Kassel is extremely popular with guests from all over the world - it's only us Germans who don't really have the Hessian metropolis as a city destination on our plans. We should definitely change that - because Kassel is one of the greenest, most artistic and fairytale-like cities we have. Eight reasons to go there soon.

Kassel

The major city with 202,000 inhabitants is located about 70 kilometers northwest of the geographical center of Germany, close to the borders with Lower Saxony and Thuringia. To this day, residences and castles recall its role as the former capital of the Landgraviate of Hesse.

1

The documenta

Okay, it only takes place every five years, but it casts its shadow ahead, remains in memory and has permanently changed the image of the city of Kassel: The documenta, at home in Kassel since 1955, is considered the world's most important exhibition of contemporary art. In the past, it has repeatedly succeeded in setting standards and triggering exciting art discourses. The next one, documenta 15, is already eagerly awaited - you can experience it from June 18 to September 25, 2022, at the Fridericianum and other venues in Kassel.

But it is also not bad, if you don't visit Kassel at documenta time. Because the past exhibitions have left interesting traces - the whole of Kassel is basically an open-air art park. Just two examples: Joseph Beuys' work "7000 Eichen - Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung" (7000 Oaks - Urban Forestation instead of City Administration) is spread throughout the city and continues to shape the urban space long after documenta 7 of 1982 ended. The trees can each be recognized by a basalt stele next to them. Since 1992, "Die Fremden" (The Strangers) by Thomas Schütte has stood on top of the SinnLeffers fashion store on Friedrichsplatz - a colorful group of figures with makeshift luggage that seems somewhat lost up there. Additional tip: Also stop by the Neue Galerie. There you will find works of classical modernism and German impressionism, as well as documenta art from past decades.

2

GRIMMWELT Kassel

And if they have not died ... then they are still alive today: In the past, fairy tales were told from generation to generation, and for a long time they did not even exist in written form. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, however, who are also regarded as something like the founding fathers of German studies, collected the fairy tales of their homeland in the 19th century and finally published them as a book under the title "Kinder- und Hausmärchen. So we have them to thank for a cultural treasure that almost every child grows up with today.

The two Grimms, in turn, lived and also worked in Kassel for a long time. That is why you can get to know their ideas and the fairy tales they collected in an exciting, modern way in the GRIMMWELT Kassel, which was newly created a few years ago and has won several awards. Through multimedia and artistic means, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating life, work and influence of the brothers. One of the most valuable exhibits, by the way, are the handwritten copies of the Children's and Household Tales - which have now been included in UNESCO's World Documentary Heritage. In them, Jacob and Wilhelm made handwritten notes on blockbusters like Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel before the texts finally went to print. A bronze statue of the Grimms stands in nearby Brüder-Grimm-Platz - where visitors can linger over the museum's impressions.

3

Water march in the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

Everyone knows the Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe ICE station, who has ever had to change trains in Germany on the way from north to south. But who suspects that the best thing to do there is to first ignore all "other travel options" and lock up your luggage to walk through Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe? This has a great wealth of plants, is considered the largest mountain park in Europe and is only two kilometers away. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013 - not least because of its gigantic water features. On Wednesday and Sunday afternoons (as well as on public holidays) during the summer months, more than 750,000 liters of water artfully cascade down the mountain high above Kassel from an octagon guarded by a giant statue of Hercules, over artificial rocks, stairs and aqueducts. At the end, a 50-meter-high fountain that rises in the castle pond ensures loud ahs and ohs every time from guests from all over the world. Once a month you can watch the spectacle illuminated in the evening.

How it all began? Beginning in 1689, Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel, inspired by the dramatic topography of the site, designed the baroque Bergpark and the 250-meter-long path of water - to this day, no pumps are needed for the spectacle. Later, his grandson Wilhelm I continued building. All together, it is still a unique testimony to European Absolutism - and a never-ending summer water festival in Kassel. More sights in the Mountain Park include Wilhelmshöhe Palace with its Gallery of Old Masters, Collection of Classical Antiquities and Collection of Prints and Drawings, as well as the artificial ruin of Löwenburg Castle.

4

Street art project KolorCubes

One of the most unusual sights of Kassel awaits you in the trendy Schillerviertel district: there you can now see around 30 large-format murals by the Kassel graffiti and street art project KolorCubes - which have become a public art gallery. The Schillerviertel is also home to the KolorCubes WorkSpace, an art studio with a cultural office, where workshops are offered and tours of the Public Art Gallery start. The graffiti art can also be discovered with a free audio guide. You can get it download here on the cell phone:

5

Ahle sausage

A delicious export - known far beyond the borders of Hesse: Ahle Wurscht is an air-dried or lightly cold-smoked long-life sausage made from pork. The designation 'Ahl' stands for the word 'alt', i.e. 'old sausage', because the Kassel specialty is allowed to mature for a very long time so that it develops its full flavor. It is seasoned with salt, pepper and saltpetre, but other spices are also added, depending on the region. Maturing in high humidity ensures that the Ahle Wurscht becomes quite crumbly - its unmistakable characteristic. Tip: When strolling through the beautiful market hall in the historic Marstall, buy Ahle Wurscht at the same time. There are a total of around 70 stalls there with fine food, street food and specialties from the region.

6

Siebenbergen Island

Sounds pretty fabulous too - but is above all an interesting flower paradise: The island Siebenbergen was artificially created in 1710 in the Karlsaue state park and redesigned a good 100 years later. The then court garden director Wilhelm Hentze was in charge of the Kurhessian gardens from 1834 and created a kind of botanical garden on the small island, combining exotic plants with native flowers. Because of his particular enthusiasm for early bloomers, he transformed the island into a colorfully spotted garden every spring. Today, over 100 different plant species from all over the world grow there - but the tradition of welcoming the year with thousands of early bloomers has of course remained.

7

The bees from the roof

In Kassel, many roofs are buzzing and humming, because amateur beekeeper Victor Hernandez has been very successful for several years running a City honey apiary - with a great deal of heart and passion. His bee colonies live on rooftops in various parts of Kassel, because the city is so green that the insects find enough food. And since there is no agriculture within the city, but the variety of plants is great, Hernandez produces a very aromatic and pesticide-free blossom honey. The high quality of Kassel city honey has already won several awards. You can buy it in the small farm store of the apiary in Kassel's Nordstadt - or in the online store. Victor Hernandez also offers guided tours around the Kassel bees for those interested, which he calls "Rendezvous with the Queen".

8

Natural History Museum at the Ottoneum

Climate, Evolution, World Change - if these are not current topics: The Kassel Museum of Natural History shows how local nature in Hesse has changed over the past 400 million years. You will encounter animals, landscapes and climatic conditions then and now. The interactive presentation of regional geological and natural history with elaborately designed habitat presentations also makes the Ottoneum an exciting family museum destination. Because you will also meet mammoths, cave bears and dinos there. Special exhibitions are regularly on the program (until September 4, 2021, for example, one about animal children past and present).

Cover photo: There are many reasons to travel to Kassel - the view of the city from the Hercules is just one of them © Andreas - stock.adobe.com

In collaboration with Hesse tourism

Hiking through quiet low mountain ranges, old beech forests or orchards, paddling on the Lahn, looking at the most beautiful medieval half-timbered houses and soaking up the atmosphere of historic spas - Hessen makes romantic souls happy all around. But gourmets also get their money's worth on wine hikes, in Hessian butcher shops and with "Handkäs mit Musik", a pickled cheese. Reasons for a Vacation in Hesse there are enough!

More articles from Hesse