Germany is famous for many things — from castles, cars, music down to sausages, bread, and beer. Name it. They have an interesting culture and they excel at a variety of things. One of them is handmade woodcrafts.
Spielzeugdorf or Germany’s toy village is located in the town of Seiffen in Erzgebirge. It is a cradle of wooden toy carving. The town is full of these small to big, colorful toys and decorations displayed inside and outside the stores. You can even see artisans expertly and passionately create woodcraft toys before your eyes.
You can stroll and admire these bright-colored woodcrafts while in the town and buy one as a souvenir. Or if you’re up for a challenge, you can make your own wooden toy and paint it.
Seiffen: A Home of Christmas
Seiffen is not only known for its handcrafted wooden toys but also for Christmas decorations. In fact, it is the source of many of Germany’s traditional wooden toys and ornaments, which are famous for collectors around the world.
Germans even call the town the “home of Christmas” because of its devotion to holiday decors. There you can see different setups of pretty Christmas arches and spinning pyramids and displays of brightly painted Christmas decors such as thimble-size angels to human-size nutcrackers, smoking men, and many more. Truly an artisanal Christmas experience!
These Christmas decorations reflect the story of Erzgebirge. Craftspeople create holiday ornaments that resemble their mining history. For example, the candle arch symbolizes a mine’s entrance while the Christmas pyramid resembles the mineworker’s constant desire for light. The craftspeople impart the spirit of Christmas through their ornaments.
Ore Mountain Toy Museum and Open Air Museum
One of the most famous attractions in Seiffen is the Toy Museum, locally known as Erzgebirgisches Spielzeugmuseum Seiffen. As the name implies, it exhibits a huge and wonderful collection of toys and ornaments that tells the unique story of the area’s history and its craft traditions.
Honestly speaking though, kids might not ‘that’ enjoy it but a huge fan of wooden toys and Christmas decors would definitely find the place captivating. Well, if you are neither a kid nor a huge fan, you might still wanna try to visit the place. Who knows, maybe the gorgeous exhibit of wooden crafts and ornaments could change your mind.
Freilichtmuseum or Open Air Museum is also a must-see in Seiffen. The museum exhibits 14 18th- and 19th-century buildings that demonstrate the history of Erzgebirge — a miner’s home, toymaker’s home, and water-powered wood-turning workshop. It’s literally a trip to traditional Erzgebirge village!
The wood-crafted toys and ornaments of Seiffen are truly magnificent. The wooden crafts and figurines are displayed everywhere – from houses, shops to restaurants and hotels. But the history alone of how Seiffen and Erzgebirge became the Toy Village is already fascinating and worth knowing.
Statistically, this German village has over a hundred dedicated producers of the woodwork. They are highly-trained craftspeople who pass on their centuries-old techniques in wooden toys and decors from generation to generation.