There is much to discover in the district of Peine. Not just handcrafts and industry, but exciting sports and tempting delicacies as well. And an incredibly large number of owls as well...
Don’t be surprised if you keep encountering owls on a walk through Peine. Jakobikirche (St. James’ church) is, like many houses around the market square, decorated with images of this mystical bird. Every autumn, the ‘Eulenmarkt’ (Owls’ Market) hosts a three-day festival, and even at the entrance to the city park, a 70-cm tall bronze owl has been perched on a boulder since 1992. So what’s this all about? Well, scholars and historians are still arguing about when and why the owl became the city’s mascot to this day. According to a common theory, Peine’s castle was besieged a total of three times during the Hildesheim Diocesan Feud between 1519 and 1523, but was never defeated. And because the owl is considered in mythology to be a symbol of vigilance and steadfastness, it became the unofficial heraldic animal of the city. The inscription on the boulder seems to back up this theory:
Which can be loosely translated as:
‘Peine was built strong to withstand the conquest,
Thus the owl remained sitting in its nest.’
Where industry and craftsmanship come together
Peine is the cradle of the region’s steel industry. The steel girder with parallel flanges developed in Peine in 1914 is today known worldwide as the ‘Peine girder’. The Peine steelworks was founded in 1858 as ‘Ilseder Hütte’ and today operates under the name of Peiner Träger GmbH. The company has around 1,000 employees and produces about one million tonnes of steel each year, including 400 tonnes for the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg, which was opened in early 2017.
But the city of Peine didn’t remain stuck in its industrial past. In addition to the industrial production of heavy-duty products, today’s Peine is also home to factory work that focuses on a careful attention to details. Manufacturer Pelikan, for example, covers the entire range of office supplies. The company was founded by a chemist as a paint and ink factory in 1832. Pelikan’s special claim to fame is its robust fountain pens, which are popular with pupils, as well as its intensely colourful inks. Today, Pelikan focuses on high-grade writing instruments, some of which are still handmade.
The Rausch chocolate factory, which celebrates its one hundredth anniversary in 2018, also believes in doing things by hand. Launched as a confectionery in Peine in 1918, the company today employs more than 400 people, who manufacture and sell the finest chocolates at its headquarters in Peine and the chocolate factory in Berlin as well as at the Schokoladenhaus at Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt.
The Härke brewery has been brewing beer for more than 660 years. The first ‘barley juice’ was bottled in 1356. Today, is produces six varieties – from classic Pilsener, to wheat beer, to non-alcoholic beer, and all the way to amber ale in the contemporary craft beer style.
Whether you’re looking for the finest writing instruments, smooth melt-in-your-mouth chocolate or a cold beer – the three companies welcome your visit. The exciting tours offer exciting insights and invite you to try, taste and shop.
Hops and malt, liver sausage and chocolate
Interested in more delicacies? Lüddekes Hofladen has specialities for meat lovers and raises, feeds, and slaughters its meat itself. In addition to the speciality meats and sausages that it produces itself, you’ll also find some truly extraordinary products, such as ‘Mettwurst pralines’ – with milk chocolate and sweet sausage.
Or liver sausage ice cream, made by the Eiscafé Bernauer ice cream shop – but this is only officially intended for dogs. Two-legged gourmands can enjoy more than 60 meat-free (but therefore all the more delicious) varieties of ice cream.
‘Top Employer’ and personal fulfillment
Did you know that the Peine district offers paward-winning jobs, not just at the companies mentioned above, but in other industries as well? Rewarding work, high-quality products and sustainable business – these are the expectations that the highly competitive Generation Y places on its future workplace in particular. And all of these factors be found in Peine – for example, at Christmann Informationstechnik, automotive supplier Faurecia and the Stoll machinery factory. To date, some of these companies have received awards in the double digits, such as .Factory of the Year, Top Employer or innovation awards This is where innovation and a good work-life balance come together – and it’s certainly one of the reasons why the district is becoming increasingly popular among skilled workers.
But even individualists who seek personal fulfillment in their spare time find like-minded people in Peine – for example, at KiP Kunst im Peiner Land e.V., an arts association where more than 20 artists have come together and organise popular events such as open studio days. Art, music and literature are the focus of events at the Alte Stellmacherei (Old Wheelwright’s Workshop) belonging to former master Hermann Thies, along with afternoon events for children, lectures, readings and courses that offer visitors a diverse range of cultural events. At Kunsthof Mehrum art centre, you can experience creativity and individual approaches to art in a rural atmosphere. The Kunsthof regularly opens its country house garden – here you can go for a stroll, relax, and enjoy art and nature. And during the ‘Offenen Pforte’ (Open Gate) event, more than 25 private individuals open their gardens and invite the public to visit them: Guests can therefore experience the entire spectrum of horticulture and gardening. But the focus isn’t any one particular type of garden. Anyone who is interested in gardening and wants to exchange ideas with like-minded people can participate. As such, the project is also a chance to make new contacts or simply an opportunity to relax in beautiful surroundings.
Swimming, disc golf and music from Scotland
And Peine is a fantastic place to go swimming. There are numerous attractive bathing spots bathing spots for every taste: the lakes at Eixer See, Wehnser See, Kiessee Wipshausen, Pfehenich Hohenhameln and the Bettmar outdoor swimming area offer good water quality and are the perfect place for a refreshing dip. If you prefer to stay on dry land, visit the Eulennest disc golf club and try a new twist on golf with a sort of frisbee. This special sport, in which the round disc must be accurately thrown into a basket on a variety of courses, has been extremely popular in the region for several years now.
The Peiner at the Gates of Dawn
And now for something completely different: Peine even has its own Scottish culture club. It was founded in 1985 to introduce Scottish music and culture to the general public. And it appears to have been a hugely successful idea – because the Highland Gathering now attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over Germany. Every year, Scots and their aspiring countrymen set up their stands in the city park. There are whiskey and crafts, kilts in all sorts of patterns, original Scottish gifts and treats from the barbecue. Musicians compete in the ‘Peine International Pipe Band Championships’ to find the German masters in the art of bagpipe and drum playing.