About 1.5 hours from the Tri-Border area is an open air museum near the town of Kommern called LVR-Freilichtmuseum Kommern. There are open air museums scattered throughout Europe. The main goal of these museums is to educate people about the old way of life in particular regions. The Kommern Museum has rescued buildings from the local region between Monchengladbach down to Koblenz and through the Eifel region. These buildings have plaques outside that show where the building came from and what it was used for. There are three “towns” that you can explore, with each town representing a particular region of our corner of Germany. You are welcome to explore inside each building. Some have museum like exhibitions showing a particular aspect of the buildings, like roof making, or a local craftsman might be making brooms or handmade baskets inside. There are even a few sheep and chickens among other livestock to complete the perfect picture.
During the first weekend of Advent each year, the entire museum turns into a Christmas market and it is not to be missed. There are a good number of stands near the entrance to get you started, but the real charm comes from finding the stands inside these old buildings. Most of the wares for sale are unique handmade items that I have not seen at any other markets. Food stands were scattered throughout the museum grounds as well. Chestnuts were actually roasting on an open fire in one building while another had lentil stew warming over the fireplace. Of course Glüwein and other hot beverages were available throughout the grounds. Saint Nicholas was there too with his donkey handing out apples to the children. If you are looking for a uniquely European Christmas experience, this is your place. If you missed the market, you can still come see the museum 365 days a year or visit during one of the several events scattered through the calendar.
Here are a few practical notes:
-The parking lot is large. You will need to buy an exit coin from the main ticket office to get out after your visit. (€2,50)
-There is a steep (paved) hill that you must walk up to get to the museum from the parking lot. There is a van that will transport you up the hill for free. You may need to call for the service at the nearby covered area.
-The majority of the trails throughout the museum are level gravel/dirt. There are steps to get into most of the houses, so plan accordingly.
-Audio guides (in English) are available at the ticket desk for a small fee. There are numbers for the guide scattered throughout the museum.
-WCs are strategically located around the museum grounds. You shouldn’t have to walk too far to find one.
-There is a nearby rodelbahn that offers a combination ticket.
Address (Very close to the A1 and Burg Satzvey):
Eickser Straße, Mechernich-Kommern
Adult Price: €6,50
Children under 18 are free.
Audio Guide: €2,50
Opening Times: (365 Days per Year)
Summer March 29 to October 31, 2014: 0900 – 1900
Winter November 1 to March 30, 2015: 1000 – 1700
Last entry 1 hour before closing.
24 and 31 December: 1000 – 1400
25 and 26 December and 1 January: 1100 – 1700