The Schmallenberg Sauerland has made a name for itself as a location for art and cultural projects of international standing. The Südwestfälische Galerie (South Westphalia Gallery) in Holthausen regularly hosts exhibitions by important artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. The WaldSkulpturenWeg (Forest Sculpture Trail) has brought international art into the Sauerland countryside. In addition, an above-average number of internationally active artists have their studios in the Schmallenberg Sauerland. They have joined together to form the artist group SauerlandArt. Concerts and author readings are also frequently held at Gasthof Schütte.
Our house has been on friendly terms with a representative of the artist group SauerlandArt for years. The renowned photographer Klaus-Peter Kappest regularly offers photo workshops on various topics in our house. These workshops are open to all interested guests. The requirements differ depending on the topic. In most cases, no extensive prior knowledge or photographic equipment is required.
Current workshop dates can be found at: www.fotoworkshops-sauerland.de
A small exhibition of works from his adopted home of Oberkirchen can be seen in the hallways of the Hirschberghaus. Occasionally he shows his favourite pictures from the Schmallenberg Sauerland or sometimes also from his travels in the context of live multivision shows in the hotel hall after dinner in a cosy round and tells anecdotes and background stories about them. These events are also possible at short notice if the house guests are interested. Please ask at the reception.
Are you interested in an exclusive meeting with the photographer? For the guests of our house Klaus-Peter Kappest offers very individual single trainings and photo hikes. Thereby he can respond to your needs and your level of knowledge. And if you would like to experience special motifs in nature exclusively with your camera, we can arrange special excursions with Klaus-Peter Kappest for you. Please ask at the reception for more information.
The Oberkirchen parish church of St. Gertrudis, built in 1665/66, is already the fourth church building on the same site. It is a four-bay hall church with vaulted ceilings. The rich furnishings with the baptismal font from 1632, the high altar from 1668 and much more are worthy of note. St. Gertrudis is one of the most important examples of early baroque church building in the Sauerland. The coat of arms on the portal tower identifies it as a foundation of the von Fürstenberg family, who were also the lords of the court and church patrons of Oberkirchen. The church is open all day and can be visited outside mass times.
Always worth a visit: the Schütte art smithy on the outskirts of Oberkirchen in the direction of Westfeld. Here you will find masterfully crafted bronze and copper figures, fountains and lamps that would certainly also decorate your house or garden. You can think about them directly on the spot - in the café of the historic "Black Factory".A special sculpture park is waiting for you in the Sorpetal. Lothar Klute forges metal masterpieces according to old fathers' custom. His giant dragonflies, leaves, blossoms and fountains made of bronze have made him famous. His tables and light objects made of lead crystal glass and bronze bear an inimitable signature.
A wonderful contrast to this are the filigree, light paper and textile artworks of his wife Gisela Klute. Visit the couple's permanent exhibition and sculpture park in the Waldemei between Nieder- and Mittelsorpe. You will succumb to the magic that surrounds this place of activity. Guests are welcome from April to October always Tuesdays to Sundays 11 am to 4 pm. Groups of more than 10 people are requested to book in advance.
Nature meets art: The WaldSkulpturenWeg Wittgenstein-Sauerland runs along the ridge of the Rothaargebirge from Bad Berleburg to Schmallenberg. On 23 varied kilometres, the art trail, unique in Germany, leads to eleven incomparable sculptures, sculptures and stagings by internationally renowned artists. They polarize and stimulate discussion by addressing the ambivalent relationship of man to nature or the development of the neighboring regions of Wittgenstein and Sauerland, which have been separated from each other for centuries territorially, linguistically, culturally and denominationally.
The works "Blinker II" by Timm Ulrichs, the "Hexenplatz" by Lili Fischer and the "Krummstab" by Heinrich Brummack are easy to hike from Oberkirchen.
The Grafschaft monastery in the district of the same name has had a decisive influence on the development of the region. It was a Benedictine abbey until its secularisation in 1804. In 1948, the Borromean nuns took over the complex. As the successor community of the Silesian congregation, Grafschaft is now the mother house of this order, which runs the renowned specialist lung clinic Fachkrankenhaus Kloster Grafschaft here. Liturgical utensils, paraments, relics and books from the monastery library are exhibited in the museum room, providing an insight into the Benedictine or Borromean culture of the monastery. In the cloister of the monastery there are also paintings and stone fragments from the monastery church, which was demolished in 1832.
At first glance, the Wilzenberg is a special landscape feature: it forms a single hilltop with steep slopes in all directions. Almost all the other mountains in the Schmallenberg Sauerland, on the other hand, are parts of long chains of hills. It was probably this special location that prompted people to fortify the mountain as a refuge far more than two millennia ago. In the Iron Age, the summit of the Wilzenberg was surrounded by a large, elaborately designed, representative fortification. Extensive finds of weapons and utensils from the time around the birth of Christ bear witness to the history of the castle complex, which in that era offered protection to all the people of the surrounding valleys in the event of danger.
Presumably it also had above all an important, representative character; Dr. Zeiler, the leading archaeologist of the last excavations, speaks of a "Versailles of the Iron Age". However, the Wilzenberg only really becomes special because it has also been used by people from the early Middle Ages to the present day and has been understood as a special place. In the early Middle Ages, a legendary hilltop castle stood there. The local family founded a monastery at the foot of the mountain. The monastery in turn maintained a hermit's hermitage on the mountain for centuries, which was permanently occupied by a monk. A successor building is today's pilgrimage chapel. When the people of Sauerland speak of their "holy mountain" today, they mean it only partly jokingly. It is still the destination of pilgrimages, such as the Schützen pilgrimage that takes place every three years.
Its high cross is visible from afar. Historic paths lead from all the surrounding villages to the mountain, where traces of its long history can still be seen today. An observation tower awaits the hiker on the Wilzenberg summit, which was built at the same time as the Eiffel Tower in Paris - the Sauerland answer to the Eiffel Tower, so to speak.
The Wilzenberg can be hiked from Oberkirchen via the hiking trail O4. By car, you can drive up to half the height of the mountain on its western side from Grafschaft or Gleidorf. From the "Wilzenberg" hikers' car park there, marked paths lead up to the summit. (Depending on the chosen path between 900 m and 1.5 km hiking trail with 118 meters altitude difference)
Changing exhibitions of modern art can be seen regularly in a picturesque old mill building at the foot of Schmallenberg's old town hill. The Kunsthaus Alte Mühle is a historic building made of half-timbering and quarry stones. Opposite it, as a modern counterpoint, stands the Lenneatelier - an architectural contrast that harmoniously complements each other. The ensemble of buildings forms the centre of Schmallenberg's Lennepark, which is also worth a visit in its own right. Its flat part extends from the banks of the Lenne to the foot of the town hill. Its steep part stretches up the slopes to the remains of the old town wall between the Jewish cemetery, which is well worth seeing, and the old town cemetery with the "Narrow House" and the picturesquely situated chapel on the Werth on the spur above the Lenne.
In addition to regular exhibitions of modern, visual art, the Kunsthaus Alte Mühle regularly offers concerts with a living room atmosphere (from chamber music to jazz by the fireplace), readings and lectures.
The art school for young people attached to the Kunsthaus offers - also during the holiday season - a wide range of opportunities for children and young people to develop their own creativity and discover artistic design as a form of expression. No previous knowledge is required, just the fun of creating. Prior registration is required.
On several floors, the museum in Holthausen shows the facets of the history of the Sauerland region of the Electorate of Cologne with a wealth of exhibits as part of its permanent exhibition: from slate mining in the cellar, knitting mills and printing works, agriculture and nature to dark chapters such as the witch hunt. The permanent exhibition is supplemented by nationally acclaimed exhibitions on special topics. Another part of the museum is the South Westphalian Gallery with a collection of important regional art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Special exhibitions in this part of the museum show works by internationally important artists such as, most recently, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
The most interesting architectural monuments of the Schmallenberg Sauerland are clearly its medieval churches. In some of them, the original building fabric has been preserved to such an extent that extensive parts of the original frescoes have been uncovered. In recent years they have been restored to their former glory and made accessible to visitors.
The most famous of these churches is St. Peter and Paul in Wormbach, one of the "original parishes of the Sauerland". Wormbach was already a place of worship in pagan times. The cemetery surrounding the church, lined with old lime trees, exudes a very special charm. It is safe to assume that it has been in continuous use from pagan times to the present day.
The power and tranquillity it radiates has persuaded hundreds of generations of people to undertake sometimes long marches to bury their dead here. Historic trails for the dead lead to Wormbach from far-flung Sauerland regions. Its special design with uniform crosses and its charisma have lost none of their power even today. In the late Romanesque hall church itself, the painting with signs of the zodiac is famous. In the apse there is a representation of the "Last Judgement". The baroque furnishings from the 18th century blend harmoniously with the interior from Romanesque times. In addition to the patron saints of the church, St. Walburga has been particularly venerated here for over 300 years, today among other things within the framework of the annual Walburga Week.
In neighbouring Berghausen to the north, with its parish church of St. Cyriakus, the first-class preserved 13th century frescoes in the choir apse are of particular artistic and historical importance. An extensive ensemble of sacred and secular motifs offers insights into the medieval world of thought.
The parish church of St. Vinzentius in Lenne also dates from the 13th century. In the late Romanesque hall church with two bays and semi-circular apse, extensive and unusually well preserved wall and vault paintings from the time of the church's origin have been uncovered.
Cultural treasures and art sites in the area are perfect destinations for a day trip. Particularly recommended are, among others:
- Cutlery Museum in Fleckenberg (10 km)
- Berleburg residential castle in Bad Berleburg (19 km)
- Steam country people museum in Eslohe (24 km)
- Visitors mine Ramsbeck in Ramsbeck (27 km)
- Galileo-Park Sauerland Pyramids in Lennestadt (29 km)
- Königsmünster Abbey in Meschede (34 km)
- Schnellenberg Castle near Attendorn (46 km)
- Sauerland Museum in Arnsberg (51 km)
- Wedinghausen Monastery in Arnsberg (56 km)
- Oelinghausen Monastery near Arnsberg (62 km)