Ahrenshoop is a municipality in the Vorpommern-Rugen district, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. On the Fischland-Darβ-Zingst peninsula of the Baltic Sea. It used to be a small fishing village, but is today known for its tourism and as a holiday resort. Early
History : Ahrenshoop was first mentioned in 1311 as the defining point of the border of the town of Ribnitz/s property. In 1328 Duke Heinrich II of Mecklenburg donated the area east of this border to the monastery of Ribnitz. In 1395 forces of the City of Rostock destroyed a stronghold, built by Bogislaw VI. of Pomerania, and the harbour of Ahrenshoop.
In 1591 the border between Mecklenburg and Pomerania was defined, which runs through the village, still existing today as the “Grenzweg” (border road). After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 the Eastern part of the village became part of Swedish Pomerania until 1815, when Sweden ceded Pomerania to Prussia. Until the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin joined the German Zollverein in 1868 one had to pay taxes crossing this border. Most of the inhabitants were fishermen or sailors at that time.

Modern times : In 1889 the artist painters Paul Muller-Kaempff and Oskar Frenzel “discovered” the village, deeply impressed by the landscape and started an artist colony which became increasingly popular among artists such as Marianne Werefkin, Erich Heckel and Gerhard Marcks. The first generation of members of the artist colony included the painters Elisabeth von Eicken, Anna Gerresheim, Friedrich Wachenhusen and, among others, as a guest Karl Rettich. In 1894 Ahrenshoop counted 150 tourists, a number growing to 2158 in 1928. Several artists of the second generation also lived in Althagen and Niehagen, small villages on the Mecklenburg side of the border, among them Gerhard Marcks in Niehagen or Dora Koch-Stetter and her husband de:Fritz Koch-Gotha in Althagen. These villages have been part of Ahrenshoop since 1950. Today Ahrenshoop is known as an “Artist Spa” and a popular place for artists and celebrities.

artist colony :  At the end of the 19th century painters Paul Müller-Kaempff, Fritz Grebe, Thuro Balzer, Friedrich Wachenhusen, Oskar Frenzel and Theobald Schorn founded a colony of artists and a painting school in Ahrenshoop. To the colony also belonged Louis Douzette, Elisabeth of Eicken, Hugo Richter-Lefensdorf, Anna Gerresheim, Carl Rathjen, Doris at the end, Cesar Klein, Martin Körte and Arnold Lyongrün.

In 1911 Marianne von Werefkin and Alexej Jawlensky, who belonged to the Neue Künstlervereinigung München, spent their holidays on the Baltic Sea.  They lived in nearby Prerow in the former “Villa Seestern” in the forest road and visited demonstrably Ahrenshoop. Only a short distance away at the same time, the bridge painter Erich Heckel with the dancer Sidi Riha in the “Landhaus Dorneneck” in the Green Road.  Whether he came to Ahrenshoop is not proven. Werefkin’s stay, on the other hand, is guaranteed by her painting The Steep Coast of Ahrenshoop with the Ladies Bath.

From 1923 to 1948 lived here the painter Hans Brass. He founded the “Bunte Stube” with Martha Wegscheider and served as mayor from 1927 to 1930 as well as mayor in 1944. From 1948 to 1953, the Rostock painter Rudolf Schmidt-Dethloff (1900-1971) had his studio in Ahrenshoop and gave there also painting lessons. In the district of Niehagen, in Boddenweg 1, the sculptor Gerhard Marcks lived and worked in the 1930s. In the 1960s Edmund Kesting spent the summers in Ahrenshoop and worked.

In the district of Althagen lived the writer Käthe Miethe, who became one of the best-known authors of literature on Darß and Fischland. The Ahrenshooper Library was named after her in 2007. Since 1944, the graphic artist Fritz Koch-Gotha and his wife, the expressionist painter Dora Koch-Stetter and their next generation, the ceramists Barbara and Arnold Klünder, have also lived in Althagen.

From 1972 until his death in 1984, the painter and sculptor Rudolf Brückner-Fuhlrott lived and worked in Ahrenshoop. From 1957 to 1985, the Dresden painter Hans Kinder spent the summer months in his small studio building on Grenzweg. In 2017, the jubilee “125 Years of Ahrenshoop Artists Colony” was celebrated.

Access : Coordinates: 54.381389, 12.42 / There are basically two ways to enter the peninsula: either on the land bridge in the west (from Ribnitz-Damgarten) or by crossing the (manmade) bridge from Barth to Zingst.

There is no rail route on the peninsula itself. The nearest stations are Ribnitz-Damgarten, on the mainland end of the Fischland isthmus, and Velgast which is closer to the Zingst bridge. Both are served by intercity trains from Hamburg, Rostock and Stralsund every two hours, with infrequent direct links from Bremen, Hanover, Cologne and Stuttgart. In Ribnitz-Damgarten you may transfer to bus 210 that crosses the whole peninsula and stops in each of its boroughs. From Velgast you have to change one more time, taking the local “UBB” train to Barth, where you can catch bus 210 in the opposite direction. In total, the ride from Hamburg takes at least 3½ hours, from Berlin 4½ hours.

The most convenient way to go to FDZ is by car. Motorists take autobahn A 24/A 19 from Berlin or A 20 from Hamburg to exit Rostock-Ost, from where the B 105 leads them to the starting point of the peninsula’s main road. From Hamburg it is a two or 2½ hours drive, from Berlin 2½ to three hours. On Saturdays in summer however, the peninsula’s only road link may be heavily jammed, as guests of most holiday flats arrive and leave on this day.

The next airport is Rostock-Laage (RLG IATA), 65–90 km southwest of the peninsula, served only by a few regular domestic and seasonal charter flights.

Cycling enthusiasts can get to FDZ on the international Baltic Sea Cycle Route.

As there is only one main road for cars, cycling is a very popular option, with most guesthouses offering bicycles for rent (or having a bike rental nearby). The landscape is flat and there are many well-paved and signposted cycling paths with beautiful views, so this is advisable even for untrained cyclists. As a bad-weather alternative, there is bus line 210 that links all townships on the peninsula once an hour.

Highlights :

  • Ahrenshoop art museum (Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop), Weg zum Hohen Ufer 36, 18347 Ahrenshoop. daily 11AM-6PM (April–October) Tue-Sun 10AM-5PM (November–March). Architecturally unusual building, houses a collection of paintings, graphics and sculptures by artists who have lived, worked or visited Ahrenshoop or nearby places. € 8 (students € 3–4.
  • The Schifferkirche (naval church) lies to the north of the town’s centre. It was opened in 1951 and resembles an upside-down ship.
  • If you want to follow the trail of the artists’ colony, don’t forget to visit the Kunstlerhaus Lukas (Artist’s House Lukas): Founded as a painting school in 1894, it represents the beginning of the artists’ colony.

Activities : The Baltic Sea region offers a range of interesting walking/hiking trails.
Apart from the obvious swimming and sunbathing, the peninsula is perfect for cycling and horseriding. You may take a diving, sailing or kitesurfing course, sail on a traditional Zeesenboot, or watch birds such as cranes.

Events :  The annual tonnage on the third Sunday of July in the tonnage bundle Ahrenshoop, Alt- und Niehagen e. V.
Ahrenshooper Jazzfest, since 1999 annually on the fourth weekend of June
Long Night of Art, annually on the third Saturday in August
Ahrenshooper Filmnachte, since 2003 annually in August, from 2013 in sept

Go next : Stralsund / Rostock / Hiddensee / Rugen


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