After spending a few hours walking around the Heimat-Tierpark or animal zoo, the group heads on up to visit the Bielefeld Farmhouse museum for something to eat and to take a look around this very old open air Farmhouse museum.
You will find the farm on the Ochsenheide hill in Bielefeld. You can drive up to the farmhouse museum but we went cross county and it was quite a climb up the hill. I think my family forgets my age, but I made it, with a few stops to catch my breath and after a few deep breaths at the top, I was ready to continue onto the entrance.
|Opening Times||Feb to Dec:|
|Tues-Fri 10.00-18.00, Sat,Sun 11.00-18.00|
|Entrance Fees||Adults 4,00 €|
|Concessions 2,00 €|
|Guided Tours||By Appointment|
About the Farmhouse Museum:
The Möllering farmhouse dates back to 1590. There is a main house and six outbuildings. including a bakehouse added in 1764, a store house (1795), a windmill (1986), a flax mill (1826), a barn (1807) which now houses the cafe, and a craftsman’s house (1568) which is now used for educational activities for children.
The museum shows how the farm operated back in time. Just like today, the farmers had to use every resource available to them to ensure that they received a livelihood from the farm.
Although the farmhouse dates back to 1590 it was actually moved from Rödinghausen to Bielefeld in 1917. This was achieved thanks to generous support from public, voluntary and private entities. It is in fact Germany’s oldest open air museum.
In 2001 the Farmhouse Museum received a special commendation from the European Museum Awards Committee.
First Stop the Barn
Once we have paid the entrance fee we head over to the cafe and start off by having Kuchen (cake) and drinks. The cafe was originally the barn but it has been updated and turned into a cafe. The food is delicious and reasonably priced and it’s not long before we are all replete. Then it’s down to the serious business of visiting each of the buildings and the gardens.
Main House Möllering
This is one of the rare examples of an original hall house, there are not many of the originals left. These type of houses were generally made from timber and this one is a half-timbered construction. A hall house generally consisted of one room. This one had living quarters added to it in around 1776. The house is furnished as it was back in 1850’s. so you can get some idea of what living in a hall house would have been like. There is a large open fireplace in the centre of the room which would have been used for cooking and heating.
The residents would have taken their meals in the main room and their diet would have been mainly porridge, pancakes and soup. At the time of harvesting food would have been stored in the basement storage cellar.
There is no chimney and the smoke from the fire would have preserved meat and protected the house from vermin.
Hof Möllering also has a weaving chamber as yarn and linen production were as important as agriculture. The cloth would have been used for both personal use and for sale. During the winter months the main room was used to spin flax.
I am really interested in seeing the construction of the buildings. The walls are held together with wooden tenons. My husband was (before he passed on), and my son is, a staircase manufacturer in Queensland, and they also make wooden tenons for securely attaching wooden handrails. Here you can see an example of the wooden tenon in use in this old building. The tenon to the side has been cut back so that it is level with the plank.
Another view of the construction methods used.
We were wandering through the upper story of the house and we passed by a man who was standing looking intently at items on the mantle. As we came back through the room he was still in the exact same position. I thought he must be a dummy and part of the fixtures. As I went to touch him, actually I was going to pinch his butt, he moved on. Of course, Varinia and I burst into giggles. She had been going to do the same thing but restrained herself. Note to self, check if the mannequin is breathing before touching.
The Children’s House
The Children’s House is used for educational purposes these days where topics such as Buttering or Lapping Pickling are covered. The house was built in 1568 and up until 1969 it was situated in Vlotho where it was known as the ‘fisherman’s house’. The residents were skippers who transported goods by boat on the Weser river. By the late 19th century they made their living by catching and selling fish.
When the last owner died the house was to be removed to make way for the construction of a road. For more than three decades the half timbered wooden house stood in the Freilichtmuseum Detmold. To make way for progress, this building, like so many buildings from antiquity, would have been lost forever. However, thanks to the support of the Bielefeld Tourist Association and the NRW foundation it was moved and rebuilt in 2007 at the Bauernhaus Museum where it is now used for educational events.
The mill was moved to the museum from Wittloge in the Minden-Lübbecke district. It was used to produce linen from flax.
The Internal Workings of the Mill
This was a horse mill, meaning that a horse or donkey was used to turn the treadmill. This mill was used for a single step in producing linen from flax. Flax stems underwent scutching (beating) so that the bast (the woody portion of the stalks) was removed from the core with the flax fibres. This operation was often done by hand but at this mill the process was done using the machinery shown below.
In 1923, bielefeld issued banknotes printed on linen.
After strolling in and out of the buildings we set off to see the gardens.
This is an ornamental garden situated behind the main building that was built as it presently appears in 1985 and it was reworked in 1997. It is based on the manner of gardens from the 18th and 19th century. In the 1900’s there was a gradual separation between land used for edible gardening and that used for ornamental gardening.
The garden supports the growing of vegetables such as onions, barley, bush beans as well as herbs and flax..
As we are looking around the garden se come across a shady little oasis. It’s just a perfect spot to stop and rest for a bit. It’s so cool as the area is shaded by the way the trees have been shaped so that the tops of the trees come together and block out the sun. Not completely though, the dappled light filters through the leaves and the area has a feeling of serenity and calm. There is a table and some seating for those who wish to sit for a bit and just be at one with nature. It’s just a lovely spot.
It looks like there is another shady oasis in the process of being put together.
We continue walking and come across a water flume, a wooden horse and firewood stack in circles.
So of course the girls have to take turns at getting the water to flow. The dogs were grateful for the drink.
Demelza couldn’t resist a ride on the wooden horse.
The wood stack.
In and around the Bielefeld Farmhouse Museum windmill:
The inner workings of the mill
And all too soon it was time to leave. So we walked back to the carpark, loaded up the vans and set off for Steinhagen.
That evening we had a delicious barbecue cooked by Sebastian, Lucia’s brother, and we sat around having a few drinks as dusk settled in. It stays light quite late so it’s 11 o’clock before we realise it. Everyone is tired, it’s been an exhausting but amazing day. And tomorrow, our Sebastian has another big day planned.