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Planning of a village in the museum

The Paderborn Village is the largest and at the same time most diverse building group in the open-air museum. It comprises about 40 buildings from the late Middle Ages to modern times and is dedicated to the typical settlement conditions in south-eastern Westphalia (districts of Höxter, Paderborn, parts of the districts of Lippe, Soest and Gütersloh as well as Hameln-Pyrmont and Holzminden on the Weser) in the state of development around 1900. The villages of Godelheim and Sommersell from the district of Höxter were taken into account in the planning.

The predominant form of settlement in south-eastern Westphalia is the clustered village. It emerged in the late Middle Ages from older individual farms and hamlets (small groups of farms) of the High Middle Ages. Large parish villages as spiritual centres were created around medieval parish churches.

In the early modern period, population growth led to a densification of settlements in the villages, for example through the settlement of cotters (from the 16th century) and residents of small homesteads (18th / 19th century). Typical spatial structures of the developed village are a network of streets and paths, a central point with a church and churchyard on a green or brink (village square). Larger farms were either located on the outskirts or on the main street. In between, smaller homesteads settled, which were opened up by laid-out intermediate paths and advanced the intra-urban networking.

How is a village created in a museum?

The planning concept for the Paderborn Village group is based on extensive research from 1973, which was resumed in 1985. A revised concept is still being updated today. From the beginning, in addition to rural settlement features, small-town structures were also always in focus.

In the end, often only the legal status decided whether a closed settlement was a village or a small town. So the differences were sometimes small.

The urban element was already included in the first constructions of the Paderborn Village in the 1970s and 1980s. Such as the Schönhof from Wiedenbrück, the Haus Stahl from Gütersloh, the Haus Düsterdieck from Holzminden, and the craftsman’s house from Blomberg. More recently, the Haus Schwenger from Rheda and the Haus Roland from Obermarsberg were added in the east of the Paderborn Village.

Typical for a village, large village, or a small town of modern times is their very mixed social structure. Around 1900, usually only ten percent of the inhabitants in the villages were farmers by profession. The remaining inhabitants earned their income with agricultural side jobs, as craftsmen, innkeepers, merchants, day labourers, retirees, servants, and maids. In addition, there were individual office holders, such as the pastor, a steward or administrator, and teachers.

This diversity is reflected in the building structure of the Paderborn Village. In addition to distinctly rural-farming homesteads, there are also those with a stronger urban character. Special buildings, such as a school or a church with a cemetery, could be added in the future.