Western Pomerania is considered the place of work and source of inspiration for various early German Romantics. Caspar David Friedrich, Friedrich August von Klinkowström and Philipp Otto Runge were born here - and returned to their homeland again and again. The light, the landscape and the culture captivated them and never let go. Why? You can find out for yourself on a bike tour along the coast of the Greifwalder Bodden. We present some of the stops on the 54-kilometer Route of North German Romanticism here. And off we go on:
Anyone who studies the early Romantic period in Germany will always stumble across one name: Caspar David Friedrich, the most famous German painter of this artistic epoch. His life's work is significantly influenced by the environment in which he grew up: Western Pomerania and the city of Greifswald. It was here that the young Friedrich saw the light of day. And it is the light that fascinated him so much about his homeland during his lifetime.
Even today, the sense of romanticism that Friedrich brought to Germany can be felt in his hometown. Following the Caspar-David-Friedrich-Bildweg, interested visitors walk in his footsteps through the city and the surrounding area. We pay special attention to station six of the route, the museum harbor, where the romanticism of seafaring is still very much in evidence. Caspar David Friedrich was fascinated by the ships that gently rocked in the water here. And even today, the Greifswald harbor shows its romantic side: more than 50 traditional ships are moored in today's museum harbor - a record in Germany. When the day slowly draws to a close, it becomes especially cozy in this place. Many people gather to end the day with a chat and a glass of wine.
Get on your bike and head out to the Greifswalder Bodden, five kilometers to the east, and you'll reach the picturesque ruins of Eldena Monastery: a favorite motif of Caspar David Friedrich and station one on the North German Romanticism Route. Although the former Cistercian monastery had to experience a lot in its history and had to forfeit large parts of its buildings, one thing always remains: the romanticism of the place, which already magically attracted Caspar David Friedrich. The monastery ruins were his favorite motif, he drew them from all directions. Particularly impressive - even today - is the approximately 16-meter-high west facade, embedded in a park with old trees. Stop and admire it for a moment and you will feel the spirit of the time.
It's hard to leave the monastery ruins behind - but about ten kilometers later, the next highlight on your journey into Romanticism awaits you: Ludwigsburg Castle. And with the castle, you will also get to know another North German representative of the era, Friedrich August von Klinkowström, who was born in this place in 1778. He learned painting together with Caspar David Friedrich, and Klinkowström specialized in Christian motifs. The romantic history of Ludwigsburg Castle is owed to him.
Moreover, very inspiring must have been the visits to the nearby natural beach Ludwigsburg. Not far from the estate, Western Pomerania shows its wildly romantic side. Pine trees rustle in the fresh wind at the edge of the beach, the shallow waters of the Dänische Wiek are perfect for a short refreshment break, and the view across the Bodden to Greifswald invites you to dream.
Let's go to the next stop on the Route of North German Romanticism, which we would like to introduce to you. After pedaling 12 kilometers, you'll reach the seaside resort of Lubmin. Today a popular destination for seaside vacationers, it was once nothing more than a small village with a tranquil center. Nevertheless, Lubmin appeared, even if not by name, in one of the first views of Caspar David Friedrich.
In 1801 he traveled for the first time to Rügen and was obviously taken with the views there. His work "Blick von der Südküste Rügens" shows his view of the native Greifswalder Bodden. Remarkable are his topographical indications: At the young age of 26, he shone with his geographic knowledge and drew in Wolgast, Wusterhusen as well as the small island of Ruden - although he couldn't even see some of it from his vantage point. He did not mention Lubmin by name. Nevertheless, today's seaside resort is a symbol of his connection with the Greifswald Bodden.
Before the last stop on the Route of North German Romanticism, you still have a short distance to go: about 26 kilometers from the seaside resort is the town of Wolgast. There you will get to know the third important representative of German Romanticism: Philipp Otto Runge. The house where he was born in 1777 is now home to the Rungehaus, a museum dedicated to the work and life of the Romantic artist.
Like Klinkowström, Runge also became friends with Caspar David Friedrich. His talent was most evident in his portraits. Philipp Otto Runge passionately drew himself, his relatives or close friends. He also illustrated stories, designed playing cards, wrote fairy tales and developed the first three-dimensional color theory. His many talents can be experienced in the Rungehaus - a successful conclusion to your journey into the world of the North German Romantics.
You want to know more about the Route of North German Romanticism and its stops? Here you will find a digital travel guide that takes you on an audio tour of northern Germany's romanticism.
Cover photo: The west facade of the Eldena monastery ruins was a favorite motif of Caspar David Friedrich © TMV-Krauss
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