“Come to Gengenbach at Christmas to see an Advent calendar that is larger than life. Every evening at 6pm, another of the brightly lit windows of the neo-classical town hall is opened. Behind each one is a picture by a famous artist, such as Otmar Alt, Marc Chagall and this year Andy Warhol. This magical ritual is accompanied by music and theatre. As you make your way to the delightful Christmas market, take the opportunity to see the fascinating exhibitions at the museum in Löwenberg House.”
For over 15 years the quaint town of Gengenbach in Baden-Württemberg has transformed its entire Rathaus (Town Hall) into the world’s largest Advent Calendar House. The 24 windows (two rows of 11 plus 2 in the roof) are each decorated with a festive Christmas scene with a new window revealed every night until Christmas.
Gengenbach, a beautiful medieval town of half timbered buildings and cobbled streets in southwest Germany’s Black Forest, has perhaps the largest giant Advent calendars featured on twenty four of its pink baroque Town Hall’s front windows.
While on the other side of the country in Leipzig, Saxony, a two by three meter (6.1/2 x 10 feet) three-dimensional window, part of the largest freestanding Advent calendar in the world, opens each evening from December 1st until Christmas.
Take a stroll through the magnificently decorated historic city center and marvel at the daily opening of the world’s biggest Advent calendar house. Explore little alleyways, listen to the beautiful sounds of the choirs, and take in the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas time in Gengenbach.
The Town Hall
Viktor Kretz, a member of the town council and master builder, built it in 1784. This masterwork was meant to have a dominant place in the focal point of the town. The facades reflect a sort of transition style from the Rococo to the then-beginning Classicism. The columns and the round arches have a festive effect and lead to an open hallway.
On the well-designed triangular gable, the Gengenbach sculptor Peter Schwab created the beautiful figures: Justitia and Prudentia crowned by a powerful eagle carrying the town’s coat of arms. Four consoles with heads line the bottom of the decorative balcony. These heads represent the four great areas of the earth: Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. They are meant to demonstrate openness among the peoples of the world.