Nuremberg, Germany is a city with a rich history and lots of traditions. The city is in Franconia, the northern region of Bavaria. Big brother Munich is in the south and casts a shadow that’s hard to escape. While Munich might be thought of as the Beer Capital, Nuremberg has something to offer in that respect as well: Rotbier, or Red Beer.
In so many ways Nuremberg’s Germanisches Nationalmuseum, or German National Museum, is reflective of modern Germany. It’s a blending of the old and the new. The antique and the modern. And they are blended in a way that the past is never forgotten. The present is always moving on. Moving forward.
It’s a feeling that hits you from your first moments inside the museum and you see a work of art titled “Hauptstadt.” Created in 1993-1994 by Raffael Rheinsberg, the work is a collection of street signs from the German Democratic Republic. Rheinsberg collected the signs after the fall of the wall before they disappeared. Some are in good condition, others show signs of wear or graffiti. But all are a reflection of where they were from: East Germany.
Located just along the edge of Nuremberg’s historic city center, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum houses the largest collection of “cultural history” in the German-speaking world.
After spending nearly two weeks in Munich in August — full of tourists and crowds everywhere you turned if you went downtown or visited anything remotely considered a worthy sight — I was ready to escape. Day trips to Neuschwanstein and the Königssee had merely changed the demographics of the crowds, not lessened them. Then I found myself in Nuremberg. Nürnberg, auf Deutsch, is the second largest city in Bavaria and only about a two-hour drive north of Munich. On a weekday in the summer where Mother Nature couldn’t decide if she wanted shining sun or pouring rain (she eventually decided on both; lucky us), the city was a welcome relief from München. That’s not to say there weren’t still crowds in Nuremberg. There were. But much smaller.
The smaller crowds certainly aren’t a sign of Nuremberg’s worthiness as a travel stop. The city is full of history, art, culture, architecture, and foods unique to Franconia that you won’t get in Southern Bavaria.