The community of Willingshausen was created in 1974 by the second Hessian regional reform through a decision of the state government from the independent communities of Antrefftal, Leimbach, Loshausen, Ransbach, Steina and Wasenberg.

Willingshausen is situated in the south of the cultural area of Schwalm, a region with its own dialect called “Schwälmer Platt”, a colourful traditional costume, and natives of Schwalm with their typical traits. The region with its rewarding motifs has attracted over 300 artists to Willingshausen and Schwalm in almost 200 years.

Willingshausen for friends of fairy tales

Unfortunately, the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, one of the most famous of the brothers Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm, does not originate from Schwalm, as is often assumed, but is of French origin. The famous story can already be found in the fairy tale collection of Charles Perrault (1628-1703). Through the connection between the Grimm and von Schwertzell families (Wilhelm Grimm's friendship with the von Schwertzell family goes back to Fritz von Schwertzell, who attended the Fridericianum in Kassel with Wilhelm and later also studied in Marburg) and the resulting visits to Willingshausen, and through their brother Ludwig Emil Grimm, the Grimm brothers knew the Schwalm costume. It is a wonderful match with the Little Red Riding Hood story of the Brothers Grimm, because girls in traditional costume from Schwalm resemble the Little Red Riding Hood figure with their red caps. So it is not surprising that the people of Schwalm are firmly convinced that they live in the homeland of Little Red Riding Hood, in Red Riding Hood Country.

Wilhelmine von Schwertzell, Fritz's sister, also collected fairy tales and had a lively correspondence with Wilhelm Grimm (75 letters have been preserved).

The recently published Schwälmer Sagenborn features about 50 fairy tales and legends that supposedly took place in the Willingshausen districts, about 140 of them in Schwalm.

A further connection to Grimm's fairy tales can be found in illustrations of many Grimm books by Otto Ubblohde. The outstanding graphic artist was often a guest of Prof. Wilhelm Thielmann in Willingshausen

Willingshausen for holiday tourists and day visitors

Just looking at the district of Willingshausen is not enough, even though the district is known in the art world throughout Europe and beyond under its original name. Carl Bantzer and many others have made Willingshausen famous as a special as an artist’s colony for painters. The "Artists' Scholarship" established in 1996 takes up this tradition. A continuation in European dimensions has been taking place since 2019 through the "Willingshausen Painters' Symposium". The results of these activities are shown in exhibitions and in the Malerstübchen.

Gungelshausen has "Giselle Tszara"; Leimbach has the Fleckenbühler; Loshausen Nester of Meister Adebar and music festivals; Merzhausen has the cultural nature trail with the Wippersteinen and Jewish history; Ransbach a modern biogas plant; Steina the Melanchthon school; Wasenberg a magnificent church and a modern local heating network; Zella boasts a dialect theater and the traditional "Brühtrogrennen" race.

Many districts have websites that are easy to find via search engines or by using www.willingshausen.de.



Events & Guided Tours

A special note for guests who do not speak German:
Some of the guided tours and audiences offers or events presented here are currently only available in German,
some are offered regularly, others on demand in different languages.
In many cases, fairytale magic and fabulous seductions do not need spoken language to be properly experienced.
Let yourself be surprised or inquire directly at the address given in each case.
And please understand that for technical reasons some descriptions are shown here only in German. Thank you very much!

Historical Tidbits

Willingshausen is first mentioned in documents in 1106 as Willichashuson.

Willingshausen owes its foundation as the oldest painters' colony in Europe (according to recent research already in 1824) to Gerhardt von Reutern (1794-1865) and Ludwig Emil Grimm.


Contact on site

Tourist Information Willingshausen
Merzhäuser Straße 1
34628 Willingshausen

Tel.: +49 6697 1418
E-Mail: info@willingshausen-touristik.de
Webseite: www.malerkolonie.de

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