No, not the sister city in Bavaria – the Minnesota edition!
New Ulm, Minnesota is probably one of the most German towns in America – not least because their great marketing efforts, who are claiming that they are Minnesota’s State Capital for fun. The mascot Hermann the German is the city’s tour guide and shows visitors that Germans have more fun!
The city is a about a two hour drive from Minneapolis and located in a landscape that resembles southern Germany – which can best be seen from the top of the Hermann the German Monument. Be aware that a little climbing of a ladder is involved in getting all the way to the top.
A must-stop is the Glockenspiel with it’s 12 figures displaying the community’s heritage and 37 bells playing. On the other side of town, a heritage tree displayes a variety of scenes and buildings of New Ulm’s history.
Another monument reminds of the German-Bohemian Immigration complete with family names and maps of the “Alte Heimat” and “New Homeland”. The “Guten Tag Haus” is an absolute must-visit, its a paradise of German merchandise. From the obligatory christmas items to songcards with the national anthem and importet foods, one can find anything and everything here. Also some cross-cultural items are sold here, such as a nutcracker in a US-Army Uniform.
The Turner Hall, erected by the New Ulm Turnverein, served many years as a community center and still houses a Ratskeller (restaurant) as well as event spaces. The interior is decorated entirely with murals from Germany, Switzerland and the Alsace, luckily there is a sign indicating the locations of the painted scenes. I tried an appetizer marked as typical German called the Reuben Balls or the Herman Balls, however, they reminded me of the “Bitterballen” in thr Netherlands. Oh well. The beer from the local German-immigrant-founded Schell brewery (guided tours available) was pretty good though!
When in Minneapolis, New Ulm is definetly worth a visit – it’s a fun little town!
Visit New Ulm Website: www.newulm.com