Rapunzels Children - The making of democracy in Germany

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The Grimms originally produced a scholarly work to preserve the folk tales of the German people with a decidedly philological bent.

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Despite its title, the book was not intended for children to access independently. Unsurprisingly, neither it, nor the second volume released in , was a bestseller. But, as the brothers kept revising, re-editing and toning down the tales in subsequent editions, their fairy tales made them literary superstars — the J. Rowlings of the Romantic age — culminating in the famous, decidedly child-friendly 7th edition in For more than years, stories such as Cinderella and Snow White have delighted and enthralled children and adults alike. Zipes has now made major steps to revive the original tales recorded by the Brothers Grimm before they felt the pressure to sanitise and prettify their once gritty tales of wounded children, violent heroes and sensual heroines.

For that matter, are fairy tales in any shape or form suitable for modern kids? Such questions have dominated debates on pedagogies and parenting for decades. With the rise of second wave feminism in the s, some women argued for the replacement of fairy tales with stories depicting emancipated heroines rather than victimised and passive ones. Likewise, educators and parents have flinched at the violence in some tales and have banished those dealing with incest, abandonment and starvation.

But others are against the censorship of fairy tales.

Brothers Grimm

While the tales were originally meant for adults, children would have also heard them from time-to-time — either intentionally, by accident or through adult indifference. In view of this reality, the pro-fairy tale contingent sometimes argues that what was acceptable for kids hundreds of years ago, should be acceptable today. More extreme and controversial advocates of fairy tales include the now infamous Bruno Bettelheim. A therapist who treated children using unconventional and allegedly dangerous methods, Bettelheim was a proponent of the benefits of using fairy tales in his therapy sessions.

While his well-known, Freudian-inspired work, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales is quirky, it does put forward some interesting ideas on the use of such narratives in workshopping fears in safe, symbolic ways as well as opening up dialogues on mechanisms to overcome adult oppression and abuse. But Bettelheim, it seems, did more harm than good and his legacy is tainted by allegations of abuse.

But surely the fault should not be placed at the feet of poor old Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.


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I suggest a cautious middle-road. Then, perhaps some of the more hair-raising tales could be shared with kids — but under the tutelage of sensible adults. Drive the less than 1km across town to pick up the L, which winds through picturesque hills and fields for 17km to the township of Alfeld.

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Your next stop, Fagus Werk, is clearly signposted. Designed and built by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius in , the Fagus Werk has been producing shoe lasts — the basic moulds around which shoes are made — for over a century. It's regarded as the first building in the world to conform to the modern architechtural style and is the last Bauhaus stop on your pilgrimage.

Given Unesco World Heritage status in , sections of the building have been turned into a gallery which focuses on Gropius' life, the Bauhaus movement, the history of the Fagus company and footwear in general. Guided factory tours are recommended. The B3 runs north for 45km where it merges with the B6 and proceeds for 5km into the heart of Hanover.

Capital of the state of Lower Saxony, Hanover boasts a wealth of cultural attractions, pretty parks and plenty of top-notch nosh. Few realise that from , monarchs from the house of Hanover also ruled the entire British Empire, for over a century. In a cruel irony, extensive Allied bombing in wiped out much of Hanover's rich architectural and cultural heritage. But there are a few highlights to round out your trip. The Neues Rathaus , completed in , features a curved elevator — the only one of its kind in the world — that travels 98m to four observation platforms offering panoramic views.

While for something completely different architecturally, the Sprengel Museum houses one of Germany's finest art collections.

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Beautiful old towns mix with pastoral landscapes on this drive through the heart of one of Germany's oldest provinces. You can almost see the knights riding in the mists. During the 15th century the dukes of Mecklenburg—Western Pomerania built palaces across the lake-strewn plains of Germany's north so they could luxuriate in their wealth. Get a taste of their coddled lives while you also taste the hearty fare of the north at the many excellent restaurants and cafes. The medieval Rathaus on the Markt has a spectacular baroque facade, added in and decorated with coats of arms and three tiers of statues.

The top row represents from left to right Strength, Trade, Peace the one with the staff , Justice and Moderation. The cobbled, slightly wobbly street and square Am Sande is full of red-brick buildings with typically Hanseatic stepped gables. Take the B5 north and east 89km to Ludwigslust at 20km watch for the crossing of the historic Elbe River, which flows towards Hamburg. Such was the allure of the grand palace, Schloss Ludwigslust , that when the ducal seat moved 36km north to Schwerin in , some family members continued living here until Now part of the Schwerin State Museum, its high point is the stately, gilt-columned, high-ceilinged Golden Hall.

After lavish renovations, the East Wing was set to reopen in A planned baroque town, Ludwigslust showcases a neat, orderly layout that is an attraction in itself. Go straight north for 38km on the B As you near Schwerin, you'll start to see some of the lakes that make the district famous, like the Ostorfer See, the Fauler See and Schweriner See.

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Picturesquely sited around seven lakes or possibly more depending on how you tally them , Schwerin is the unofficial capital of the lakes district. It's an appealing mishmash of architectural styles and is crowned by a gleaming golden dome. Crossing the causeway south from the palace-surrounding Burggarten brings you to the baroque Schlossgarten Palace Garden , intersected by several canals. Schwerin has an upbeat, vibrant energy on its restored streets that befits its role as the capital of Mecklenburg—Western Pomerania.

Cafes, interesting shops and flashes of its regal past make wandering the Altstadt a delight. Schwerin's central lake, the Pfaffentiech , was created by a dam in the 12th century. Through the centuries it was surrounded by some of the city's most elegant buildings. At the southwest corner, the vividly orange Arsenal dates from You can cross the waters on a small ferry.

Drive directly east for 63km on the B As you go, the land becomes increasingly moist, with rivers and tiny lakes appearing in profusion. This charming town is over years old and is a great place to explore on foot. You can view his deeply felt, humanist works in the Gertrudenkapelle and at the Atelierhaus. At Krakow-am-See and its large lake turn southeast for 14km on the L, then continue east for another 14km on the Kastanienallee to the B, which you take southeast to Waren.

You can stroll streets lined with half-timbered buildings, poke in and out of churches and best of all, relax at a waterfront cafe while you watch small sailboats darting past. Large-scale renovation schemes have restored much of the 16th-century feel to the town. Drive for 32km following the signs for Neustrelitz via Kratzeburg. Then turn south for 10km on the B Boardwalks and other features let you get close to nature. The country roads between Waren and Neustrelitz cut through the heart of the park and offer plenty of places to stop and admire the Unesco-recognised beech forests.

Situated on the Zierker See within the national park, the pretty, planned baroque town of Neustrelitz centres on its circular Markt , from which streets radiate like the spokes of a wheel.

Brothers Grimm

The national park office is a good stop as it has a lot of information on the lakes, forests and park in English. Fish plucked fresh from the lake is the highlight at simple restaurants along the shore, near the centre. For more than half your 31km drive on the B96 to Neubrandenburg, you'll be passing by a beautiful lake, the Tollensesee.

A largely intact medieval wall , with those gates, encircles the city, which was founded in Made of stone, the wall is 2. Wedged into the stone circumference are the 27 sweet half-timbered houses that remain of the original sentry posts. Most of the surviving homes are now craft shops, galleries and cafes.

Fertile fields keep the view from your car green as you go 65km straight north on the L35 to Greifswald. The old university town of Greifswald, south of Stralsund, was largely unscathed by WWII thanks to a courageous German colonel who surrendered to Soviet troops a move usually punishable by execution. This former Hanseatic city is small and easy to explore on foot. Trade the fresh water encountered on this drive for the salt variety with a visit to Greifswald's pretty harbour in the charming district of Wieck , reached by a Dutch-style wooden drawbridge; its medieval city walls have been turned into a wide, tree-shaded promenade.

More paths follow the pretty and sinuous waterfront. On this unforgettable journey through the state of Saxony you'll see castles and fortresses, one of Germany's great rivers, impossibly shaped sandstone mountains, and several magical baroque cities and palaces along the way.

These extraordinary landscapes then give way to magnificent Dresden, the erstwhile 'Florence of the North', and then to charming cool kid Leipzig, one-time home to Bach and Wagner but now touted as the 'New Berlin'. This border town half of which, on the other side of the Neisse River, became Polish territory after WWII , is an utter beauty and easily one of Saxony's most charming cities. The Reichenbacher Turm and the interesting Barockhaus are the two most obvious sights, but most visitors simply enjoy strolling around. Quirky Bautzen has an attractive cobblestone old town surrounding a fairy-tale castle and attracts visitors for three main, rather diverse reasons.

It's home to the Sorbian people, an ethnic minority within Germany that has its own Slavic language and very distinct cultural identity that can be best explored at the Sorbisches Museum. It's also where you'll find Germany's most famous brand of mustard and on top of numerous mustard shops, there's also an all-mustard restaurant to try! Saxony may only have one national park, but Saxon Switzerland is a real stunner. There is an enormous number of hiking and climbing opportunities here, including some peaks to climb and sq km of hiking routes.

The entire place is simply stunning, with ethereal sandstone formations that look quite unlike anything else in Europe. It's best to park outside the park itself and then take public transport into it, in particular the solar-powered Kirnitzschtalbahn , which runs from Bad Schandau to Beutehnfall along the Kirnitzsch River. From the national park, take the B from Schmilka to Bad Schandau, a gorgeous 8km drive that runs along the banks of the Elbe with mountains visible on both sides. The charming 'capital' of Saxon Switzerland, this friendly little town is a good place to bed down for the night after a day of walking in the national park.

There's a wonderful earlyth-century lift, the Personenaufzug , which takes you to the town's highest point for some breathtaking views. Hikers should not miss the glorious hike to the Schrammsteinaussicht , a moderate-to-strenuous trail that leads to a fantastic viewpoint of the rocks, the Elbe Valley and national park beyond. The first 20 minutes up the steep Obrigensteig are tough but then the trail levels out and leads through fabulous rock formations.


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The final 'ascent' is straight up the rocks via a one-way network of steel stairs and ladders.