Rotenburg (Wümme) was a castle town founded in 1195, but savage invasions during the Napoleonic Wars destroyed the old fortifications. What you can see here today are more recent structures reflecting a more peaceful era, each one enchanting in its own way.
Following the town’s tour map, you will begin at the Town Hall, where statues commemorate the old horse market. Walk through the pedestrian zone to see a number of lovely half-timbered houses dating back to the 18th century.
The Old Apothecary was built in 1835, a beautiful example of architecture of that time. Then turn down Goethe Street to see the town’s first church with its towering spire, originally constructed in 1638.
Two museums will attract your interest as you continue your tour. The one called “Mother’s House” is housed in what once was a 19th-century hospital, while the Heritage Museum is located on the old castle grounds, offering glimpses into Rotenburg’s history.
For art, you will appreciate the open-air sculpture garden near the train station, as well as the beautifully crafted fountain at Neuer Markt (new market). Look, too, for the three-generations bronze work, “Grandmother, Mother and Child,” upon a bench on the cobbled way.
One other stop you will want to make is the medieval Water Mill on the outskirts of town. It has been operational since 1664 and was briefly used for making ice. Ask the locals about how it was cursed, once used by a witch for making potions!
Whether hexed or not, water has always been the life’s blood of Rotenburg. The Wümme River has provided transportation and commerce since the old days. It is also a source of recreation, not only for boating, but also for cycling and hiking along its banks.
Additionally, the local aquifer provides the pure water used for making the town’s signature beverage — potato schnapps! Why not purchase a little bottle or two at the local tourist office as a souvenir of your visit?