Traditional Sorbian costume. High fashion with heritage.
  • Blade production in Solingen
    Blade production in Solingen ©Bergische Entwicklungsagentur GmbH/Kristine Löw
  • Wicker beach chairs and sandcastles by the sea
    Wicker beach chairs and sandcastles by the sea ©Lintas / DZT
  • Nutcrackers – the pride and joy of traditional Erzgebirge crafts
    Nutcrackers – the pride and joy of traditional Erzgebirge crafts ©Tourismusverband Erzgebirge e.V.
  • Lüftl art in Oberammergau in Bavaria
    Lüftl art in Oberammergau in Bavaria ©panthermedia/e.starosczik
  • Linguists and collectors of fairytales, the Brothers Grimm
    Linguists and collectors of fairytales, the Brothers Grimm ©GrimmHeimat NordHessen
  • Cowbells from the Allgäu region
    Cowbells from the Allgäu region ©BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH
  • Glass manufacture with a long history
    Glass manufacture with a long history ©fotolia/Bergfee
  • The Eleven Dot Angels made famous by the long-established company Wendt & Kühn of Grünhainichen in the Erzgebirge region
    The Eleven Dot Angels made famous by the long-established company Wendt & Kühn of Grünhainichen in the Erzgebirge region ©Wendt & Kühn KG
  • Guided tour of the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen
    Guided tour of the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen ©Jan Rathke / BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale
  • Maritime Museum in Hamburg
    Maritime Museum in Hamburg ©www.mediaserver.hamburg.de/C.Spahrbier
  • The Hallors show how salt is made, demonstrating the process from brine through to packaged salt
    The Hallors show how salt is made, demonstrating the process from brine through to packaged salt ©Stadt Halle (Saale), Thomas Ziegler
  • ©Freilichtmuseum Hessenpark (Harald Kalbhenn)
  • A traditional bollenhut from the Black Forest
    A traditional bollenhut from the Black Forest ©S. Nieselt /STG
  • Steam-powered winding engine at the Ensdorf-Duhamel mine
    Steam-powered winding engine at the Ensdorf-Duhamel mine ©Tourismus Zentrale Saarland

Traditional craftsmanship in the 21st century.

Many old German traditions still thrive today, lovingly preserved by artisanal craftsmen and small producers, and passed on from generation to generation. Traditions like these often blur the distinction between art and craft. As you watch traditional craftsmen at work, you'll be amazed at how modern old skills can be.

More than 260 years of Villeroy & Boch's history are brought to life inside the Old Abbey in Mettlach, the magnificent baroque building where the company has its headquarters. The discovery centre features scenes of days gone by in the Keravision exhibition, 21st century tableware, the Ceramics Museum and the historical museum café dating back to 1892. Perfect for a memorable day out. The museum café is decorated from floor to ceiling with over 15,000 hand-crafted tiles modelled on the 19th-century originals.

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It is a little-known fact that Hessen has the biggest variety of traditional costumes ( trachten ) of any region in Germany. The attire worn by unmarried women of the Schwalm region was made famous by the Brothers Grimm fairytale Little Red Riding Hood. The annual Hessentag festival in June is one of the best times to see all the many different styles of this traditional dress. Many groups keep this ancient custom alive by wearing their tracht to special events, and some older women still wear the Schwalm tracht every day.

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Rostock-based basket-maker to the royal court, Wilhelm Bartelmann, is said to have invented the wicker beach chair in the 19th century. These distinctive recliners have hardly changed since and are still made by hand to this day. Seen on nearly every beach on Germany's North Sea and Baltic coastlines, the chairs offer comfort and shelter from the sun and wind. Slightly less comfortable, but great fun nonetheless, is the tradition of beach-chair racing, which takes place in Zinnowitz on the Baltic island of Usedom during the winter beach chair festival. Teams of two carry the chairs, which weigh 60 kilos a piece, 20 metres to the finishing line of the track.

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Embroidery is a celebrated art form in the Spree Forest. Colourful patterns are sewn into traditional Sorbian costumes one stitch at a time. Learn about the techniques at the Trachtenstickerei embroidery workshop in Burg and discover just how much patience is needed to produce these colourful garments. The traditional Sorbian costume, Sorbian dolls and small keepsakes are all produced by hand here. The embroidering machine is used to produce wall hangings, pictures and, on request, monograms too.

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Elaborately embroidered head scarves and colourful skirts are the hallmark of the traditional Sorbian tracht , still worn on high days and holidays by women in the Spree Forest. Every colour is symbolic in meaning: unmarried women wear red skirts, married women wear green. Black skirts are worn to church. The different styles of bonnet represent the village the woman comes from. Recently, female designers have taken inspiration from this traditional dress and created their own modern interpretations for both men and women.

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The Sorbian people have played a large part in shaping the culture and history of Upper Lusatia. Despite being Europe's smallest Slavic minority, the Sorbs continue to make their mark on the region and its annual festivities through their culture, customs and way of life. Throughout the year, there are lots of opportunities to experience their customs and traditions. For special occasions such as Easter, traditional costumes are worn across the different areas where the Sorbian people live.

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Where better than Hamburg for a maritime museum? It is impossible to imagine this Hanseatic city without its seafaring heritage, and the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg is a must for anyone interested in ships and life at sea. Housed in Kaispeicher B, a historical docklands warehouse in the Speicherstadt district, the exhibition tells the story of explorers, conquerors, captains and sailors, taking you on a journey through 3,000 years of human history.

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The city of Halle (Saale) owes its origins to its wealth of saline springs. In 1491 the city's saltworkers, known as the Hallors, joined together to form a brotherhood. Its members preserve the history and traditions of their forefathers to this day. In the saltworks and salt-panning museum (Salinemuseum), the Hallors still produce salt the old-fashioned way. Visitors have the chance to watch them at work on a number of select dates in the year.

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