Lingen is a town on the Ems River in Lower Saxony, Germany which accounts for 56,107 inhabitants (as of August 2009), including second homes, making it the largest city of the district. Lingen was first mentioned as “Linga” in the Middle Ages (975 A.D.), when it was documented that Emperor Otto II transferred to Bishop Rudolf von Osnabrück the goods in Linga as a “fief”, or source of income, meaning the bishop would live off the returns of the Lingen people.
Here are some of Lingen’s historical highlights:
1366 – achieved city status (confirmed by Nicholas II Graf von Tecklenburg)
1394 – the oldest evidence for the Lingen coat of arms.
1498 – the county of Lingen arises
1548- a disastrous fire destroyed large parts of the city
1605 – Lingens recaptured by the Spanish commander Ambrosio Spinola
1697 – the founding of the university (Gymnasium academicum), by William III, Prince of Orange
1702 – the city and county of Lingen possessed by Prussia
During WWII, Lingen was the location of a major hospital of the Army Reserve, to which belonged also hospitals for prisoners of war in the POW camps in the Emsland region. After WWII ended in 1945, Lingen belonged to the British zone of occupation. The British Military Administration established a Displaced Persons camp. Most of the DPs were freed Polish slave laborers from the Emsland.
1975 began the transformation of downtown, and, in the present, the historical Old Town is usually full of pedestrians, like on the day I was walking around! Lingen is now also known for its nuclear power plants and for its beautiful nature alongside the Elms River.
I started my walkabout just trying get out of our venue, the Emslandhallen Lingen! As you can see, the building is very long…the left side is toward town, and our bus was parked on the back RIGHT side. Of course I didn’t know this when I began walking, but when it was all over, I had circled the building and finally got onto the main street…
By the way, today’s venue has hosted many shows, including numerous cow auctions through the Jahre Cow Club Festival…so there was usually the lingering aroma of cow manure once we got off the bus! Hah! I guess no matter how far this country-born girl travels, the manure always catches up:)
Approaching the main shopping area of Lingen’s downtown, I came across an interesting piece of art in the middle of a driving circle…each large tube of water is bubbling inside! If you squint, you can see some of the bubble specks toward the lower right area. It was cool to see moving water in such cold weather…
The first historical site I found was pretty cool, and probably the most exciting of the day! Y’all have learned by now that I love all that old castle-like stuff, and though I didn’t find anything out about the gateway (pictured below), what it led too more than made up for it…I love the pic below because I imagine the gate used to mark an entryway into the fortress which used to be here…
The fortress of Lingen Castle was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century by the Counts of Tecklenburg. The construction of the actual Powder Tower, pictured above AND below, was around the beginning of the 15th century. At the time of completion, the tower actually stood protected within Lingen Castle. Inside the tower was, as was customary, stored gunpowder for the defense of the city.
In 1607, a fire broke out inside the fortress. A powerful explosion occurred, which claimed many lives, as well as ripped off large parts of the fortress and the Powder Tower. During WWII, the basement, the only part of the building not disturbed by the 1607 explosion, was used by the students of the nearby castle school as an air raid shelter. By the year 1961, the Powder Tower lay in ruins in downtown Lingen, overgrown with plants and trees.
During the 1960s, the Kivelingssektion (The Bachelors Association of Lingen, founded in 1372), began the reconstruction of the Powder Tower, however a complete and faithful reconstruction could not be achieved. Therefore, the project limited its reconstruction to two floors built over the old, intact cellar. The Kivelingssektion (also called “The Guelph”, which means farmers) are the landlords of the Powder Tower. Since the tower’s 1960s reconstruction, the current Lingen section, which has existed since 1954, holds their meetings inside, which includes approximately 20 members.
In the pic below, you can see the Guelphs’ motto on the tower gate, which, loosely translated, says “Once a Welfe, Always a Welfe!”
On the subjecte of the title “Welfe”, here’s a fun set of factoids, courtesy of our tour manager, Arvid:
The Guelphs were named after the Royal House of Guelph-Welf of the Kingdom of Hanover. Grace Kelly, a famous American actress married the King of Monacco, and one of her daughters, Caroline, is married to the Prince of Welf, making her the Princess of Hanover. If there was still a king of Germany, Caroline’s 3rd husband, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, would be the present king. I think it’s cool that Grace Kelly’s daughter was almost a queen:)
Today, besides being used as the Guelph meeting place, the Powder is used for other events such as:
- Turmfest (every year for Pentecost)
- a site on the Lingen city tours
Next up the road is the St. Boniface Church (also called “St. Bonifatius”), which is the largest and oldest (still existing) Catholic Church in Lingen, built between 1832 and 1836. The tower was cultivated in 1905 and the “Chorapsis”, or choir annex was completed in 1910.
In the entrance of the church is the neo-classical organ loft. Originally, the organ in 1836 and built by the builder Brinkmann from Herford. It has been expanded and restored many times since then, and presently the church holds concerts which feature this well-known Fischer + Kramer organ.
Here’s the most interesting “Stations of the Cross” relief in my view…
From this angle, you can see the imposing 3 naves in the classical style, built after the model of an ancient basilica.
There is also a St. Bonifatius Hospital in Lingen, which I happened to pass and, though I didn’t see any signs on it, happened to take a picture of it just in case…
Continuing on my strolling through town.
..what’s this? Another church so close??? Baroque Lutheran Holy Cross Church, built from 1733 to 1737 and expanded in 1888 in the Romanesque Revival style, is integrated into the attractive architectural ensemble of the University Square. It is the oldest Lutheran church in the Emsland region and represents a bit of architectural rebellion, due to the fact that it’s not built in the Christian Orthodox tradition (entering a church built from west to east), but instead aligned from north to south. The church is an important meeting place for lovers of sacred music in the Emsland region. The “Lingener Cross Church concerts” are known far beyond the boundaries of the Lingen.
Also worth seeing are the Evangelical Reformed Church at Kirchstraße (pictured below). Uh huh, a third church smooshed into this relatively small downtown! Ladies, gentlemen, and reading children, my research uncovered many websites which probably talk about this church, yet NOT ONE OF THEM was in English. It’s been a rarity to not dig up English language info on one of the sites I come across, but here is one of those examples. Sorry readers…but as a substitute, here is a bit of history on the Evangelical Reformed Church of Germany:
While in many parts of Germany in the 19th century the Lutheran and Reformed churches decided to form united churches, the two confessions continued to exist side by side in the former kingdom of Hanover, when Hanover became part of Prussia. In 1882 the Reformed congregation was permitted by the king of Prussia to found an autonomous Evangelical-Reformed church in the Province of Hanover. Reformed congregations from other provinces became part of this church. Much later, in 1988, the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Bavaria also united with this church. Today this church consists of 142 congregations with over 200,000 members spread all over Germany.
So there ya go! I enjoyed the “old look” of this building from the outside…though I didn’t have time to go in, I was very happy to stop and stare for a moment. When I began my walkabout, I had no idea I would come across multiple distinguished churches, all relatively large for their surroundings…and I couldn’t see any of their towers from our venue, so it was truly a pleasant surprise!
After unknowingly circling the outskirts of the center of town, I finally entered the Lingen Marktplatz and promptly saw the Rathaus Lingen. The historic town hall is hard to miss, placed in quite the dominating position at the head of the open area of the marktplatz. Rathaus Lingen was erected in 1555 and rebuilt in 1663 on the same site. There originally used to be an open court bower where the current porch is now. You can also see the Lingen coat of arms displayed just below the belfry and clock. The bell chime in the belfry was established by the “Kivelingen”…those same fun bachelors who are landlords of the Powder Tower! I saw similar stepped gables on Meppen’s town hall, and (don’t tell Lingen!) I like Meppen’s more! These particular stepped gables on Rathaus Lingen (I prefer the term “cat stairs”) were fashioned during the building’s reconstruction in 1663. The town hall is considered the symbol of the city, and now serves representative purposes as well as hosts civil weddings.
Just beyond the Rathaus Lingen is this fountain with humorous characters created by Hanns Joachim Klug. I think my favorite one is the character sticking his tongue out towards the right…I can only imagine how the water falls out from him during the warm months! Just beyond the fountain, towards the right, you can see a potentially historical building of grey and cream brick…
and I was right to think it was especially important!… The markeplatz is dominated by gabled houses, but the one that caught my eye is right at home in this newsletter: It’s the House of Kivelinge (those crazy bachelor farmers again!), founded in 1583, and also one of the oldest houses in Lingen. Woo-hoo! Day-Ninja McSkillz scores again! (that’s me today, by the way!)
OK, back to the venue for soundcheck… Today, some of the cast is trying to replicate the strong, flexible ways of Circus Samurai Travis… First Rodney tries… Then Brandy says, “Step aside…I’ll show you how it’s done!” (That was paraphrased, just in case she challenges the quote later!)… And Brandy gets only a little further than Rodney did! Good work everyone…take 5…oh yeah, and maybe check some mics while we’re gathered here! The big news regarding this particular show was that I RAMMED my shin into the “Thriller” coffin backstage after “Beat It”…I was returning to my usual nest on the stairs backstage right, it was especially dark there, and I collided with the coffin with all the muster of a diva working her exit…lots of velocity there! It made a loud BANG that all the band members heard, yet they dismissed it quickly since no scream or further crashes followed. I was a TROOPER!!! I grinned and bore it through the rest of Act 1, then during the break, I layed down on the floor behind the set, Tech-Hero-of-the-Day Marios delivered a plastic bag of snow to my shin, and I rested my leg on the “Billie Jean” box…so the new rule is that if you ram your shin into the “Thriller” box, you get to prop your shin up on the “Billie Jean” box…it’s only fair! My shin had a huge goose egg on it immediately after impact, which almost made me cry when I first saw it (I rarely injure myself past a little cut or bruise), but I stayed strong for the sake of my show make up, and, thanks to the fresh snow and a few Ibuprofen, the swelling was gone by bedtime. I am only left with a little scab that’s healing nicely.
So thanks, Lingen, for another interesting tour story, and for a great audience as usual!
More to come..sooner or later:)
Love to you all!