Children's mine

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The Kinderzeche is a historical children's and homeland festival in the former imperial city of Dinkelsbühl . The origin of the former school festival was probably the founding of the Latin schools in the cities of the Swabian Association of Cities or Swabian Reichskreis around 1500. Since the Kinderzeche developed from a school festival, which led to a high participation of children and young people The historical festival and the parade through the city are now an integral part of the collective consciousness of the population. Citizens of all generations in Dinkelsbühl celebrate the historically unproven story that a nanny (Kinderlore) with a group of children was able to do what all councilors could not do: during the Thirty Years' War, dissuade the Swedish conquerors from destroying and looting the city. Due to the events and encounters beyond the festival and the parade (e.g. “Schwedenlager” in front of the city), getting dressed and moving in 17th century clothing is becoming increasingly important for those involved.

Origin and development of the Kinderzeche

Today's Dinkelsbühler Kinderzeche has its likely roots in the Catholic choir school system, as can be deduced from an exchange of letters from 1475. From 1629 onwards, the reward for their services developed into the Zechgeld of the Catholic Latin students and their school leaving at the beginning of the holiday in a village economy, namely the Catholic School Mine. The “Zechgeld” for pupils in 1629 can be clearly identified in an invoice entry for the Catholic scholarship holder as well as in the Catholic church administration. In the latter it is said that magisters and cantors receive 3 guilders "when they took the youth out to drink". An evangelical Latin school was forbidden because the magistrate was purely Catholic at the time. It was not until three years after the introduction of a parity, biconfessional council constitution in 1649 that a separate Protestant Latin school could be opened, so that from 1654 an Evangelical Kinderzeche took place that included not only the Latin students but also the children of the Protestant German School. From 1666 the city chamber regularly paid the children 4 guilders at their respective colliery. Until the end of the imperial city in 1802, the two school celebrations were always denominational and held separately for one week. The Catholic Schulzeche became a festival with dances in the school, while the Evangelical Kinderzeche expanded as a school festival into the city folk festival on the Schießwasen. The children's excerpt, including festivities, was first described in a travelogue in 1788, when the boys dressed in fantasy uniforms. After Dinkelsbühl had become a royal Bavarian country town in 1806, they wandered the streets in Bavarian Landwehr uniforms.

Children's mine (1864)

From 1848, historicization began by linking the Evangelical Children's Mine with the events of 1632, namely the surrender of the city to the Swedes on May 11, 1632 in the Thirty Years' War without a fight. The children were given "Swedish uniforms", the saying of the Little Colonel was composed in which a crowd of children softened the enemy's heart. From 1865, a few Catholic children began to move with them. With the historical festival by Ludwig Stark in 1897, who invented the children's cart as an opponent of Colonel Sperreuth , and a historical parade, the former school celebrations became a local festival in which the schools continue to move and participate with dances. Corresponding festivals in other Swabian imperial cities are z. B. the stick festival in Nördlingen , the dance festival in Kaufbeuren , the May Day in Göppingen or the rod festival in Ravensburg .

Boys' chapel

Boys' band at the children's parade

In 1868 the boys' band, which is now well known far beyond Dinkelsbühl, was founded. She was 20 men strong and also wore “Swedish uniforms”, which is why she was called “Swedish Music”. Today it has 120 members and wears the same uniforms as the so-called boys' battalion, the rococo uniforms of the Baden-Durlach regiment, to which Dinkelsbühl belonged during the imperial city period.

Historical children's mine from 1897

Starting in 1897, Ludwig Stark 's “historical festival” supplemented the Kinderzeche and made it known beyond the borders of Germany. It was in keeping with the spirit of the times to bring the story back to life through amateur playgroups. However, the links between the festival and the city's past were often forcibly constructed. Dinkelsbühl was handed over to the Swedes by the council without a fight and welcomed by the majority Protestant citizenship. As a concession to the audience, Stark framed the fable of the children being saved with the children's cart. In Dinkelsbühl the game was able to tie in with a legend with children that had remained alive for generations. The first performance of the festival on July 12, 1897 was a complete success. Since the roles were and are played by citizens of Dinkelsbühl, the festival established itself as a piece of local culture. With the introduction of the festival, the boys 'battalion and the boys' band were also redesigned. Their uniforms were meant to be a reminder of a different era in the city's history, the end of the imperial city period. They received the uniforms of the Baden-Durlach regiment, to which the imperial cities of Dinkelsbühl and Kaufbeuren provided contingents, with the captain from the larger imperial city of Kaufbeuren.

The background for the children's cart in the festival, a Joan of Arc role, is provided by the Thirty Years War, during which the imperial city of Dinkelsbühl was occupied eight times without ever being destroyed. You can read this u. a. in the diary of the Landsknecht Peter Hagendorf , "A mercenary life in the 30 years war", in which he a. a. describes his multiple billeting in Dinkelsbühl.

Role of the children's cart

This is a girl who, through her courageous actions, has put the enemy in a mild mood.

The “venerable high councilors of the city of Dinkelsbühl” disagreed at the decisive council meeting on whether the Catholic ruled city (but actually at most 30% of the citizens were Catholic) should be left to the Protestant Swedes or whether resistance should be offered. However, the councilors soon realized that this rejection was hopeless and were ready to hand over the city to the Swedes after a long period of resistance in the hope of sparing them.

One of the Swedish negotiators had inadvertently made the remark that the young son of the Swedish military leader had died shortly before. Lore, the daughter of the town watchman, had found out about this, and she had an idea: she gathered the town's children around her.

When the Swedish military leader announced when the city was surrendered that he would punish it for its resistance, allow it to be plundered by his soldiers and then destroy it, Lore and the children moved in front of the military leader and asked for mercy for the city for the sake of the children . The leader, still in mourning at the death of his son, was so touched that he actually spared Dinkelsbühl.

Kinderzeche today

The Kinderzeche has developed into the central festival of the citizenship in Dinkelsbühl. We have succeeded in combining the separate school celebrations as the roots of the festival with the historicization around the legend of the saving of the city by children into one unit. Boys 'battalion, exodus of the schoolchildren, their round dance and the children' s gazes as a gift of the citizens have been preserved and completed with a festival and a Swedish camp. More than 1100 active participants take part every year.

Most of the funding comes from our own resources, i.e. from the sale of festival badges, entrance fees and donations from the population. The dates of this extremely important event for the city of Dinkelsbühl are the weekends before and after the third Monday in July every year.

Also part of the Kinderzech festival week is the folk festival on the "Schießwasen" combined with the wide range of rides and beer tents, which is also of great importance for parts of the population. For the people of Dinkelsbühl, the "Schießwasen" represents the secular part of the children's mine.

The Kinderzeche has been included in the register of the intangible cultural heritage of the Free State of Bavaria since December 2014 and thus meets the Unesco criteria for the Convention on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Kinderzeche has been included in the register of intangible cultural heritage of the Federal Republic of Germany since December 2016.

Kinderzech 'armory

Since October 2006, a "walk-in magazine" has been built in the old grain barn, Bauhofstrasse 43 with funds from the German Foundation for Monument Protection , the Free State of Bavaria, the Hesselberg region, the city of Dinkelsbühl and the children's mine.

This "Kinderzech'-Zeughaus" houses the costumes, shoes, weapons and leather goods of the Kinderzeche, but is also open to visitors as a walk-in magazine with a museum character. Guided tours give an impression of the event all year round.

There, lesson content that deals with the idea of ​​home and customs is conveyed in a real historical setting. There is also the opportunity to teach students old craft techniques such as B. to make the saddlery or the shoemaker's trade tangible.

The Kinderzech'-Zeughaus has been recognized as a museum since January 2009.


  • Gerfrid Arnold: Dinkelsbühl. Because of the children in school. The Dinkelsbühl collieries in the imperial city period . Verlag am Roßbrunnen Hanns Bauer, Dinkelsbühl 1994 (346 pages).
  • Karl Fischer: Dinkelsbühl children's mine. How children save their city in the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War , Riedel, Gunzenhausen 1998.
  • Hans-Peter Mattausch (Ed.): The children's mine. The children's and homeland festival of the city of Dinkelsbühl (revised and supplemented work of the same title by Fritz Döderlein, 1951), BoD, Norderstedt 2005, ISBN 3-8334-2580-6 .
  • Hans-Peter Mattausch (Ed.): From the old grain barn to the armory of the children's mine , BoD, Norderstedt 2007, ISBN 978-3-8334-9053-8 .
  • Jan Peters (Hrsg.): A mercenary life in the 30 years war. A source for social history , Akademischer Verlag, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-05-001008-8 .
  • Adolf Lober: From the boys 'Bauckenschlagern 1552 to the boys' chapel in 2002 . Published by the city of Dinkelsbühl in 2002.
  • Gerhard Gronauer: Children's mine in Dinkelsbühl. A Protestant pastor plays a Catholic zealot , in: Sunday paper. Evangelical weekly newspaper for Bavaria (32/2016), p. 11. URL: .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dinkelsbühl [LK Ansbach]; HHSD VII, p. 142ff.
  2. ^ Gerfrid Arnold: Catholic school mine and Evangelical children's mine . In: Alt-Dinkelsbühl 1992, pp. 20-23.
    Ders .: Because of the Schulzech children , 1994.
    Ders .: The Dinkelsbühl collieries from 1450–1897. For the 100th anniversary of the Festspeiel . In: Alt-Dinkelsbühl, 1997, pp. 18-23.
    Ders .: The children's mine in 1848 - the beginning of its historicization with the Swedish uniform . In: Alt-Dinkelsbühl, 2012, p. 25 f.
    Ders .: The children's mine in 1863 and 1865, theater and fun in Pankraz Dumpert's “Dinkeslbühlensia”. In: Alt-Dinkelsbühl, 2012, p. 27 f.
    Ders .: The city treasury donated the Protestant and Catholic schoolchildren to their mines - new knowledge through children's sources from 1632 to 1710. In: Alt-Dinkelsbühl, 2012, pp. 28–32.
    Wolfgang Lang: The "Lore" myth and the history of the festival . In: Festschrift 1997. Yearbook of the historical association "Alt-Dinkelsbühl" , pp. 5–18.
    Peter Hammerich: 100 Years Festival "Die Kinderzeche zu Dinkelsbühl" by Ludwig Stark , ibid, pp. 19–48.
    Adolf Lober, Isgart Erhard, Hermann Meyer: To the Kinderzeche before 1897 , ibid, pp. 49–68.
    Isgart Erhard: On the uniform of the boys 'band and the boys' battalion , ibid., Pp. 69–72.
    Hermann Meyer: The development of the children's mine 1897–1997 , ibid, pp. 73–114.
  3. Gerfrid Arnold: The Dinkelsbühler Kinderzeche. Legend and reality. In: Treffpunkte 6, reader for the Bavarian secondary school 1998, p. 18 f.