and Worms

from Ulrike Schäfer

Photo: Nibelungenmuseum ..

Worms and the Nibelungenlied today

When, in the 90s, plans for a Nibelungenlied museum were presented, they met with disapproval of the local population. Meanwhile many people have worked on the subject and, above all, on the Nibelungenlied itself, in many ways. Three years ago, the Nibelungenlied Society was founded, which in co-operation with the municipality organises symposia every year with academics from throughout Germany and Europe, but also arranges for mediaeval pageants, processions and fairs.

Last year in August, the Nibelungenmuseum at the city wall was finally opened. The city does have some valuable editions of the Nibelungenlied, but none of the famous manuscripts and nothing from that time. So the city resolved to use the new media to create a museum of themes. The former burghers' tower was designed as the Video Tower. A sceptre-shaped object rises in the centre of the tower. Covered all over with illustrations of the Nibelungs from different centuries, film clips, cross references to all times to the present, it features all aspects of the epic and encourages visitors to think about it. They are guided by the "author" himself, as it were, who in a historicizing language speaks about the origins, the development and the reception history of the work.Clips from the film "Siegfried's Death" (from 1923) and its sequel "Kriemhild's Vengeance" (from 1924) run like a thread up to the spire. In the Audio Tower visitors can listen to extracts from the Nibelungenlied in Middle High German and access information about almost everything concerning the poem.
High above the town, the museum deals
with the geographical dimension of the Nibelungenlied. Underground, in the so-called Treasure Room, computer simulations are supposed to give you an impression of the ancient saga world.


In summer another event will deal with the Nibelunglied, the Nibelungenfestspiele, the story written by a young, very successful German author, director and actors (eg. Mario Adorf) are very prominent. Perhaps that will be a new renaissance of the old story.

Mario Adorf, Nibelungenfestspiele Worms, 2002, photo by Rudolf Uhrig