Special Events

Once a month IWAH offers a special event for its members such as guided tours to places of interest or day trips to other cities.

Here you can read about some of our past special events: 

February 7th Special Event: A day for all senses at Neustadt

By Rosa S.

On a sunny Thursday February noon, 16 IWAH members and two husbands met at Hannover station to go to Neustadt, a small city north west of Hannover. The castle of Landestrost – not far from Neustadt station – was our destination. There we met our guide, a nice young lady working at the peat museum on the first floor of the castle. She was well prepared telling us stories about peat bog, showing us all the different kinds - in wet and dry state. We could also marvel at the peat moss plant and at how much water it can store. We learnt about the hard work of turf-cutters and could try to move the cart with wet peat which was already very heavy with only a few bricks. We did not watch the whole movie about its history due to technical problems, but we had already seen and experienced so much about peat that this did not matter, as we had already learnt a lot from Mardi Graf's presentation at the May General Meeting last year. 

After this lecture we went down to the cellar of the castle where the sparkling wine producer Duprès has its place. We learnt how sparkling wine is produced and, finally, the differences between champagne, sparkling wine, Cremant and Prosecco. Of course, we tasted some of the Duprès sparkling wines as well as some liqueurs. This lifted our mood even more! In a happy frame of mind we visited the rest of the castle which was built in the style of the Weser Renaissance. The tour was in German but Judy translated for those who did not understand it. We learnt all about the history of the castle, which was built between 1573 and 1584 as a representative residential building for Duke Erich II of Braunschweig-Lüneburg. The rooms are quite modest, due to much destruction during its history. In the 1980s it was restored and serves now as a cultural center, which we experienced in the evening. 

Before our evening program started, we deserved a break at an Italian restaurant for dinner. Back in the castle, a wonderful concert with world music waited for us. Three musicians played guitar, Oud (Arabic lute), Saxophone and Nagaswaran, a traditional Indian wind instrument. Luis Borda played wonderful Tango Nuevo while Roman Bunka enchanted us with his lute music. Roland Schaeffer then played Jazz style on his saxophone and warned us about the volume of the Nagaswaran, which woke up those who may have fallen asleep! One could feel the enthusiasm of the musicians playing together and this was passed on to the audience. Everybody was enthusiastic! This concert on the border between orient and occident alone was worth going to Neustadt. Unfortunately we had to leave before the encore to catch our train back to Hannover. Some time before midnight we reached Hannover station very inspired by this wonderful day and evening.

December Special Event: Exploring the Kreuzkirche

by Astrid S. 

On Thursday, December 20th, a group of IWAH members, some partners and one boy met in the Kreuzkirche in Hannover’s old town to have a guided tour. In the rib vault of the entrance hall a coloured keystone caught our attention. It shows two important dates: 1333 was the date of consecration when the church was finished in the middle ages, and 1960 tells us about its second consecration when it was rebuilt after the Second World War. The phoenix rising from flames which is also shown on the keystone is an encouraging symbol of resurrection overcoming death and destruction. 

We then had a very close look at the precious altarpiece by Lucas Cranach the Elder. It was created for a monastery in Einbeck and then moved to the Palace Church in Hannover and finally to the Kreuzkirche. The paintings seen on it are of special interest as they mark the time between 1534 and 1537 when the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder was taken over by his sons. The difference in the style between the central painting showing the crucifixion of Jesus and the wings showing Saint Alexander and his mother Saint Felicitas is evident in many details. The horses in the central painting are a special challenge. If you get the chance just count their heads and their legs. But take care – it might become a never ending story… 

During a short walk around the church we had a look upon the baroque part of the steeple which was added by Johann Duve, a successful businessman, and the Duve Chapel where his family was buried. 

We went down to the vaults where very important people were buried up to the end of the 18th century. During the Second World War their bones were brought into one huge tomb beneath the Duve Chapel to make room for a “Luftschutzkeller”. Writings on the walls still tell us about the severe conditions for those who searched for shelter from the bombs. Finally we looked on the relics of people who lived some hundred years ago and now rest in this church. The light of our petrol lamps was just right for the thrilling atmosphere down there. 

From hell, we went right up to heaven. The steeple of the Kreuzkirche is not very high but it offers a beautiful view upon the old town. In the dark with all the illumination around us it was just fantastic. And of course looking down to the Christmas Market right at the feet of the church was a highlight. The “Glühwein” we had together was a perfect end to our evening.

Trip to Taboo Exhibit

by Rita R.

On January 24th, a group of 20 members of IWAH were guided through the special exhibition TABOO – SECRET – CONCEALED in the Hannover State Museum (Landesmuseum). We journeyed around the world starting in the South Seas, on to Africa, Brazil, Siberia, Tibet and ended in China. We saw some of the highlights of five ethnographic collections of Lower Saxony (Hannover, Hildesheim, Brunswick, Göttingen and Oldenburg), with emphasis on the religious and social context, but also on the aesthetic characteristics and beauty. The objects often had two functions: to strengthen the individual as well as the community. 

The exhibits were collected in their countries of origin by Europeans as documentation of non-European cultures. The earliest exhibits date back to the time of scientific expeditions in the late 18th century, for example the Cook/Forster collection (chief mourner) and the Baron von Asch collection (shaman of Central Siberia). Others were bought during the colonial period before World War I. The latest acquisition of the exhibition was made during several journeys in 1960 and 1970 to Brazil by the head of the ethnological department of the Hannover State Museum. 

The word “taboo” was brought to Europe towards the end of the 18th century by James Cook and gradually came into everyday use in nearly all European languages. It came from the Polynesian word “tapu”. In Tahiti it had two meanings: forbidden, to be strictly avoided, but also sacred. The Polynesian society was a strictly ordered hierarchy and the principles of tapu gave each individual the regulations for what he was not allowed to do and what he was expected to do. It was easy for the Polynesian chieftains and the nobility to legitimise their power. They claimed to be the descendants of the Gods. 

In the next section in Melanesia we met a society that was totally different. There was no hereditary status and people had to earn their own merits during their lifetime. Ancestors were honoured instead of Gods. 

We moved on to other regions and with each step we came into contact with astonishing civilizations that all had to answer the vital human questions of personal and collective crises. 

The complete outfit of a shaman of Siberia dating back to the 18th century is unique in the whole world. By looking at the details of his dress, we can see what shamanism meant in the nomadic community of the Ewenki people.

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