Archive for the ‘Meppen’ Category

Have a Day off in Meppen

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Meppen, Germany is one of our day-off towns, where we stayed in a local hotel for about 24 hours, then drove to our next show venue. Meppen has approximately 35,400 inhabitants and is situated at the intersection of the Hase and Ems Rivers. The district town of the administrative district “Emsland”, Meppen stems from the word Mappe, meaning “delta“. Formerly a fortified town, Meppen boasts 12 centuries of history. The first documented mention of Meppen is in 834, in a deed of donation by Frankish emperor Louis the Pious, transferring a missionary establishment of that name to the abbey of Corvey. Here’s a brief walk through some of Meppen’s historical highlights:

945 — Emperor Otto the Great grants the town the rights to mint coins and to collect tolls, followed in 946 by market rights.

1252 — Meppen becomes part of the Niederstift Münster.

1360 — Meppen is granted the right to build city fortifications by Bishop Adolf of Münster, and thereby, town rights. Over the next three centuries until 1660, Meppen is built up as a fortified town.

1762 — At the end of the Seven Years’ War, the fortifications are demolished. However, some walls remain standing today.

1803 — Meppen becomes the capital of the dukedom of Arenberg.

1811 — Meppen is incorporated into the First French Empire as a cantonal seat.

1813 — 1814 — Occupation by Prussia.

1866 — Hanover becomes a province of Prussia.

1946 — The state of Prussia is abolished after the Second World War. Meppen becomes part of the newly created Land of Lower Saxony.

The Poker Hotel in Meppen would have been more satisfying for me if A) I wasn’t so sore and cranky this particular morning, B) my TV worked, C) free Internet was available, and D) the walk to my room wasn’t OUTSIDE of the main building…

…around to the left and all the way back behind the main building…

to the left AWAY from the main building…

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…up a random driveway…

and even…yes…UPSTAIRS in this cottage-style building.

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Now, like I said, I was sore and cranky, and also must trek through the snow, dragging 2 suitcases, my backpack, and my pillow all that way PLUS up a narrow set of stairs. Oh, did I mention my hip still hurt? Man, this was not my morning. I was not a happy Jenn…so I slept until dinner time…Not JUST because I was in a bad mood, not JUST because I was in pain, not JUST because I had no free Internet, but ALSO because I had no TV to distract me from my poor physical status and no Internet! I know, complaints galore…well if I was on my honeymoon, the room would have been FABULOUS! I mean, the bathroom was huge and well stocked with towels, and the temperature of the room was good…how ’bout that for a positive attitude? :) I just can’t yet get over the odds that the injured and arthritic females of the tour end up in the most difficult room to reach. However, since we weren’t the only ones with issues (the “old men” of the tour had to lug their luggage up at least 3 floors), I guess I WILL let this go…soon:)

So around 4, I finally got up, did my hair and makeup, and joined LaTosha for dinner at 6 in the hotel restaurant. Tej’ai and Travis joined us and it was a nice evening away from the Honeymoon Suite. I returned to my room to watch “National Treasure” and, since there was nothing else to do, even went through all the DVD’s special features, decoding hieroglyphics and everything! Yeah, Meppen was rockin’ for me!

The next morning I felt much better, and set out 2 hours before our bus departure, to walkabout Meppen. Across the street from our hotel is the Gustav-Adolf-Kirche, which has been Meppen’s evangelical church for over 150 years.

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Construction was from 1856-1858, and temporary renovations began 100 years later, due to WWII damage. After the most recent reconstruction of the church was finished in 1966, only the tower remained from the original design.

Up the street is the “Hase Lifting Bridge” which leads to the center of town…

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Present-day Meppen represents a commercial, administrative and industrial center, situated on a landscape that is crisscrossed by large and small streams, and, therefore, many bridges. This lift bridge, or drawbridge, is an important link between the inner-west of the Evangelical Church and the Old City which includes the town’s train station, post office, schools, and many residential areas. Since the Middle Ages, there has been a point of access to the fortified Meppen where today’s lift bridge is. In the beginning, it was a wooden bridge with a moveable flap, thanks to the needs of the military. Later, the flap was used primarily as a passage for vessels during the periods of higher water levels. This bridge was no longer needed after the completion of the Dortmund-Ems Kanal (DEK) in 1899. A high-altitude pedestrian bridge was added to the structure in 1905, but that bridge quickly became insufficient for Meppen’s needs by the 1920s. In 1930/31 the predecessor to the Hase Lifting Bridge was constructed, called the “Brückengradiente”. The present bridge only finished it’s last technical installments a few years ago, which includes pedestrian windows at each end so that people can “view the technology”. The present bridge has preserved a piece of the “Brückengradiente” at the site, since it had been deemed a historical landmark due to the technological advances of its time. I guess it wasn’t historically landmarkish enough, though, to survive the modern Meppen world, since it was replaced, despite it’s status, with the Hase bridge!

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Walking past the bridge, I turned left instead of going straight into the center of town. I decided to follow a pleasant wintry path along the Hase River…

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Just up ahead on the path was another bridge overlooking a windmill! I think this is the first one I’ve seen here!

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Here’s a close-up…

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Meppen’s slogan is: “green city – City on the Water”…I have heard that Germany is absolutely breathtaking in all it’s greenness, so if Meppen actually calls itself “green city”, I would love to see what sights like this romantic, tree-lined path would look like in the spring!…

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The tree-lined path veers right, over another charming bridge, which will take me back to town…DSC03157.jpg

This bridge is sheltering ducks this morning…I will never get how they can be so happy in such chilling water!!!

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Reentering civilization, the first sight is this beautiful, late-Romanesque church, “Katholische Propsteikirche St. Vitus”…

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This impressive Propsteikirche is unusually large for the time period it was built, as well as the area. The church as been associated with the title, “Provost”, which refers to old age, the size, and the importance of the parish, and the Catholic Parish of St. Vitus appropriately lives up to this title as a substantial landmark in historical Old Town.

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Originally on this site was on a mission belonging to the peasantry of Mepen. The citizens and the residents of the Meppen parish church erected their own wooden church, which also served as a resting and supply space for mission trips to Friesland. “Katholische Propsteikirche St. Vitus” is said to be one of the oldest places of worship of the Emsland district. It was consecrated over 1,000 years ago in “Bocia” by Bishop of Osnabruck Dodo. Approxiamately 69.7% of Meppen’s population is Roman Catholic.

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The foundation of St. Vitus Church goes back to the St. Ludger (742-809), who was a missionary among the Frisians and Saxons, founder of Werden Abbey and first Bishop of Münster in Westphalia. It was said of him that his peaceful methods were far more effective in promoting Christianity than the aggressive tactics of Charlemagne. He was criticized during his life for spending money on alms that should have gone towards the ornamentation of his churches, but was able to convince Charlemagne that this was no fault.

Here’s the organ loft shot…massive and stately as usual in these churches…

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And here is the “Stations of the Cross” relief that stood out to me most…

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Here is a mural named, “Taufort”, painted by Eberhard Muench for the new Baptismal font of the church…

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Circling back towards more of the old town center, I come upon the Old Town Rathaus…

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The foundation walls of the town hall, built from mere boulders, originate from the year 1408. The building had been enlarged and changed into the renaissance-style between 1601 and 1605, not only expanding to two floors, but also adding pillars to increase the surface area of the facade. The building has now been turned into a cafe and a pharmacy.

A neighboring building is the colorful and fairly large ‘Gymnasialkirche”, one of the few baroque buildings in North Germany, constructed from 1743 – 1746.

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The Windthorst Gymnasium, which is a school and church, has made a name for itself as a “jewel of Baroque church architecture and art”. The school was founded in 1642 by Jesuits and is the oldest high school even beyond Emsland. In 1982, the school was named after Ludwig Windthorst, a German politician who fought against the secularization of schools his whole life.

Here is the statue that stands on the front lawn…

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Also in the historical district of Meppen is the Stadtmuseum, or “City Museum”, housed in the former” Arenberger Rentei. The classical style building was built in 1805 by renowned architect, August Reinking, for Meppener Kaufmann Ferdinand Frye. In 1835, the house was purchased and served as the administration building and residence of the Rentmeister. Presently the museum of Meppen’s past, its exhibitions mainly focus on settlement history, medieval history, and Meppen’s cultural history from the 17th to the 20th century.

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And that’s about it for this historical area. The town center is pretty small and quaint, yet there was still room to put an H&M clothing store in the middle of everything! I had allowed myself two hours to walkabout before having to be on the bus, and I actually had plenty of time to shop before heading back over the bridge and up the street to the Poker Hotel and, yes, faaaaaaaaaaaaaar behind the hotel to my Honeymoon Suite! Next stop, load the luggage on the bus and drive off to Lingen, Germany for the next show.

The Lingen newsletter is coming up soon, I promise!!! Until next time, stay safe, God bless you, and may your Internet cafes be even more comfy than our tour bus:)

~Jenn