During the corona crisis, the fearful summer vacationer was looking for an area with as few people as possible this year. The choice fell on Lüchow-Danennberg in Lower Saxony, also known as Wendland.
Already on arrival you will notice the many so-called hall buildings, whose name gives a reasonable impression of their size. Until the 19th century, a farmer and his family lived there, the harvest found a storage place and cows had their stables. In the 20th century, farmers gradually moved out. The houses stopped and became landmarks, which the surrounding communities want to officially declare as “World Heritage Sites” every few years with never-ending ambition.
Several hall buildings around a square result in a so-called Rundlingsdorf, each of which has its own mailbox and a bus stop. One of them is called Reddebeitz, where the holiday maker lives next to an indoor building in a nice gingerbread house. Groups of chickens, geese, dogs and cats can stroll from one property to the next in peace and quiet. At the edge of the square, older gentlemen meet several times a day on a bench for a chat. As they talk, they watch a young mother hanging laundry in front of the house. Her daughter, who is about five years old, has crouched on the lawn a few meters away and pensively observes the stockings and puffy shirts that are occasionally pushed back and forth by a breeze. Another neighbor accompanies a domestic pig as if he were going for a walk with the ungulates. Places like this could also appear in one of the stories loved by children about old Pettersson and his cat Findus. The condescending adult, on the other hand, only recognizes a place here that hibernates even in midsummer.
The entire region only gets nationwide attention when demonstrators try again to stop one of the Castor trains that transport nuclear waste to the interim storage facility in Gorleben, just a few kilometers away. But what the media consumer escapes and only reveals to the visitor on site is the cultural scene that the political protest over the years and decades created here. Because in the Wendland people live and work who not only moved here because of higher rents in the cities, but because it just inspires the feeling that is only astonishing for tourists that they are the most likely to find out which theater they are doing and which one They play jazz or what kind of wooden sculptures they want to create.
Ulli Schröder was also inspired. Even if you can hardly see that at the moment, because he is so relaxed on a sofa that is in the middle of the Stones Fan Museum in Lüchow that he initiated and operated. Schröder listens patiently to a lady who is not so interested in Schröder’s favorite band, the Rolling Stones, but wants to tell him about her last visit to the doctor. The museum operator in the town is also a social factor.
Schröder’s unbroken enthusiasm for the English band since adolescence brought him the attention of their guitarist Ron Wood after a concert of his idols. For his 50th birthday, the musician invited him to Dublin in 1997 to celebrate. When both of them had reached a tidy mood, Wood asked the guest from Germany whether he would continue to make a living with “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll” in the future. Schroeder replied that he got along quite well without drugs, but had something left for the rest.
He then found an empty building in the old town of Lüchow, which had once been a supermarket. He met with the city council, explained his plans, and Schröder’s enthusiasm must have passed, because now he received help in gutting and renovating the property.
His efforts culminated in an exhibition where visitors can see how much the Rolling Stones can do if you are a real fan. You can see painted self-portraits by Ron Wood as well as drawn caricatures of the singer Mick Jagger by Gottfried Helnwein and Manfred Deix. Stones puppets. Stones pinball machines. Keith Richards as a wobbling dachshund for the dashboard in the car. Promo jackets and pennants. Living room tables in the shape and color of the famous Rolling Stones tongue. Also some “Ron Wood Custom Shop” guitars, which of course were made according to Wood’s wishes.
The loving, splendid, colorful smorgasbord is reflected in Schröder’s clothing, which glows in all the colors of the rainbow. With his snow-white, long hair, he resembles a psychedelic Santa Claus. It is not so easy to imagine that Schröder worked as a bank clerk during the first half of his adult life. But no doubt he brought Lüchow a big sack full of presents. More will surely be added when the museum celebrates its tenth anniversary soon.