Schwetzingen: Spargel capital and much more

Schwetzingen: Spargel capital and much more

by Claire Aljunaibi
Stripes Europe

Schwetzingen, also known as Spargelstadt (Asparagus City), has the delicious distinction as the asparagus capital of the world. The white gold, so beloved in Germany, has caused many to flock to Schwetzingen each spring either to visit one of the many Spargel events or simply to enjoy this delicacy in its home region. The city has it all: amazing architecture, gardens, theater productions, museums and cultural events. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy the farmers’ market, a delicious meal, an event at the castle, and a cup of coffee with a delectable slice of cake.

A historic city

The history of Schwetzingen began when it was settled in the Stone Age; however, the city officially dates to the year 766, when it was known as Suezzingen. A highlight of the past is the palace. During the 18th century, it was the summer residence for the ruler of the Palatinate, which was a part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the last 25 years, the castle has been carefully renovated, yet the palace gardens have retained their original design. The gardens display diverse cultures, with more than 100 statues, a temple of Apollo, a small Turkish mosque and a bathhouse. The gardens are a lovely place to walk and delight in nature; they also create a stunning backdrop for photography sessions.

Home of the bicycle

The bicycle is the most used form of transport in the world, and its history is directly tied to the region. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first bicycle, known as a draisine, which was invented by Baron Karl von Drais in 1817. The city of Schwetzingen is hosting bicycle events, lectures and workshops. In nearby Mannheim, the “Two Wheels Two Hundred Years” exhibit runs until June 25, 2017 at the Technoseum.

Americans in Schwetzingen

For more than 65 years, Schwetzingen was a desirable U.S. military duty station. The region was home to Tompkins Barracks and Kilbourne Kaserne, which belonged to U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg. This beautiful installation closed in 2012 when the NATO brigade moved to Sembach. The citizens of Schwetzingen often state that the presence of American families is quite missed.

A love of music

Cultural events abound in this pleasant city. In early August, Open Air in the Park takes place at the palace gardens. In October, jazz bands play in bars, restaurants and the palace’s Rococo Theater during Jazzinitiative Schwetzingen.

Museums galore

The city museum offers visitors a glimpse into 7,000 years of local history. The Blue Museum is so named for the official color of Schwetzingen and will have a number of special exhibits dedicated to this hue starting in July 2017. City Hall (Rathaus) has a special section dedicated to art and photography. The palace museum also has exhibitions about antique gardening equipment
and printmaking.

White gold

Approximately 122,000 tons of Spargel are enjoyed each year in Germany. Citizens in Schwetzingen revere the vegetable so much that every year there is a festival, complete with a queen, in honor of the delicacy. Several events celebrate Spargelzeit, including a walk (Spargellauf), opening ceremony of the season (Spargelanstich), planting workshops, Asparagus Saturday, and even a hike through asparagus fields in the nearby area with artists, music and, of course, culinary delights made with the crop.

Lots of restaurants

Schwetzingen has a brewery and several other German restaurants. Indian, Mexican and Turkish cuisine are also available. The farmers’ market on Saturday mornings is also worth the drive. The famous “fourth meal” (coffee and cake) can be enjoyed at one of the several cafés.

Schwetzingen is a city filled with activities and cultural events. It’s an easy, hassle-free destination for a day trip, less than an hour from the Kaiserslautern Military Community. The next time you are craving a brewery meal, a stroll in palace gardens, or a plate of the famous “White Gold,” make the short drive to Schwetzingen.

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