Germany Has A Fairy Tale Village In Freudenberg

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Historic town core Alter Flecken in Freudenberg is like a black and white photograph in the winter. With about 50 identical half-timbered houses of grey shingle roofs and white walls, the old city centre is a monochromatic view against snow-dusted trees.

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Visit Alter Flecken’s idyllic cobbled streets in the early morning, before commuters scrape ice off their cars, and you could easily believe you’re in the 1600s. Freudenberg, the most-photographed township in German Westphalia, is, in fact, a 17th-century town planned along four parallel streets after a fire destroyed the old city. These days, Freudenberg is partly a dormitory city for people who work in Siegen and Olpe but want to live in picture-perfect Westphalia. Visitors today can enjoy the Stadtmuseum in Mittelstrasse with its collection of 19th-century clocks by Johann Peter Stahlschmidt. It’s a pleasant walk to the Evangelical Church, which was built after the fire of 1666 by incorporating part of the damaged castle into its bell tower. Without a functioning castle, the fortified church doubled as a 17th-century place of refuge during war.

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Railways reached Freudenberg in the 19th century, extending south down the Weisse Valley from Cologne and ending its isolation; a fact commemorated by the town’s Technikmuseum and its prize exhibit, a 1904 steam engine. In the summer, an open-air theatre is set up among the trees. It’s the perfect time to hit the cycling and hiking trails along the Orange Route, which connects cities in north and central Germany, like Freudenberg, that have links to the Dutch royal family. The city’s unofficial motto “raum zum atmen” (room to breathe), and its rural position and clean air make for a refreshingly healthy location.

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Story originally appeared on SilverKris.

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