Mutter und Kind (Wallaby/Donkey and Wild Boar, Goat) by Thomas Grünfeld
Stuttgart is something of a hybrid. Though the name derives from Stud Farm (founded in the year 950) it became the seat of the Württemberg family in 1311. Napoleon then made Württemberg a kingdom in 1805 and Stuttgart became its capital. Then Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz converged and in 1902 the Mercedes was born. 30 years later Ferdinand Porsche started making racing cars, though this was interrupted by Hitler's insistence that he made Volkswagen.....
So there are two big, sleek motoring museums here. But there is also The Schweinenmuseum, which is all about Kunst, Kultur und Kitsch, founded by Erika Wilhelmer in the 1980s after she received a model pig for her birthday....
Oh, and Friedrich Schiller studied here.....
Das Leben ist Nur ein Moment, der Tod ist auch nur einer!
(Life is but a moment. Death is but a moment, too.)
But I am not here for any of these.....
I am here for the beer!
Though first, to work up a thirst, a little art.......
The Staatsgalerie contains a fine collection of seven centuries of European art:
Though sometimes the attention wanders:
Here, for example, is Max Beckmann's Self-portrait with red scarf (1917)
And here is a detail from his Resurrection (1916):
And here is Otto Dix's The Match Seller (1920):
While over in the ultra modern Kunstmuseum:
And some that are quite alarming:
While there is line dancing in the Schlossplatz:
And in the renovated Stiftskirche there is the dance of the Württemberg dukes:
Yes, there's art:
And there's life:
But perhaps it's at its raucous best at the Wasen in Bad Cannstaat, where the 176th Cannstatter Volksfest (aka the Stuttgart Beer Festival) attracted 4.3 million visitors over its 17 days this year. Here it's all lederhosen and dirndls, wursts and steins and beers from Stuttgarter Hofbräu, Dinkelacker, Schwaben Bräu and Fürstenberg.....
There's music and dancing:
Eating and drinking:
And one of the biggest funfairs in Europe:
(If you can call it fun - best to do this before you have five litres of special brew!)
Let's have another beer.....
And leave it at that......
I must admit, I didn't know quite what to expect, and, not having quite run in my lederhosen, I felt almost out of place to start with.... But the atmosphere was wonderful: despite the quantities of beer, there was no obvious drunkenness, no arguments, no violence. Everyone, even in the long queues for the loos, was having a good time, and, when my leather shorts have softened up, I look forward to returning.....
The 177th Cannstatt Folk Festival will take place from 27 September to 13 October 2024. It is the second biggest beer festival in Europe, but is less well known and less touristy than the Munich Oktoberfest (which starts a week earlier). Admission to the Festival is free of charge at all times, but entry to the various tents will be refused once capacity has been reached, so making a reservation in the tent of your choice guarantees you entry.
See you there!