Hall house

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hallenhaus , mostly called the Low German Hallenhaus because of its regional connection , is a 13th-15th century building. Century residential stable house of the rural population in half-timbered construction . In earlier research it was called the Lower Saxony House and is popularly known by this term. It is a single house in which the apartment, stable room and harvest store are combined in one large house. This rural-peasant house type was widespread in the North German Plain from the Lower Rhine to the Pomerania until its decline in the 19th century . Hall houses still shape the appearance of many villages in Northern Germany, the Lower Rhine and Westphalia .

Hall House Dat groode Hus of 1795 in the museum courtyard Winsen
Heidemuseum Walsrode as a thatched hall house with a
crooked hip roof and horse head decorations on the top of the gable


The hall house is also known as a specialist hall house. In the scientific term, compartment does not stand for the framework of the walls, but for the large compartment between two pairs of wooden studs in the ceiling and the roof-bearing wooden inner structure, spaced about 2.5 m apart. Then the size of the house was also measured, the smallest were only 2 times larger , the largest with 10 times reached a length of about 25 m. The term hall results from the large Deele (hall). Low German describes the distribution area in the north German lowlands . Since almost all hall buildings are divided into so-called compartments, the addition “compartment” is not necessary.

Alternative names

In the past, other names were common for this house, derived from the construction method or regional distribution:

  • Flett-Deelen-Haus (refers to a common floor plan of the hall house)
  • Kübbungshaus (hall houses in two-column construction: eponymous are the so-called Kübbungen, non-load-bearing side aisles)
  • Lower Saxony House
  • Saxon house
  • Old Saxon farmhouse
  • Westphalian farmhouse
  • Westfalenhaus

“Lower Saxony house” is probably the most widespread and naturalized term, although it is not scientifically correct in terms of house research.

More terms

Because this type of farmhouse combines an apartment, stable and harvest store under one roof, it is also referred to as a single house , and the associated farm as a single roof courtyard . A special feature of the hall building is its longitudinal division , also known as a three-aisle structure. This division essentially distinguishes it from single houses in most other areas of Germany and Europe, in which traditionally transversely divided single houses like the Ernhaus were built, quite apart from courtyard forms, which already include several buildings with different functions in their basic form.

History of origin

Hall house in Other in the Netherlands with a wooden frame from 1385
Historic photo (approx. 1895) of a thatched hall house in Übüttel near Gifhorn , built in 1779

The hall house did not appear until the end of the Middle Ages. During the restoration of a hall house in Other, east of Assen in the Dutch province of Drenthe, at the beginning of the 21st century, it was found that the inner wooden framework had already been erected in 1385. The outer walls were redone in brick in the 18th and 19th centuries. Before that, with the non-load-bearing outer walls made of plastered wickerwork, it must have looked like the houses in pictures by Pieter Breughel . In the neighboring village of Annen there was a similar house from 1408 that burned down in 2011.

The oldest surviving houses of this type in Germany date from the late 15th century (for example in Schwinde , the Winsener Elbmarsch 1494/95). Regional differences express the adaptation to the landscape and climatic conditions. There were also social grades and developments over time. Initially, or in small versions of the house, people and cattle stayed in the different areas of a large room for a long time. Step by step, living spaces were separated from the agricultural area. First of all , sleeping chambers were partitioned off for the farmer and his family at the back of the house, for servants and maids above (Westphalia) or next to (Lower Saxony, Holstein) the stables on the side. Linen produced for sale was also stored in a special chamber . With the increasing need for comfort and representation, one or more heated rooms were created . Finally, the stove was moved from the Flett at the end of the hall to a closed kitchen.

Predecessor types

The hall house is similar in construction to the Neolithic nave , without any direct development being proven. The nave appeared for the first time in the band ceramic culture 7,000 years ago and has been archaeologically proven in various regions of Europe. a. in the ridge of the Ville west of Cologne. This differed from the following house types by its middle row of posts under the roof ridge. So it was not yet three-aisled, but four-aisle. First, the cattle were overnight in hurdles (= pens kept). With the transition from agriculture to permanent fields, the cattle were taken into the house, which became a residential stable .

The middle row of posts was later omitted, which included a change from the purlin roof to the rafter roof . These three-aisled long houses , often three-aisled residential stable houses , of the pre-Middle Ages were common in almost all of north-western Europe. Their roof construction still rested on posts dug into the ground and was therefore not very durable and not very stable. That is why these houses already had a rafter roof, but still no attic for storing the harvest. The outer walls consisted only of wattle.

In the houses of the nobility, the load-bearing wooden supports were placed on foundations made of wood or stone as early as the Carolingian era. In contrast to posts, these supports, called stands , are highly resilient and last several hundred years. In northern Germany, stands were not used for farmhouses until the 13th century. This enabled the houses to have a load-bearing attic . In the 15th and 16th centuries the technique of half-timbered construction was further perfected.


Distribution area of ​​the Hallenhaus (map: Germany within the borders of 1938)
Rundlingsdörfer in Wendland consist of hall houses arranged in a circle, here in Schreyahn

The Hallenhaus has a distribution area that extends over almost 1,000 km in length and roughly corresponds to the original Low German language area. In the west it still extends a bit into the Netherlands , whereby the lower height of the gable and attic, which is customary there, offers less storage space and thus reflects the earlier development from self-sufficiency to market orientation. From the Lower Rhine to western Mecklenburg, the hall house is the dominant type of house. Further to the east it occurs as far as the Gdańsk Bay , but it was or is more of a manor house and farmhouse accommodation that characterizes the landscape. In Schleswig-Holstein you can find it mainly south of the Eider , the former border of Denmark . In the northern Sauerland and Weserbergland there is less a sharp boundary than an increasing deviation from the basic scheme by reducing the area in sloping terrain. In southern Lower Saxony, Hessian four-sided farms extend far into the Low German-speaking area. In East Lower Saxony, the distribution of Lower Saxony houses and square courtyards is nested like a mosaic. In Saxony-Anhalt there are none in the Magdeburger Börde , in the Altmark there are only a few hall houses.

The house is represented in the landscapes:

This means that the hall house type can also be found in the approximate settlement area of ​​the Germanic tribe of the Saxons . This led to the popular name "Niedersachsenhaus". The naming is based on the old Saxon cultural area in Lower Germany.

Regional characteristics

In northern Germany, hall houses have numerous regional forms, such as in the Vier- und Marschlanden near Hamburg and in the Altes Land near Stade . The street-side gable is built steeply in colorful brickwork and often protrudes. In addition, since the founding years from 1871, the house facades have been decorated with decorative shapes from classicism and the Renaissance . Gable construction and decoration are due to the proximity to the city of Hamburg. Another particularly impressive regional form of the Hallenhaus can be found in Artland near Osnabrück.

Neighboring farmhouse types

In addition to the multi-sided courtyards to the south, there is the historical type of Ernhaus , also known as a Central German or Franconian house. The northern neighbor of the Hallenhaus in the immediate North Sea coastal area was the Gulfhaus (also Ostfriesenhaus ), which is widespread in the marshland and later also in the Geest area from West Flanders , Friesland to Schleswig-Holstein (there as Haubarg ). It replaced the old Frisian farmhouse in the 16th century . Another northern neighbor in the Schleswig area is the Geesthardenhaus , which also occurs throughout Jutland and is therefore also called the Cimbrian house . Gable- facing apartment houses are to be assigned to northern Lower Saxony , eaves-facing apartment houses to southern Lower Saxony.


Hall house in Zeven -Brüttendorf 1905
Building length: length: 27 m, width: 13 m, height: 12 m
-Longitudinal section through the hall: left stable, right living area,
-cross-section at the height of the "Flett", the open kitchen
" Hof der Heidmark " a two-column house from 1642, formerly the " Bookholts Hof " from Osterheide
Three-column hall house in Streetz near Dannenberg (Elbe), 1768
Four-column hall house near Melle ( Osnabrücker Land )

The hall building's external identifying features are the large entrance gate on the gable end , the half-timbered construction and the large, low-lying roof. Originally it was thatched and therefore the last representatives with this roof covering are usually listed today .

The most essential structural feature of the house type, but not recognizable from the outside, is the wooden interior construction in post construction . This is the supporting part of the entire building. It was initially very resistant to the oak wood, from the 18th century with lower grade pine timbered . To protect against moisture, the wooden structure rests on a 50 cm high stone foundation, often made of field stones . The non-load-bearing walls of the building are in truss executed, wherein the intermediate spaces ( compartments ) initially with a wicker and clay grout and later with masonry were filled.

In damp moorland and marshland areas, the weather side of some houses was covered with a brick wall. In Westphalia, in addition to the usual half-timbered construction, there are also hall houses (mostly of the four-column type, see below) whose outer walls are made of quarry stone.

A basic distinction is made between two and four-column houses. As a transitional form, there is still the three-frame house.

Two-column house

Originally, the hall house was designed as a two-column house. Two rows of stands are set up on which the ceiling beams rest. The rows of uprights are arranged lengthways in the house and form the hallway characteristic of the house type . The two-frame house has flatter roof parts on the sides, formed by Auflanger and Aufschieblinge (Aufschieber), under which the cave (also Hille) lies. These lateral room extensions (also Kübbung, Niederlass, Zuspang or Abseite) with non-load-bearing side walls mainly contained the stables, they gave this type of house the name Kübbungshaus . This means that the attic is not supported by the outer walls, but only by two rows of uprights that are part of the Deelen walls.

Three-frame house

There is also the three-stand house. This is an asymmetrical deviation from the two- and four-column house in which the roof ridge is almost above one of the ceiling walls. On this side, the eaves are often at the height of the floorboards, as in the case of the four-frame house, while the lower part of the rafters is attached to the other side, as in the case of the two-frame house. Sometimes the lower part of the roof is hung on both sides.

Four-frame house

The construction of the four-column house represented a more comfortable further development of the two-column house and was built by wealthier farmers. The construction is based on four rows of uprights in the longitudinal direction, two of which are part of the core walls and two are part of the outer walls. The outer walls have a supporting function as supporting walls. In the houses of wealthy farmers, there is also a clearer separation between living spaces and stables.

Construction method of
I .: two-,
II .: three- and
III .: four-frame house

a) load-bearing posts (main frame )
b) eaves frame
c) main beam position
d) cave
e) rafters
f) stretcher
g) post

Through house

In addition to the normal floor plan, there were also houses with floorboards that had a large gate on both gable walls. In such transit houses , the ancillary rooms were inevitably distributed differently. The stove was also not in the usual place. This modification of the hall house can be found particularly often in Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania , occasionally also in Westphalia .

Roof shapes

Almost all houses in Westphalia have a gable roof. In the Sauerland, in parts of Lower Saxony and in Holstein there are also, in Mecklenburg almost only hall houses with a half-hip roof . A "pure" hipped roof is rare.

Gable shapes

The original location of the living in part of the hall (Deele, Deel) explains the position in which the hall house is presented. The living rooms are not, as with other single houses, on the front side, but at the rear. In the case of the Hallenhaus, the gable front with the hallway forms the visible side in most of the distribution area. The “Grotdörgiebel” ( large gate gable ) was designed accordingly carefully . The frame and especially the gate beam of the Grote Dör were provided with inscriptions and decorations. In simple houses, the gable field above is closed with vertical slats, in better houses the framework extends almost to below the ridge ( steep gable ). In the old country in particular , storey gables were preferred in which this framework protrudes in stages. In the Schaumburger Land and in the area around Hanover, many houses have an 80 ° pitched roof slope in the gable.

The rear gable with the living rooms was only given a special design in exceptional cases . For example, it became the show side in the Vierlanden .


Generalized floor plan of a (two-column) hall house
a) entrance
gate b) side gate
c) fireplace
d) hall
e) flett
f) stable
g) living room
h) fodder
i) servants
k) load-bearing wooden stand

In the 18th century the hall building reached dimensions of up to 50 m in length and 15 m in width. The house combined all the functions of rural life. In this way, all his property, his family and the servants were manageable for the farmer.


The most important and largest room in the hall building is the hall . Usually it is entered through the large, also semicircular gate ( Low German : “Grote Dör”, “Groot Dör”, “Grotendör”; Westphalian : “Niendöör”) on the gable side. The gate also served as an entrance for harvest wagons. Then you stand in the spacious hall (Low German: Deele, Del) or hall , hence the name “hall house”. The plank results from the space between the two load-bearing rows of wooden posts. With a rammed earth floor, it was the utility and work space of the house. Here the harvest was brought in and stored in the attic above. In it, weather-protected activities such as drying supplies, breaking flax , spinning or threshing grain could be carried out. Celebrations were also held in the hall and the deceased family members laid out. On both sides were the half-open stables (tubs) for cattle, such as horses and cows, as well as rooms for maids and servants . In the area of ​​the entrance gate, the poultry had their place on the edge of the hall. Pigs were banned from the start because of the smell in a separate pigsty outside the house. It was only since the living and hall areas were separated that pigs could be found there. The hall merged into the open living and kitchen area without separation, the "Flett".

Kitchen (Flett)

Open fireplace - Bomann Museum , Celle
Painting by Hermann Daur (1902): Frelsdorf - Interior of a Lower Saxony farmhouse

Originally, in the back of the house, at the end of the hall, was the Flett (from Middle Low German : vlet , vlete = floor), an open kitchen- cum- living room that took up the entire width of the house. The approximately 1.5 m² open fireplace was located in the middle of the Flett and was bordered with field stones. It was not a stove like in other areas. Many types of cooking were not possible under this condition. The pots had to be high enough, kettles were hung with kettle hooks on the frame hanging over the fire , a wooden structure often decorated with horse heads. Grapes - cooking pots with legs, mostly made of iron - could be placed directly in the embers. At night, an iron grate was put over the hearth fire to prevent animals (especially cats) from being “infected” by the fire and then burning and panicking the hay and straw on top of the “beam”. The wealthy had a brick arch instead of a wooden frame . The smoke escaped through a roof opening on the gable , the Ulenlock (Low German, High German owl hole ). Because of the initially open fireplace inside, such a smoke house was considered to be particularly at risk of fire in early fire insurance companies . The fire also heated the stable and living rooms of the hall building to a small extent . In this way, the crops stored in the attic were dried and protected from vermin by the smoke . When the peasant family and their servants gathered for meals, the best places were between the fire and the chambers. Due to the lack of a demarcation between the Deele and the attic, the temperature in Flett did not exceed 12 ° C in winter.

A later development was smoke extraction through a chimney . Even later there was a real stove with a brick chimney . This made cooking easier and the house smoke-free. In contrast, the stove was hardly a source of light and the heat output for heating the house deteriorated. One of the larger chambers was then converted into a living room, the separate oven of which was heated from the Deele. When the room layout of the house fundamentally changed in the 19th century, a separate kitchen was created in the rear living area of ​​the house. Functionally, the house, which was largely divided lengthways, had become a diagonally divided house.


Chamber with alcove foldaway bed

Originally there were only open dwellings in the back of the house on either side of the fireplace. There were tables, chairs and fold-away beds ( alcoves ), with direct contact with the cattle. Only when the need for living comfort increased after the Thirty Years War , extensions were added to the back of the house in the Flett. The name "chamber compartment" stands for the living area of ​​the house, which was 2 compartments , i.e. up to 6 meters wide. A later structural change was the addition of a cellar under the "chamber compartment", which was not deep. As a result, this area of ​​the house was raised like a pedestal compared to the hall and partially formed a gallery inside the larger four-column houses .


The most conspicuous decoration of the otherwise sober hall house is on the gable tops and consists of carved wooden boards depicting (stylized) horse heads . The boards also have constructive properties, as they protect the roof edge against wind. The use of horse heads is interpreted in such a way that they can be traced back to the Sachsenross as a tribal symbol of the Saxons . Their distribution as ridge tips is also reflected in the coats of arms of some north German communities. In some areas, e.g. B. in the Hanoverian Wendland , the top of the gable often carries an artfully turned pole instead, the turning stick .

Further decorations or house sayings can be found regularly as house inscriptions above the entrance gate. The main bar shows the name of the builder, the year of construction and often a building statement or an inscription. Occasionally (modest) decorations can be found in the framework of the front pediment . They are formed by a brick pattern in the compartments and represent, for example, windmills or trees as geometric figures.

Gate beams on hall houses with house inscriptions and builder information in Wedemark north of Hanover


At the end of the 19th century, the house type was no longer considered contemporary. What was once considered its great asset, namely having everything under one roof, now contributed to its decline. Increased living demands led to the fact that the smells and vapors from the animals and the manure were increasingly viewed as unhygienic. In addition, the living quarters had become too cramped for the residents. Higher harvest yields and agricultural machinery also required the construction of more modern buildings in the early days . The old stable pens are too small for today's cows. Fewer and fewer buildings of this type have been erected since the middle of the 19th century, and some of the existing ones have been adapted to the new requirements through renovations . However, the old buildings were often torn down to make way for new buildings. In the original distribution area of ​​the hall house, the Ernhaus type , whose characteristic is the separation of residential and stable buildings, increasingly prevailed .

Early documentation

Local researchers already described the decline of the house type at the beginning of the 20th century:

The present is cruelly and relentlessly clearing up these remnants of ancient culture. (Werner Lindner, 1912)

In view of the impending (cultural-historical) loss, they carried out an inventory, which is documented in extensively illustrated books (see below "Literature"). Around 1900, the author and farmhouse researcher Willi Pessler covered several thousand kilometers on foot, by train and by bike to explore the geographical distribution of the hall house (he called the old Saxon farmhouse). These early studies should be treated with caution, however, because the authors believed that they recognized the expression “German tribal science ” in the construction . Today they mixed ethnological , linguistic and biological theses that were no longer tenable . In their works, an anticipation of the blood-and-soil ideology of the National Socialists can be heard here and there:

The Saxons are distinguished from the other German tribes by a purer Germanic human type,
... more primitive architectural style.
(Willi Pessler, 1906)

Todays situation

The Hallenhaus is still represented in large numbers in rural areas today. However, the existing buildings have mostly undergone changes over the centuries as a result of renovations. Houses that have been preserved in their original form can mainly be found in open-air museums , such as the Westphalian open-air museum in Detmold and the museum village of Cloppenburg . For Schleswig-Holstein, the Schleswig-Holstein Open Air Museum in Kiel-Molfsee with its large collection of indoor houses and its neighbors is the most important. Several of these buildings also house the open-air museum on Kiekeberg and the Volksdorf museum village in Hamburg; Examples from the eastern area of ​​the Hallenhaus area can be found in the Schwerin-Mueß open-air museum and in the Klockenhagen open-air museum in the Vorpommern-Rügen district.

At the end of the 20th century, old half-timbered houses and with them the hall building gained renewed appreciation. In the course of a return to the past, many buildings have been restored and prepared for residential purposes. In different cities and towns, e.g. B. Wolfsburg-Kästorf , Isernhagen and Dinklage , new half-timbered houses emerged from the 1990s, the architecture of which is based on the historic hall houses.


  • Richard Andree : Braunschweiger Volkskunde. Brunswick 1901.
  • Karl Baumgarten : The German farmhouse, an introduction to its history from the 9th to the 19th century. Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-529-02652-2
  • Karl Baumgarten: The farmhouse in Mecklenburg. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1965, 1970 (new edition and title "Hallenhäuser in Mecklenburg".)
  • Karl Baumgarten: Landscape and Farmhouse in Mecklenburg. Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-345-00051-2
  • Konrad Bedal: Rural stand buildings from the 15th to 17th centuries in Holstein and southern Schleswig. Wachholtz, Neumünster 1977, ISBN 3-529-02450-3
  • Frank Braun, Manfred Schenkenberg: Rural half-timbered buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries in the Duchy of Lauenburg. Wachholtz, Neumünster 2001, ISBN 3-529-02597-6
  • Carl Ingwer Johannsen : The Low German Hall House and its outbuildings in the Lüchow-Dannenberg district. Dissertation. Braunschweig 1973.
  • Horst Lehrke: The Lower Saxony farmhouse in Waldeck (contributions to the folklore of Hesse, volume 8). 2nd edition, Marburg 1967
  • Werner Lindner: The Lower Saxony farmhouse. Hanover 1912.
  • Willi Pessler : The old Saxon farmhouse. Brunswick 1906.
  • Josef Schepers : House and farm of Westphalian farmers . 7., rework. Edition, Münster 1994.
  • Lutz Volmer: From the "Westphalian rural design". House construction in Ravensberg between 1700 and 1870 . Klartext Verlag, Essen 2011, ISBN 978-3-8375-0368-5
  • Heinz Riepshoff : The farmhouse from the 16th century to 1955 in the counties of Hoya and Diepholz. Ed .: Interest group Bauernhaus eV (IGB) and Landschaftsverband Weser-Hunte eV, o. O. 2016, ISBN 978-3-9815353-2-7 , 589 p. With numerous. Fig.

Web links

Commons : Hallenhaus  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hagenend 3. Encyclopedie Drenthe Online (Dutch).
  2. ^ Sijo Dijkstra: Verborgen Hout: De geschiedenis van de boerderij Hagenend 3 te other en zijn bewoners. Drents Plateau Foundation , Assen 2008.
  3. Eeuwenoude boerderij afgebrand. NOS , August 25, 2011 (Dutch).
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 13, 2006 .