Biographical milestones of the Brothers Grimm
Hanau, Steinau an the Strasse, Marburg and Kassel as well as Göttingen and Berlin are the six towns in which Jacob (1785 – 1863) und Wilhelm (1786 – 1859) Grimm lived, learned, and carried out their work. They and their "Painter Brother" Ludwig Emil also left their marks in numerous other towns and rural communities in the state of Hesse. The German Fairy Tale Route invites you to follow them.
"No less lively in my thoughts are how we two, Jacob and I, went hand in hand over the market of Neustadt (…) and in childish enjoyment remained standing in order to watch the golden cock on the tip of the tower turning back and forth in the wind."
On exactly this market place, the National Monument of the Brothers Grimm was dedicated in 1896; since 1975 it is also starting the point of the German Fairy Tale Route.
Since 2006, Hanau officially bears the title of the Brothers Grimm City – Jacob and Wilhelm as well as Ludwig Emil Grimm beheld the first light of day here. The city has honoured their famous sons with a commemorative plaque and historical town guided tours, the annual Brothers Grimm Festival, and continuous new projects and events.
According to their own words, in Steinau the Grimms experienced "a pleasant childhood, with impressions unforgettable all our lives". So wrote Jacob Grimm: "My most lively inspirations and stimulations resided in my native land. There is where I passed the freshest and happiest part of my life ". Steinau, the much praised home town of the brothers, has kept its appearance, so it still would be familiar to the Grimms even today.
In 1791, the family of the district magistrate Grimm moved to Steinau and into the magistrate's house, more than 200 year old. As "Brothers Grimm House", today it invites you to rediscover the imprint of their life and activity, as well as to delve into the Grimm's fairy tales. Another exhibition on the famous brothers is shown in the castle, a few meters away.
"Studied in Marburg." (Hermann Grimm)
In letters, the Grimms rhapsodize about the "castle on the mountain" that was "gilded by the setting sun ". About the town itself, Jacob wrote: "I believe that there are more stairs in the streets than in the houses." In their years of study between 1802 and 1806, they frequently climbed the steps from their dwelling house in the Barfüsserstrasse 35 to their professor in the Ritterstrasse.
Marburg remembers the Brothers Grimm with guided tours to scenes from Otto Ubbelohde's Grimms fairytale illustrations, the "Grimm-Dich-path", as well as a changing programme of exhibitions.
"In Kassel they found employment as librarians at the Hessian State Library..." (Hermann Grimm)
Between 1798 and 1841, the Brothers Grimm spent more than thirty years in Kassel. Here they worked as librarians, and collected, documented and revised about 200 fairy tales and even more legends.
The personal copies of the Tales of Children and the Home are registered as UNESCO World Document Heritage and can be admired in the GRIMMWELT exhibition house. The capital city of the German Fairy Tale Route has much to offer, for instance the guided tour "In the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm", the Brothers Grimm Festival with a fairytale musical and the Fairytale Christmas Fair, which is dedicated to a different Grimm fairy tale every year.
In the middle of Germany, round about Kassel, lies the GrimmHeimat NordHessen (Grimm native land North Hesse).
During their long and fertile work period in Kassel, Jacob, Wilhelm and also Ludwig Emil Grimm travelled with pleasure through today's Northern Hesse. Many diary entries and letters show how much they were tied to their native land and how glad they were to live there.
This is no wonder, since the towns and landscapes in Northern Hesse appear to be intimately connected with the Grimm fairy tales – from the Snow White village to the Mother Hulda pond and Rapunzel's Tower up to Little Red Riding Hood Country.
As librarians, professors, and two of the famous ‘Göttingen Seven’, Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm made a permanent contribution to the profile of Göttingen as the ‘Town of Scholars’.
This can be sensed in the time-honoured Georg-August-University and specifically learned on thematic town guided tours.
"Then the last decades in Berlin." (Hermann Grimm)
After a three-year intermezzo in Kassel in exile and without an appointment, in 1840 the brothers were sent to Berlin by the new Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm to be members of the "Academy of Sciences" with a special salary.
There you can visit their graves at the old St. Matthäus Churchyard.