Monday, December 20, 2010
Heini Holtenbeen is walking through the snow looking for a table. This is a bronze sculpture to be found at the corner “Hinter der Holzpforte” in Bremen's Schnoor. The sculptor is Klaus Homfeld (also: Claus Homfeld) , who created realistic art work displayed at various locations in northern Germany.
Heini Holtenbeen was a real person. His real name was Jürgen Heinrich Keberle (1835-1909) [2,3]. The story goes that he fell out of a skylight window and, since then, his way of walking was impaired. Hence, his nickname: the Lower German (Plattdeutsch) name Holtenbeen means Holzbein in Standard German (Hochdeutsch)—stiff leg in English. Or does holten relate to halten—to rest or stop? There were other oddities about him strolling through the narrow streets of his Schnoor neighborhood. Around lunch time, he placed himself at the entrance of the cotton exchange building (Baumwollbörse), where he eased the in-going traders from their half-smoked cigarettes. There was no smoking allowed inside the cotton exchange.
An herbal liquer has been named in honor of this original fellow. Good to know that a bitter spirit —and not a brand of cigarettes—is carrying his nickname. Zum Wohl!
References and more to explore
 Als Künstler immer im Unruhestand. Bildhauer Claus Homfeld.
 Die Geschichte von Heini Holtenbeen und dem Kräuterlikör. www.heiniholtenbeen.de/geschichte_krauterlikoer.php.
 Jürgen Heinrich Keberle (1835-1909). www.bremer-geschichtenhaus.de/de/ausstellung/heini-holtenbeen.html.
Posted by Axel D. at 8:06 PM