Factory Experience Highlights
In late March/early April 2022, eggersmann usa hosted a trip for select designers, builders, and architects to visit the eggersmann factory in Hiddenhausen, Germany, the Schmalenbach factory in Gummersbach, and other exciting area sightseeing activities. Future participants in Factory Experience tours will include eggersmann Concierge Program members. If you are a designer, builder, or architect, learn more about how to join our Concierge Program.
The eggersmann factory shown in the image, though a new state-of-the-art German cabinet manufacturing facility, has been on the same site since 1908.
Day 1 – Herford, Germany
After arriving at the Frankfurt airport midday, the group made its way through EU Border Control and Customs. Then they boarded a private bus bound for Herford. Upon arrival, we checked into Hotel zur Fürstabtei. Some rested, others explored on their own amid the historical Herford, founded in 789 by Charlemagne.
The group enjoyed a mini-Italian vacation vicariously through dinner at La Perla. Though choosing to dine in an Italian restaurant in Germany may seem unusual, it is not to be missed. Owners, Rajdin Özden and Bledar Andrea, serve up authentic Mediterranean cuisine such as antipasti, homemade pasta, pizzas baked in the traditional stone oven, decadent desserts, as well as an incredible selection of wines and draft beers.
Day 2 – Eggersmann Factory Tour
Michael Brinkjost, senior leader of eggersmann, shared a tour of the Hiddenhausen showroom and German cabinetry factory. He shared and demonstrated some of eggersmann’s latest materials, finishes, and innovations for 2022. The group had interesting discussions about luxury cabinetry design trends and the complete customization processes used by eggersmann.
After a brief respite at the hotel, the group returned to the factory to participate in a live cooking event led by Chef Marc from Elsbach, Austria. Who knew making pasta together could be so fun! And, of course, it was delicious.
Day 3 – Stone Shop and Bell Foundry
After a leisurely breakfast, the team boarded a private bus to travel a couple hours west near the border of The Netherlands to the small town of Gescher. There we stopped at eggersmann’s SWK Unique Stone Shop. The group were treated to an insider’s view of our stone cabinetry is built with exacting precision along with creating our custom motion moving countertops and other stonework.
After lunch catered in the shop, we got back on the bus for a short drive to tour Petit & Gebr Edelbrock, a bell and casting manufacturer. The guides at the bell factory made learning about the casting process and the various types of bells very interesting.
Returning to Herford, the group posed for a picture in front of MARTa Herford then dined at Wohnzimmer Restaurant, one of the top restaurants in the city near the MARTa. The team soaked up the wine, beer, and exceptional German and Mediterranean dishes in a warm ambiance.
Day 4 – Gummersbach / Drachenfels
After breakfast at the hotel, we headed about 4 hours southwest of Herford to Gummersbach where we checked in at the Die Mühlenhelle (windmill) hotel and enjoyed lunch nearby.
Then off to Drachenfels for a ride up the Drachenfels Railway to visit to Schloss Drachenburg (Drachenburg Castle). So much to see here to see. The Drachenburg Castle’s rich and varied history was dramatic from its beginnings.
The imaginative structure was the dream of an innkeeper’s son who made his fortune in the stock market then proceeded to not only build a one-of-a-kind residence here, but also helped finance the Suez Canal. Read more about the architect and later history as a summer resort, amusement park, Red Cross shelter for women, Christian boys’ school, its fate during WWII, and finally, its restoration that began in the late 1980s.
Drachenfels Railway Video
Drachenburg Castle Video
After exploring the Castle, the group reboarded the funicular to Drachenburg Mountain Station for a more advantaged viewpoint of the magnificent German landscape.
Rhine River Cruise
Returning to the Rhine River, the troop enjoyed an evening boat trip. Welcomed aboard by the captain’s dog, the canine performed the perfunctory duty of ringing the bell to shove-off. Aboard, the group enjoyed the music of a German oom-pah band, some giving in to the rhythm’s call to dance.
Mechanical Oom-Pah Band
The cruise afforded exquisite river views along the Rhine of intriguing sites such as the Hotel Petersberg, a hotel and official guest house of the Federal Republic of Germany, referred to by Germans as the “Bundesgästehaus”.
After a busy day of sightseeing, the hungry group assembled for dinner at Haus im Turm, the central attraction of the winery by the same name as well as the Rhöndorf inn. Located at the foot of the legendary Drachenfels, its history can be traced back to the Middle Ages. We were unable to take advantage of dining al fresco due to the unexpected April snow and cold temperatures, but the wine and deliciously prepared meals were still perfect.
Day 5 – Cologne / Köln
After breakfast at the hotel, the group set out for a visit to the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral). The edifice is one of the most recognizable in the world. It is a UNESCO site and the single most visited landmark in Germany. Its 19th-century towers are still the second-tallest structures in the city. Its history dates back to the 12th century with construction over centuries, occasionally interrupted. But the site itself before the cathedral was built has an even richer history. The Cologne Cathedral was conceived to hold the reliquary of the Three Kings where it has resided since 1164.
No matter your interest in art, architecture, and history, there is something here for everyone such as a 10th-century Gero-Kreuz crucifix, stained glass windows from the 1500s, a black marble high altar from the 1300s carved with niches featuring images from the Coronation of the Virgin, and an architectural wonder in its structure. But, of course, the gilded shrine of the Three Kings is what most people visit for. It is a triple sarcophagus decorated by Nicholas of Verdun with 12th-century reliefs of episodes from the life of Christ, prophets and apostles.
Lunch was enjoyed at FRÜH Gastronomie, a delightful restaurant in the traditional German brewery, makers of Kölsch.
Thoroughly refreshed, the merry band walked a short distance to the Kolumba Kunstmuseum. This “museum of thoughtfulness” was developed in the early 90s by a team led by Joachim M. Plotzek. Though several years of curating numerous exhibitions and events, Kolumba finally found a permanent residence in its new building in September 2007. Kolumba exhibits invite the spectator to examine how life has become art.
The group then ventured over to the Rheinauhafen, Koln’s riverfront district, for a guided tour.
Dinner at SinThorn Thai was a welcome point of relaxation and re-fueling. Superbly prepared southeast Asian cuisine with the freshest ingredients came to the table with the exotic scents of coriander, lemongrass, basil, ginger, chili peppers, and garlic. The food was as cozy and the décor of this restaurant eclipsed only by the panoramic view of the adjacent Aggertalsperre lake.
Day 6 – Schmalenbach Factory
After a good night’s rest and breakfast at the Die Mühlenhelle hotel, Karsten Schmalenbach of Schmalenbach Design welcomed the team to the showroom in Gummersbach. Karsten shared some of the latest finishes, materials, and solutions they offer for wardrobes and home living.
Then the group lunched at restaurant 32 Süd in Halle 32 enjoying modern mountain cuisine with über fresh seasonal ingredients and tantalizing presentation in a wide variety of cuisines.
After lunch the group discussed material design and related innovations sharing their diverse experiences as designers, architects, and builders.
Following dinner at Die Mühlenhelle hotel, the team prepared to return to Frankfurt to fly back to the US.
Lots of Fun
The entire team enjoyed the many discussions, personal and professional, the varied sights and flavors of Germany, and just having a good ol’ time.