Wouldn’t it be wonderful if old buildings could talk and tell us everything their windows have seen and their rooms have experienced? This is certainly the case with Lindau’s Old Town Hall on Maximilianstrasse. Grand, proud and colourful – the building stands in the heart of the island, its huge wooden staircase turned towards Bismarckplatz, as though it is inviting you to come and discover this piece of Lindau history.
Old Town Hall: Colorful building in Lindau
Work on the Town Hall began in 1422, and it took 14 years to complete this impressive Gothic building. Just a few years’ later, the building was the location for the first of many historic moments when Maximilian I convened the Reichstag in its wood-panelled council chamber in 1496.
In July 1655 the first Lindau Children’s Festival was held at the Town Hall. This laid the foundations for a wonderful tradition that still continues today. Girls and boys from all over the town dress up and parade to the Old Town Hall with flags and music to celebrate the town of Lindau. The children are given Butschellen (traditional sweet buns) and vouchers to spend at the funfair – and every year it seems like the historic Town Hall is smiling down on the boys and girls.
But it wasn’t quite so harmonious in 1930 when the building’s facade was to be renovated. For years there had been discussions about financing and how it should be decorated, but when artist Wilhelm Nida-Rümelin finally finished the work it provoked public outrage. Alongside his depictions of farmers, fishermen, a sea monster and the traditional linden trees, Nida-Rümelin had also painted a death dance, a battle between heaven and earth – symbolised by a skeleton and a young naked woman! The Bavarian People’s Party decided that such an erotic display was out of the question and demanded that it be removed immediately.
Library of the Former Imperial Free City in Lindau
Did this happen? Find out for yourself! And don’t forget to check out the back of the building. On the south side you will find more wall paintings and a historic sundial, along with the entrance to the Library of the Former Imperial Free City (Ehemals Reichsstädtischen Bibliothek, ERB). And in case you’re wondering about the oriel that juts out of the Old Town Hall, this is where the town’s rulers proclaimed their decisions and new laws to the citizens below. Inside the oriel there are pictures representing the Ten Commandments.
The Old Town Hall is used for meetings of the town council and committees and is still regularly used for receptions.