A museum about pigs? My curiosity was wide awake after reading about it, so I dedicated a free afternoon in Stuttgart to this museum.
They claim to be the world’s biggest pig museum, but – well, first, they love superlatives in Stuttgart and everything there claims to be the world’s greatest or biggest. Second, I wonder how many more pig museums exist in the world at all. But let’s leave it at that…
The pig tram from Basel in front of the museum
The museum is based upon a private collection. Its original location was in Bad Wimpfen. Only a couple of years ago it moved to Stuttgart, where it obtained a larger building with more room for the growing collection.
The museum occupies the former administration building of the city’s abattoir – a location that befits the topic. The slaughterhouses have long been moved out of the city and the grounds of the abattoir have been refurbished for other purposes. Most buildings have been demolished. Only the administration building, the police station and the house of the janitor remained.
In 2010 the buildings were bought by a certain lady named Erika Wilhelmer, who is the landlady of a well-known wine restaurant in Stuttgart as well as an avid collector of pigs and anything pig-related, and owner of the pig museum in Bad Wimpfen. She chose to combine her profession and hobby in these buildings, opened a restaurant and beer garden on the ground floor and established the pig museum on the upper floors.
This museum is a fun attraction that can well be added after “serious” sightseeing to relax and enjoy. It is one of those really full museums which are made for looking round, exploring, discovering rather than didactic purposes, although there are thematic rooms and the exhibits are sorted by topic. There is something about the biology of the pig, about wild boars, about pork and cooking, a strongroom with thousands of piggy banks, pigs in art, pig toys, domestic pig races and pig breeding, pig-shaped kitchen and bathroom utensils, books about pigs from cookbooks to children’s stories and agriculture, pigs in ancient myths, pigs in movies… and also a ‘naughty’ room with Schweinereien to entertain adults. One room explains and illustrates common German sayings that involve pigs (like the pig being a symbol of good luck). Some items are valuable artworks, others are cheap little things. The rooms are filled to the brim with a gigantic collection of pig images, figurines of all sizes, plush animals, wooden pigs, plastic pigs, pottery pigs, paper pigs, metal pigs, glass pigs… The rooms are very full, but not messy. Even the tiniest pieces are neatly assorted into showcases, shelves and type cases, and not a speck of dust anywhere. They must dedicate hours to dusting every day.
Explanations are in German but, actually, you do not need any explanations to enjoy 98% of the collection. Only when it comes to these sayings and puns, translations would be helpful to visitors who don’t speak German. (On the other hand, come to think of it, if you have to explain a joke it isn’t funny anymore.)
Visiting the museum may take about an hour at relaxed pace. Then it is time for some refreshment. The restaurant and beer garden are an inviting addition. There is the restaurant on the ground floor, the serviced terrace right outside, and the self-service beer garden on the right. The beer garden also serves food, but in accordance with beer garden traditions there you are welcome to bring and consume your own food while you buy drinks from them.
It was a hot afternoon when I visited, and I had an hour left until I had to catch my train at the central station. The prospect of a cool beer or Radler in the shade of a tree was indeed appealing. I tried hard to resist the temptation but did not succeed…
Getting there: U9 to “Schlachthof”, runs every 10 minutes during the day.
Opening hours: daily 11:00 - 19:30
Entrance fee: adults 5.90 €, concessions 5 €, children 7-14 years 3 €, children 4-6 years 1.50 €, children under 4 are free.
The play room is full of pig-related toys
Plushies... I actually own one just like the young boar with the blue eyes, second left in the front row, which I got for my birthday from my grandparents as a child
Piggy banks in the strongroom
Good-luck greeting cards, most of them for New Year
The description of an ideal new employee or perfect project, the dream of every boss, is the proverbial Eierlegende Wollmilchsau, the egg-laying, wool-growing, milk-giving sow.
... now this is what we call a big Sauhaufen!