No matter if it’s about pastries, drinks, or perfumes: many different products to be eaten, drunk, and enjoyed are at home in North Rhine-Westphalia and popular around the world. Factory tours, museums, shops, and outlet centres offer tast-ings and anecdotes from the corporate histories.
Delicacies for the Palate and Nose
Pudding, Pastries, Tea, and Perfume
Brandt-Zwieback has been shipped to many countries from Hagen since 1912. The history of the pastry with its orange package decorated with a smiling child’s face as its trademark can be explored in the Hagen Zwiebackmuseum. “Haus Stennert” is a protected building monument that offers not only a factory outlet and a mod-ern bistro, but also the Brandt-Museum. The rooms present the pastry past and present up close – even for the very youngest visitors who will be led through the exhibition by Zwieback character Zwack. Stations include the founder’s room, Zwieback production with a steaming oven, and a walk-in Brandt branded Zwie-back box.
Visitors can learn about the sweets’ secrets right where the Stollwerck factory used to produce chocolate and chocolates alike. The chocolate museum on the Rhine in Cologne, op-erated by Lindt & Sprüngli since 2006, is one of the museums with the highest visitor frequency in Germany. It offers a view of the past and present of chocolate production, including a taste of the products. The chocolate fountain and choco-late classes give guests the opportunity to try these sweet treats.
Aachener Printen can be found on coffee tables around the world in the pre-Christmas period. The Emperor’s city itself, however, serves them to be enjoyed year-round. No matter if they are hard, soft, with herbs, chocolate, or nuts, only the ones produced in Aachen or one of a few adjacent towns since 1820 are deemed original Aachener Printen. The “Sweet Aachen” group tour conveys background knowledge and a taste of these and other local specialities.
www.aachen-tourismus.de/specialties-from-aachen | www.aachen-tourismus.de/aachenfuehrungen
Düsseldorf serves a good cup of tea. A round tour of the location of origin of the Teekanne brand also offers some other interesting sights, such as the world’s largest porcelain tea pot or the first fully automated machine for producing the double-chamber bag. The factory outlet allows guests to purchase some new tea varieties to take home afterwards.
The Düsseldorf old town has a hot offer: a small store sells all the Düsseldorf Lö-wensenf mustard specialities. The product’s history dates back to the year of 1903. In addition to classics such as extra-hot, medium-hot, and sweet mustard, palates with a penchant for experimentation will also find special products on these shelves, including mustard made with top-fermented German dark beer or mulled wine, and even mustard chocolates.
Germany’s pudding capital is located in the Teutoburg Forest. Food group Dr. Oetker in Bielefeld has specialised in sweet desserts for 130 years. A guided round tour covers the entire Dr. Oetker world, including the pudding wonder, bis-tro, and shop.
Bergamot, orange, and cedar essences are the basic ingredients of Eau de Co-logne, one of the world’s most popular scents. The world’s oldest perfume factory lets visitors follow the early developments of Eau de Cologne while exploring more than three centuries of perfume history. The base of the family-owned com-pany Farina in the old town of Cologne houses the scent museum, which is open to visitors in the scope of guided tours.
Another production of Eau de Cologne was built up in Glockengasse in Cologne about a hundred years later. The 4711 building also gives visitors the option of exploring the world of scents, e.g. in a scent seminar where they can create their own individual Eau de Colognes under specialist instruction.
Visiting the Crafts Pioneers and Pros
Cooking Pots, Blades, and Computers
Computers are the stars in Paderborn, and the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum (HNF) in Paderborn with its exhibition area of 6,000 square metres is larger than any other museum focusing on information technology. The Guinness Book of Records lists it as the world’s largest computer museum. The first ideas for it go back to renowned German computer pioneer Heinz Nixdorf, who founded his company in a basement back in 1952. The HNF focuses not only on the corporate history, but most of all on 5,000 years of information technology. Current devel-opments such as artificial intelligence and robotics are also reflected there, e.g. in the form of industrial robot Beppo, who works as a street sweeper in the museum and will engage in contact with visitors.
Solingen has made a reputation for itself as the “City of Blades”. To this day, it is deemed the centre of the German cutting goods and cutlery industry. It is only logical for the town to house a truly cutting-edge museum, too: the Deutsches Klingenmuseum with its internationally relevant collection of weapons, cutting equipment through all eras and cultures, and the world’s largest cutlery collection. Zwilling knives and scissors are known and popular around the world. Among many other household objects, they can be purchased in the factory outlet here.
Anyone interested can learn to cook just like the pros at Villa Wesco in Arnsberg in the Sauerland region. The manufacturer of stylish bread boxes, cooking pots, and other kitchen accessories offers courses and presentations in its cooking and barbecue school, spanning a range from beginners’ instruction to gourmet cooking classes with WDR TV chef Olaf Baumeister. No one will need to stand by the stove if they don’t want to, though. Anyone who prefers to simply enjoy can end their shopping trip to the brand experience centre’s outlets in an enjoyable visit to an Italian restaurant instead.
Münster is the home of little Princess Lillifee and travelling rabbit Felix, who make children around the world dream. Housed in a former fire station and a shut-down granary, the authors and illustrators of publisher Coppenrath keep on creating new and colourful worlds around their heroes. In Münster’s planetarium, rabbit Felix is telling about his experience in a rocket headed for the moon on specific dates.
Factory Outlets and Outlet Centre
High-Quality Bargains, Historical Ambience
Ochtrup in the Münsterland also has an outlet centre that is meshed with town his-tory. For about 200 years, the location was deemed a stronghold of textile produc-tion. Until 1966, textile company Gebrüder Laurenz used to have its main office where more than 100 designer & lifestyle brands can be purchased at low cost to-day. The shopping centre’s architecture with its gabled fronts and red brick is aligned with the historical building style of the Münsterland. Original monument-protected buildings can be found interspersed with them as well.
Even those who do not have a full day’s time can purchase world-renowned goods from North Rhine-Westphalia at the factory and take them home as souvenirs. Freshly produced fruit gum and liquorice are available at the HARIBO factory out-lets and in shops that can, of course, also be found in Bonn, the place of birth and home of the legendary gold bears. Apart from the full range and fan articles, visitors can also gain an overview of the family-owned company’s story of suc-cess. Founded by trained candy maker Hans Riegel in 1920, its name is a port-manteau of HAns RIegel BOnn.
The Lower Rhine has a colourful and sweet offering as well. Emmerich harbours a factory outlet for Katjes fruit gum and liquorice. Sweets have been produced there since 1950, with the black liquorice cats the most popular among them.
Marzipan and jam have made Zentis popular. The company has been producing in Aachen since 1893. Classics such as Aachener Pflümli and Nusspli, as well as limited trial products are available from the factory outlet in the Emperor’s city.
Things have been particularly hot at the corporate seat of Ritzenhoff for more than a century. The family-owned company in the Sauerland, which has developed from a manufactory into one of the most renowned high-tech glassworks in Germany, produces the most refined crystal glasses at temperatures of 1,500 degrees Celsi-us. Drinking vessels and other products, such as decorations or tableware, can be found in the Ritzenhoff-Outlet in Marsberg.