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Huts, hut row, gademes, or small houses

The typical building stock of north-western German cities since the late Middle Ages included not only large and magnificent citizen houses but also many small, usually modest, unadorned residential buildings, which were referred to as “stalls”, “Gademe” or “small houses”. These were the homes of the poorer urban population, including maids, servants, and craftsmen or day labourers with their families. The living conditions in them were modest. The houses were very small, had only one or two floors, and thus contained only a few rooms.

Often they stood directly on the roadside and also had only a little own courtyard behind the house. The residents were usually not the owners, but tenants. Often, as non-citizens, they did not even have the right to acquire land and property in the city. Owners were instead mostly members of the urban upper class, sometimes also churches and monasteries. They could earn additional income by renting these buildings (rent).

Most of these small rental houses were located on rather insignificant side streets, in the outskirts of the city, or around the churchyard. Many small houses were built with the eaves side to the street, several in a row under a common roof - as Gadem rows or stall lines.

In addition to the widespread rental cottages, there were also small houses that were owned by their residents. The attractiveness of the small houses declined over time due to the perceived cramped living conditions. This could be solved in individual cases by merging two living units into one large apartment. However, there were often building demolitions. Today, even in cities with a lot of historical building fabric, only a few Gademe or stalls are preserved.

In Detmold, for the first time in an open-air museum in Germany, such a building is being rebuilt.

Budenzeile Tribenstraße 18, 20, and 22 from Herford

The Budenzeile (hut row) refers to a row of rental houses (originally in the form of two “double booths”) that were built on the backyard area of the bourgeois property Bügelstraße 3 in Herford. At their core, they are half-timbered buildings from the 17th century with younger modifications from the early 19th and early 20th century, including a repair after a fire in 1815.

The city of Herford had dismantled the Budenzeile in 1977 to make room for the construction of a new department store and at the same time with the intention of rebuilding the booths elsewhere in the city layout. The project was not implemented. Instead, the open-air museum took over the dismantled building in 2016.

The restoration work on the half-timbered framework began in December 2023. As a first step, the left part of the Budenzeile - corresponding to the old house numbers Tribenstraße 18 and 20 - is to be rebuilt in the museum. House number 22 will follow later.