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A collection of Polish eggs, decorated with various pastoral scenes of spring, are on display at the Osterei Museum in Sonnenb??hl, Germany. The museum highlights Easter egg traditions, mainly from Europe.

A collection of Polish eggs, decorated with various pastoral scenes of spring, are on display at the Osterei Museum in Sonnenb??hl, Germany. The museum highlights Easter egg traditions, mainly from Europe. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

Eggs from Germany's state of Hessen tend to be small and decorated with artwork focusing on plants and crops. They are on display at the Osterei Museum, in the German village of Sonnenbühl, Germany.

Eggs from Germany's state of Hessen tend to be small and decorated with artwork focusing on plants and crops. They are on display at the Osterei Museum, in the German village of Sonnenbühl, Germany. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

Colorful flowers and red peppers dominate the art on these Hungarian eggs on display at the Osterei Museum, in the German countryside village of Sonnenbühl, Germany.

Colorful flowers and red peppers dominate the art on these Hungarian eggs on display at the Osterei Museum, in the German countryside village of Sonnenbühl, Germany. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

Decorated eggs had a range of themes, from flowers and peppers to these eggs painted with African scenes.

Decorated eggs had a range of themes, from flowers and peppers to these eggs painted with African scenes. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

The Osterei Museum in Sonnenbühl, Germany, opened in 1993 and is supposedly the only museum in Germany dedicated to showcasing Easter eggs.

The Osterei Museum in Sonnenbühl, Germany, opened in 1993 and is supposedly the only museum in Germany dedicated to showcasing Easter eggs. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

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.

vandiver.john@stripes.com

The Osterei Museum Directions 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.

Times 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.

Costs 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.

Food The museum has a small cafe offering coffee and snacks.

Information Telephone: 07128 774; website: www.sonnenbuehl.de/data/ostereimuseum.php, in German only.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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