunch breaks in the demonstration houses, though. If you struggle with long distance walking or hills, the place might challenge you as well. Nonetheless, this place has to make it into the Top Pick! rating zone.