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Germany Celebrates the Brothers Grimm's Fairy Tales

200 Years of Cinderella, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood


Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and the Bremen Town Musicians – Germany is the home of the brothers Grimm and their beloved fairy tales, which are among the best known works of German literature and famous all over the world.
December of 2012 marked the 200th anniversary of the first edition of the Grimm’s fairy tales and folk stories, published under the title 'Children's and Household Tales'. It is only fitting that Germany celebrates the two brothers in 2013 with a year full of family-friendly exhibitions, musicals, and festivals that bring Cinderella and Pit the Piper back to life.

Here are the most colorful events where you can pay tribute to the Brothers Grimm and also visit the settings of some of their most popular fairy tales.

1. German Fairy Tale Road

The ultimate fairy tale experience is a trip down Maerchenstrasse, the German Fairy Tale Road, which connects the towns and landscapes that were the inspiration for many of Germany’s fairy tales; hike in Little Red Riding Hood's forest, visit Sababurg, the castle of Sleeping Beauty, and climb up the tower from where Rapunzel let down her hair. Almost all the towns along the Fairy Tale Road offer family-friendly activities, such as puppet shows, parades, concerts, and lovely statues of your favorite fairy tale characters. The scenic road starts in Hanau, the birthplace of the brothers and goes all the way up to Bremen, home to the Bremen Town Musicians.

2. Kassel

The heart of the 2013 Grimm festivities is in the city of Kassel, one of the largest cities in Hesse and where the two brothers spent most of their adult life. Kassel celebrates the two brothers with various events throughout the year: Organized by the federal state of Hesse, the exhibition "Expedition Grimm" in the documenta hall is promoted as the central Grimm event in 2013; offering an interactive journey into the world of Jacob and Wilhelm, the exhibition is dedicated to the brothers’ literary achievement, as well as their work as language scholars and legal historians (April 27 – September 8, 2013).
You can also pay a visit to the Brothers Grimm Museum at Palais Bellevue, which houses a permanent exhibition about the two famous brothers (all year long). In the summer months, the Brothers Grimm Festival takes place on a floating stage in one of Kassel's parks; this event features musicals, concerts and theater performances (July 18 – August 18, 2013).
Come winter time, Kassel celebrates the season with a Fairytale Christmas market; the city’s main square, Königsplatz, is decorated with fairytale characters, and princesses, dwarfs, and kings adorn many shops in Kassel’s town center(end of November to Christmas 2013).

3. Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale Festival in Hanau

Set in Hanau, the birth place of the Brothers Grimm, this summer festival is Hessen’s largest open-air event and features performances of the most popular fairy tales; staged in an amphitheater against the back drop of a palace and surrounded by royal gardens, the atmosphere couldn’t be more enchanting. Hanau is a 30-minute train ride from Frankfurt International Airport.
May 17 – July 21, 2013, Amphitheater Hanau

4. Steinau Comic Exhibition and Puppet Theater

All year round, visitors of all ages can see the former home of the Brothers Grimm in Steinau, where the brothers spent their childhood. Their timber framed home now houses an interesting museum that showcases the life, work and influence of the authors; besides a permanent exhibition, you can also check out this year’s special exhibition by German comic artist Klaus Häring, who draws modern comic versions of well know folk tales (December 16, 2012 – March 24, 2013). In September and October 2013, puppeteers from all over Germany come to Steinau to perform fairy tales for the whole family.

5. Grimm Fairytales in Pictures

The exhibition at the gallery Neue Kunsthalle in Willingshausen explores three centuries of fairytale illustrations; the show is accompanied by guided tours and a series of lectures, readings, and concerts.
January 31 - March 10, 2013, Willingshausen

6. Fairytale Week Bad Sooden-Allendorf

Starting Easter Sunday, the picturesque timber framed town of Bad Sooden-Allendorf along the German Fairy Tale Road turns into a fairytale world. Mother Hulda shakes out her bedding every day at 3pm at Södertor gate, and there are theatre performances, guided walks, parades and storytelling.
March 31 – April 7, 2013, Bad Sooden-Allendorf

7. International Puppet Theater Festival

Artists from around the world perform plays based on legends and fairytales, bringing the history of the old abbey in Morschen back to life.
May 30 – June 2, 2013, Morschen

8. Fairy Tale Museum Bad Oeynhausen

The museum of Bad Oeyenhausen presents the world of legends and folk tales and offers fascinating insights into the history of fairy tales (permanent exhibition, all year round, Wednesdays to Sundays).
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