Each year, more than 40,000 people from across the world flock to Leinfelden-Echterdingen in October. On the third weekend of the month, the city hosts the largest event in German cabbage. Yes, cabbage!
The Filder Cabbage Festival may sound like a joke, but it is a serious(ly) fun event that’s been happening for more than 30 years.
Agriculture is a big part of the community in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. The town is actually a collection of four smaller villages than decided proximity and finance warranted a combination in 1975. Each within sight of the other just south of Stuttgart, they share more than 800 years of history between them.
Weekly farmers markets are held year round. If you are a fan of slow food, then the short journey from market to table here is going to have you in heaven. The many varieties of cabbage and herbs grown here make for flavorful dishes. Filder cabbage sauerkraut is a local delicacy, along with Deie, a thin baked pastry with herbs.
Sitting around eating all the local goodies may have given birth to another local feature: the card museum. Leinfelden-Echterdingen is home to the world’s largest collection of playing cards. The museum currently has more than 15,000 decks, including rare sets of Asian and East Indian cards. The International Playing Card Society marks it as landmark, and games are hosted along with the exhibits.
Part of the collection is missing, although you probably won’t notice. However, the locals are still fuming! During WWII, the Russians made off with some 6,000 decks after occupying the town. Classified as “loot art” it has never been returned. Locals still campaign for the return of the collection, but suspect that the decks are long gone.
You can also see other buildings from the war near the airport. Slave laborer gangs made of both Jews and local dissents were forced to erect air bases for the troops. Memorials mark mass graves. A hanger building known as the “Eskimo Hut” constructed by the slaves still stands and is open for tours.