Weil am Rhein is Germany’s most southwesterly location, sharing borders with France and Switzerland.
From the mountains in the Ötlingen, you can look down onto where the Rhine flows into Basel Bay. It’s a stunning view, framed by the Swiss Jura and Vosges. Take a good long look — as beautiful as the scenery is in this corner of the Black Forest, what you really want to look at is inside.
Weil am Rhein is home to a number of museums dedicated to interior design and furniture. The preeminent furniture museum in town is the Vitra Design Museum, which is privately owned by the Vitra Corporation. The interior houses one of the world’s largest collections of 19th and 20th century furniture designs. Some of the designers featured include Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, Alvar Aalto, Verner Panton, Dieter Rams, Richard Hutten and Michael Thonet.
Even the museum itself is remarkable — it was Frank Gehry’s first buildings in Europe. Mirroring the curving mountains of Weil am Rhein, it is plaster and titanium alloy and is unique because usually Gehry mixed more materials in his work. The museum is open year round and has a sculpture garden out front.
Back in town, the museum trend continues. The museum at Lindenplatz covers town history. Weil am Rhein was founded by Romans and used to go by the name Willa, and also served as a refugee way-station in WWII. The varied history makes for many interesting displays. In the Stapflehus museum the historical agricultural production of the area is also celebrated.
Weil am Rhein produces quite a bit of wine, and the production techniques are influenced by the town’s proximity to France. Very tasty!
After a day seeing exhibits and learning the history of the town, get some of the high quality local table wine and head down to the banks of the Rhine to watch the sunset while savoring your drink. :-)