My personal highlights of Lüneburg
Three highlights of Lüneburg that you won’t find in guidebooks
Lüneburg - Red Light District, Café BonBon, Busenklingel
Lüneburg in Lüneburg Heath: where honey bees and Heidschnucke sheep wish each other goodnight. This used to go through my mind when we travelled from Berlin to Lüneburg at the start of the nineties. Over the years I grew so fond of Lüneburg that I now live in its famous Old Town.
Guidebooks on Lüneburg are ten a penny - but you won't find my personal insider tips in any of them (as yet).
1. Lüneburg’s original red light district
The Neue Straße in the Lüneburg old town was very lively in the 15th century. At that time, prostitution was not considered disreputable - it was considered a means to an end, namely a means to protect respectable women from being molested by men. The small shacks in the Neue Straße are an ensemble of tiny brick cottages with a well in front. Today, the brick cottages accommodate smart flats in the old buildings, wonderful to look at. The Neue Straße is not to be missed when taking a romantic stroll through the beautiful old town of Lüneburg. Pure romance!
How do I find the Neue Straße?
The street Auf dem Meere starts right behind Lüneburg Town Hall. Walk down Auf dem Meere, cross Untere Ohlingerstraße and the first street on the left is Neue Straße.
2. Café BonBon - in Scunthorpeplatz
Lüneburg has a large range of good Cafés and Restaurants, so it is often difficult to decide which one to frequent. However, you cannot fail with the small but excellent Café BonBon. This cosy cafe offers home-made cakes, filled rolls and sandwiches. Café BonBon epitomises the art of baking in the French style.
The delectable Hansegiebel [Hanseatic gable] tartlets are particularly recommended. Café BonBon is known only to insiders at this time – but perhaps not for long.
The cafe is part of the Bonbon Manufaktur [candy factory] at the Alten Kran.
How do I find Café BonBon?
The cafe is located in the Scunthorpeplatz, on the corner with Am Springtintgut.
You will find the Bonbon Manufaktur at Lünertorstr. 1 in Lüneburg.
3. Busenklingel - in Johann-Sebastian-Bach Square, part of the Old Town
Culture can also encompass a sense of humour. In Lüneburg, there is a guided tour called ‘Doing the rounds with the night watchman and his wife’. Recently, I did just that: I accompanied the night watchman through the old town of Lüneburg. The watchman recited a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in front of a house opposite the Church of St. Michaelis in Johann-Sebastian-Bach Square:
der Mädchenbusen in der Hand
sind beides Dinge wohlverwandt.
Denn, wenn man beide leis`berührt,
man innen drinnen deutlich spürt,
dass unten draußen einer steht,
er sehnsuchtsvoll nach Einlass fleht...
The doorbell mounted to the wall
the bosom, neither big nor small
the hand soon feels at a light touch
from deep inside, both things as such,
an inner stirring of the bell
and on the bosom, just as well.
One knows outside there stands in wait
an eager fellow, at the gate.
Translation by Herbert Nehrlich
What has a girl’s bosom to do with a door bell?
The watchman recited the poem in front of a house whose door bells are shaped like two breasts. Why they look like breasts is anybody’s guess: at the time of Goethe, electric doorbells had not yet been invented, so a tender touch of the bell wouldn’t have achieved anything. You had to pull the bell really hard, or twist it, to gain admittance. Treating a girl’s breasts in a similar fashion would be unlikely to achieve a similar goal. Maybe men should practise a bit?
Where do I find the Busenklingel?
The house with the Busenklingel is located in the street Auf der Altstadt, pretty much halfway between the streets Untere Ohlinger and In der Techt. It is directly opposite the main entrance of the Church of St. Michaelis in the Johann-Sebastian-Bach Square.