W ith Easter just around the corner, I figured what better time to visit a museum dedicated to the holiday’s signature symbol: the Easter egg.
The Osterei Museum, in the German countryside village of Sonnenbühl, is purported to be the only museum of its kind in Germany. I suppose there is a reason for that. How many egg museums does one country need?
Only about 40 miles outside of Stuttgart, the museum was close enough to home that if it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, it wouldn’t ruin my day. And with an entrance fee of 4 euros, it wouldn’t break the bank, either.
There are two levels to the museum, which opened in 1993. On the first level, craftsmen sell their wares. The eggs look pretty. And at the gift shop you can purchase hand-decorated Easter eggs ranging from 5 euros to 100 euros. After a quick look around, I went to the second level, where eggs from around the world are showcased.
There are about 100 eggs in the exhibits. In most cases, the eggs are covered with intricate, hand-painted pastoral scenes, celebrating nature. Others have religious themes and are decorated with biblical scenes.
There’s a display of traditional Ukrainian and Russian eggs, which are a big part of the Orthodox tradition. There also are eggs from numerous eastern European countries, such as Poland and Hungary, where Easter is generally a big deal.
There were even eggs from China, but I suppose those had nothing to do with the Christian holiday of Easter. These eggs were painted with ancient scenes with people in traditional dress.
Unfortunately, all the displays are in German, so English-only speakers are out of luck if they want to read more about the respective exhibits and learn about the finer points of the eggs.
On the other hand, it might just be enough to appreciate the intricate designs and engraved eggs for what they are, and move on.
In my experience, Easter eggs were always hard-boiled and dipped in watercolors. There weren’t any eggs like that on display, which was a bit of a disappointment.
In a nutshell — or should I say eggshell? — this is a place for Easter egg aficionados and anyone passionate about fine art as applied to egg-shaped things. Otherwise, the museum is likely to disappoint.
Still, if you’re a hard-boiled Easter lover, it wouldn’t hurt to drop by the Osterei Museum. At a minimum, you’ll have the chance to walk away with a few nice presents from the gift shop. The drive on the way there, through the rolling-hill country, also is lovely.
But if you’re neutral on the subject of decorated eggs, you might want to find another way to enjoy this Easter season.
The Osterei Museum
The Osterei Museum is located at Steig Strasse 8, Sonnenbühl, Germany. Head south out of Stuttgart on the B-27 highway. Carry on past the airport in the direction of Reutlingen. Exit onto the B464 and follow signs for Sonnenbühl. Eventually pick up the L382, which will take you directly through Sonnenbühl. Turn left on Markstrasse and then left on Steig Strasse.
March 15 through June 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays; June 10-Nov. 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays.
Entry costs 4 euros for adults; 2.50 euros for ages 6-14; ages 5 and under get in free. Group rates for 20 people or more cost 3 euros per person. A family card (four people) costs 10 euros.
The museum has a small cafe offering coffee and snacks.
Telephone: 07128 774; website: www.sonnenbuehl.de/data/ostereimuseum.php, in German only.