Traditional Sorbian costume. High fashion with heritage.
  • 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
  • Nutcrackers – the pride and joy of traditional Erzgebirge crafts
    Nutcrackers – the pride and joy of traditional Erzgebirge crafts ©Tourismusverband Erzgebirge e.V.
  • Blade production in Solingen
    Blade production in Solingen ©Bergische Entwicklungsagentur GmbH/Kristine Löw
  • Steam-powered winding engine at the Ensdorf-Duhamel mine
    Steam-powered winding engine at the Ensdorf-Duhamel mine ©Tourismus Zentrale Saarland
  • Cowbells from the Allgäu region
    Cowbells from the Allgäu region ©BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH
  • 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
  • A traditional bollenhut from the Black Forest
    A traditional bollenhut from the Black Forest ©S. Nieselt /STG
  • Glass manufacture with a long history
    Glass manufacture with a long history ©fotolia/Bergfee
  • Linguists and collectors of fairytales, the Brothers Grimm
    Linguists and collectors of fairytales, the Brothers Grimm ©GrimmHeimat NordHessen
  • 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)
  • Lüftl art in Oberammergau in Bavaria
    Lüftl art in Oberammergau in Bavaria ©panthermedia/e.starosczik
  • Wicker beach chairs and sandcastles by the sea
    Wicker beach chairs and sandcastles by the sea ©Lintas / DZT

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.

Lederhosen are often seen as Germany's national dress, but they are actually only worn in Bavaria – where locals wear them with pride. Lederhosen are as popular today as they've ever been, especially on festive occasions such as Munich's Oktoberfest . To complete the look you need the side-laced haferlschuh shoes, the traditional regional shirt known as a trachtenhemd and the distinctive round-collared trachtenjanker jacket. For ladies there's the equally traditional dirndl dress. In Berchtesgaden, Engelbert Aigner still makes high-quality lederhosen by hand. Up to two deerskins and around 25 hours' work go into each pair, depending on the intricacy of the embroidery.

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Worpswede artists' village was where painters such as Otto Modersohn, his wife Paula Modersohn-Becker and Fritz Mackensen lived and worked. Seven museums and galleries map the village's artistic history, and even today over 100 artists and artisans live in the area.

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Even cows can make music – provided they have the right instrument hanging around their neck. And thanks to Philipp Trenkele, they do. The Pfronten-based artisan blacksmith is one of a select few to still make cowbells in the old tradition. The bells he makes, known as kuhschellen , differ from normal cowbells (known as kuhglocken ) in that they're made of tin rather than brass.

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One of the world's most famous porcelain manufacturers, the KPM Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin has been producing 'white gold' for 250 years. At KPM-Welt in Berlin , you can see this prestigious craft being practised in the workshops and then buy the finished products.

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For many centuries, the unique quality of the light in Schleswig-Holstein , which lies between the North Sea and Baltic coast, has served as the inspiration for various traditional crafts. In the history of ceramics, the 'ceramic town' of Kellinghusen occupies a particularly illustrious position. In the 18th and 19th centuries, there were six manufacturers producing Kellinghusen faience earthenware, which today is highly valued by collectors. Ceramics are still produced here. The town is also home to a faience earthenware and ceramics museum and it hosts an annual pottery market in August.

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Ceramics have a long tradition in the southern Westerwald region, thanks to the abundance of clay that is found there. The tradition is continued today by the numerous potteries in an area known as Kannenbäckerland, where household items such as jugs and dishes are produced in the grey-blue colours typical of this style of pottery. Workshops displaying more contemporary pieces attest to the way ceramics have developed in this region, while the history of the craft can be traced in the Ceramics Museum in Höhr-Grenzhausen. Two major international ceramics markets in Höhr-Grenzhausen and Ransbach-Baumbach attract thousands of visitors every year.

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A 500-kilometre network of waterways runs through the Spree Forest . Out-of-the way places can often only be reached by punt. Even the local post is delivered in this manner. Which is why punt building is still an active and highly valued part of the local economy. A master craftsman will take about eight days to build a typical Spree Forest punt. Artisan boat builders can be seen demonstrating their craft at venues such as the open-air museum in Lehde, which is best reached – how else? – by punt.

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Traditional crafts such as lace making and woodcarving are as much a part of Annaberg as the legacy of the influential mathematician Adam Ries. In the Erzgebirgsmuseum and numerous demonstration workshops you can see examples of these handicrafts that have become famous around the world. To experience this art form at its most enchanting, visit the Factory of Dreams interactive museum in the heart of the old quarter, where the sheer diversity of the woodcarvings will transport you to another world.

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Germany inspires

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