The German half of this relationship thinks that my fascination with Kleingartens is equal parts horrifying, crazy and amusing. When it was mentioned to friends last night I don’t think that anyone took it seriously and it was quickly disregarded.

From my outsider perspective, however, they are genuinely interesting. They remind me of miniature suburbs, as if everything has been scaled down to the size of a child’s playhouse in the backyard. But no one lives in these places—they exist separately from their everyday homes and lives. 

What is a Kleingarten? It is a piece of land that has room for a tiny house and garden and is part of a Kleingarten community. They often occupy land along the railroad tracks but I have also seen them in Lübeck in a very quiet part of town next to the river. People spend their summer evenings and weekends there, sort of like they would at a cabin ‘up north’ in Minnesota. If there is a sinister side to the Kleingarten, it seems to have something to do with them having a reputation for being popular with a section of the population that likes things to be a certain way and that everyone is always keeping close tabs on their neighbors—what kind of car they are driving, how well the grass is cut, how often they are there or not there, etc.

But I think that there is more to them and am interested in looking a little more closely. They are just too strangely fascinating to dismiss.


One Comment

  • I have to say that I would also be facinated
    with these little sweet “cabins” and gardens.
    Very Fun! You will have to organize a tour
    of them for us when I visit!

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