In this post, I’m telling you how to visit the NordArt 2022, an international art event taking place in Büdelsdorf. Büdels…what? I knew you’d need more information and possibly a guide.
Although the NordArt is an international art show that takes place every year, it’s by far not as important as the Documenta in Kassel let alone the Bienniale di Arte in Venice. However, it is installed in an intriguing setting, a wonderful day trip away from Hamburg or Berlin, and therefore totally worth the visit.
Well, this will be a very short chapter – although I assume apart from the around 10,000 Büdelsdorfers, everyone else will need some context. As a matter of fact, Büdelsdorf is a townlet on the outskirts of Rendsburg which isn’t exactly a bright lights big city place, either.
The town of Rendsburg is located in Germany’s Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein basically on the route from Hamburg to Denmark. In the old town, you still find traces of the city’s historical function as the southern border fortress of the Danish Empire. Büdelsdorf is located north of Rendsburg and can actually be reached by walking.
In 1827, the iron foundry Carlshütte was founded in Büdelsdorf. At that time, it was the first industrial company on the Jutland peninsula. This peninsula, by the way, consists of the continental part of Denmark, most of the German Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein, and a part of Hamburg.
In 1850, the foundry had almost 500 employees, by 1965 over 2500. Obviously, the Carlshütte dominated the region’s economy for a very long time. Nevertheless, they filed for bankruptcy in 1997 and closed the plant down.
So now you can guess why Büdelsdorf of all places got a venue where one of Europe’s most important art shows takes place every year. As the iron foundry closed in 1997, Hans-Julius Ahlmann, Managing Partner of the internationally active ACO Group, took over the grounds with its enormous industrial halls and historic housing. Since then, it’s been used for various cultural projects.
Today, the Carlshütte is not only an impressive industrial monument. It also offers an unusual setting for cultural events of all kinds.
There are three exhibition spaces on the grounds: The former factory building, the old carriage shed, and the spacious park.
The first NordArt took place back in 1999. Over the years, most of the statues and installations in the sculpture park remained in their places. That’s understandable since they are mostly made of iron, stone, and marble. Hence, they are a bit heavy to be shuffled around on the garden’s 80,000 square meters too often.
The exhibition at the coach house and the industrial hall, however, is presenting an interesting selection of different contemporary artists every year. This year, 200 artists from all over the world were chosen by a jury to participate. Yet, this is just a fraction of the about 3,000 applicants.
Although you mostly don’t find the big, important names here, you’ll get to see fresh, inspiring art from all over the world. Also, at the opening, with free entrance for everybody, you get to meet many of the artists in person.
Apart from the general curated exhibition, there are some featured extras: Every year, one particular country is the main focus and exhibits a choice of contemporary art. This tradition started ten years ago when contemporary art from China was the main focus of the NordArt 2012. Since then, very different countries such as Denmark, France, Mongolia, and Ukraine had the opportunity to put together a collection for their so-called country pavilion.
Above Borders – Ponad granicami
In 2022, Poland has organized the special exhibition Above Borders / Ponad granicami. 26 rather nationally renowned artists were given the chance to introduce their work to the visitors.
Interestingly, you’ll find older, established artists as well as newcomers among them.
Obviously, I cannot introduce all of them, hence, here are my three favorites.
So Far – So Close
However, China is back, too. As a matter of fact, all those years that I have visited the NordArt, there was always a special focus on Chinese contemporary art.
This year, however, the featured exhibition So Far – So Close / 如天涯–若比邻 is celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Germany.
The third special project in 2022 is called interstices / Завсар oрон зай and comes from Mongolia. Yes, Mongolia, as in tundral, yurt, and raw mare’s milk. Those were exactly the associations that came to my mind when Mongolia was promoted as a partner country in 2015.
What this Central Asian country had shown in its pavilion was quite far from exotic handcraft. We shouldn’t be narrow-minded and biased and give certain regions far more credit than we do most of the time. And I’m not talking about funds, I’m referring to an open mind.
With this open mind, you can enter the former coach house which was remodeled into a gallery. There, Mongolia presents some of its promising contemporary artists.
Some Extra Tips
After having been to several NordArt editions, I’m happy to share some tips that will make your visit even more complete and enjoyable:
Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes
There are a couple of reasons why you should refrain from wearing fancy heels. Firstly, you’ll probably have to walk around 20 minutes from the train station in Rendsburg to the venue. Although there is a bus, it’s not going very often so you’ll actually save time if you walk.
Then, if you have time to explore the historic center of Rendsburg, you’ll have to walk on cobblestone. And finally, keep in mind that the venue is an old industrial building with time-worn floors.
Bring some picnic and water
This is actually optional since there is a small charming café on the premises. However, It won’t surprise you that they are not exactly cheap. As a matter of fact, the prices aren’t even the main reason for bringing at least water with you.
The café is really very small and chances are that you won’t find a free spot to enjoy some refreshments. However, coming from Rendsburg, you’ll pass a supermarket where you can stock up on drinks’n’snacks.
Also, this year, they added a pop-up cafeteria.
Visit also the Cast Iron Art Museum
Across the street from the NordArt is the so-called Eisenkunstguss Museum, a museum showing a vast collection of cast iron works. After extensive remodeling, the museum was reopened in 2016. A media guide navigates visitors through the exhibition that has many interactive features as well as hands-on stations.
A visit to this museum is particularly recommendable until the beginning of October since they have a fantastic special exhibition. Serbian sculptor Danijela Pivašević-Tenner made popular disposable products from ceramics and put them randomly between the objects on display. As randomly as we find this harmful waste anywhere. The titles of her work allude to the amount of waste: The PET bottles are titled One Million per Minute, the FFP2 masks Three Million per Minute, and the disposable cup series 320,000 per Hour. These numbers are absolutely shocking.
The Eisenkunstguss Museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday between noon and 5 p. m. You can visit it for free with your NordArt ticket. Otherwise, the general admission fee is 5 €uros.
Make Time for a Stroll Through Rendsburg and the Sculpture Park
Rendsburg is not that big, yet, a stroll through the center is quite enjoyable.
You’ll get to see lots of traditional North German architecture and if you still have capacities to relish more art, they have a lovely park with some interesting sculptures from different art epochs.
Plan Your Visit
How to Get There
The most convenient way to get to Rendsburg is by train. You get there for instance from Hamburg in less than 90 minutes, from Lübeck in 2 hours, and from Berlin – via Hamburg – in about 3,5 hours. Then, it’s a 20 minute walk from the train station to the Kunstwerk Carlshütte.
Here’s a special tip for you Germany-travellers: For about 25 Euro you can travel an entire day by train within every federal state. However, you are only allowed to take regional trains, not IC or ICE. The best part is: each further person pays only 4 Euro, up to 5 persons can travel on one regional day ticket.
Büdelsdorf is in Schleswig-Holstein, and the day ticket for one person is 28 Euro.
June to August 2022
Due to the high energy and fuel prices, the German government agreed on a relief package for all citizens. Among other measures, it includes a so-called 9 €uros ticket. With this ticket, you can travel throughout Germany for the entire month of June, July respectively August.
That’s absolutely amazing, however, there are some minor strings attached. The 9 €uros ticket is only valid within Germany and exclusively in local and regional means of transport. Hence, the Eurocity, Intercity, and Intercity Express trains are excluded. However, you can use regular buses, trams, subways, and suburban trains as well as regional express trains for one month for 9 €uros all over Germany. In Hamburg and Berlin, you can even take ferries.
While the 9 €uros ticket is valid throughout Germany, it is not linked to German citizenship. Therefore, foreign visitors to Germany can use the 9 €uros ticket, too. Keep in mind that children under the age of six travel for free, anyway.
Just for the record: There is also a Flixbus going to Rendsburg, however, it’s not a valid alternative. It takes as long as the train but is less comfortable and just a couple of €uros cheaper. Also, during the summer months, while there is this amazing 9 €uro offer, it’s totally not worth the hassle.
Still need more info? In my post All you need to know before going to GERMANY I’m answering all the questions you might have before and during your trip to Germany. This way, your stay will be smoother and more enjoyable.
Opening Hours And Tickets
In 2022, the NordArt takes place from June 4 till October 9. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday between 11 a. m. and 7 p. m.
On this map, you get an idea of how to get to the NordArt and also of what else to see in Rendsburg. Clicking on the slider symbol at the top left or the full-screen icon at the top right will display the whole map including the legend.
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Disclaimer: NordArt granted me free entrance to write about this year’s edition. Howsoever, all opinions in this post are mine and were by no means influenced by my cooperation partner.