Garden Talk in Chemnitz

Chemnitz in the Green

There are about 200 allotment garden associations in Chemnitz - and thus almost 15,000 allotment gardens. But not only that, here you can also admire a petrified forest that bears witness to more than 291 million years of natural history. Both are worth discovering during a visit to Chemnitz.

We invited Dr. Thorid Zierold from the Museum of Natural History and Suzanne Krauß, the managing director of the Stadtverband Chemnitz der Kleingärtner e.V., for a dialogue and asked them what you must have seen if you want to conquer nature in Chemnitz.

First of all, we are interested in where the greenest place in the city is for each of them.

Thorid Zierold: For me, the most beautiful place in Chemnitz in terms of nature is the Pfarrhübel. From there, views of the city and diverse hiking trails open up. I also like being in the Küchwald. For me, this is the greenest place in a figurative sense: a place of hope. People of all generations meet there and you can be active in nature.

Suzanne Krauß: For me, the greenest place in Chemnitz is, of course, my own garden - but I am also an enthusiastic hiker and therefore spend a lot of time in the Zeisigwald or in the city park.


We would like to know more: Are there also parallels between allotment gardens and the Museum of Natural History?

Thorid: Yes, there are. I noticed a connection only last week: the allotment garden site "Gesundheit" has a foundation stone embedded in petrified wood - so my first thought was that we should get in touch with this association and the founding members. We also work with beekeepers and the seed garden. Explaining the processes in nature in an understandable way is the concern of our museum educator. Here we are looking forward to further cooperations. Our aim is to motivate visitors to walk through the landscape with their eyes open.

Suzanne: The allotment garden has of course a special maker character, it came into being because people had to feed themselves. A lot of things have grown historically and now you can see a trend towards experimentation. Many allotment gardeners are trying their hand at growing special, old varieties. We notice that there is also a great exchange.

How do you experience nature in Chemnitz and do you have examples where nature is also hidden in the cityscape?

Thorid: For me as a natural scientist, nature is a huge sum term. It includes rocks, rivers, meadows, slopes, animals, plants and much more! In Chemnitz, the visitor finds volcanic remains but also ice-age references. There are unique breeding birds to observe - a wide variety of woodpecker species nest in the middle of Chemnitz, so to speak. For me personally, the rocks around the volcanic eruption 291 million years ago are particularly exciting - including the porphyry tuff. Some houses are made entirely of it, but also many window reveals or door surrounds! The Zeisigwald is an Eldorado for anyone who wants to understand how these rocks were quarried here. There were more than 400 quarries in the forest. I always find that impressive.

Suzanne: For me it's two things: on the one hand I like to be in the garden, and on the other hand I like to hike and cycle a lot. There is the Chemnitz circular hiking trail - you can hike it in parts or in its entirety. From Chemnitz you are immediately in the countryside. Whether along the river or through the allotment gardens! The city federation turned 100 last year and the gardens used to be outside the city. Now this is a green belt that you can walk through. Flower meadows are being created there, orchards, there are benches for walkers - it just blooms and greens and hums and buzzes!

Thorid: For me, an allotment garden site is like the world in miniature - a wide variety of characters, interests, personal backgrounds and inclinations come together!

Suzanne: Yes, there is also a nice togetherness in Chemnitz. The association "Direkt vom Beet e.V." was founded last year with the aim of distributing, giving away or selling the fruit left in the gardens to interested people. The association creates a platform for this and networks the doers. It's a great idea, you know where the food comes from and you can also exchange ideas with new people from your own city. I think that's very nice.

Is there a special allotment garden that visitors should not miss?

Suzanne: I recommend the "Sonnige Höhe" allotment, which won a gold medal in the national competition. So one of the most beautiful gardens in Germany is here in Chemnitz. However, in Chemnitz we also have smaller competitions among the associations and it is always worth taking a look at the gardens. There are also school gardens in our parks, table gardens, student gardens and gardens for senior citizens. You always meet someone there for an exchange over the garden fence.

Thorid: The buzzword school garden, is a good impulse for future projects!

First common ideas are spun and together we dare to look beyond the horizon: Chemnitz and the region - what connects in terms of nature?

Thorid: I think first of all of the waterways, the Mulde, the Würschnitz, the Zwönitz, the Kappelbach. But the historical trade routes also connect Chemnitz with the region. The salt route, for example, or the paths along which minerals found their way. Often these paths are now beautiful hiking trails - from Chemnitz to Olbernhau, for example, is very easy. The wealth of minerals can be traced particularly well in the direction of Marienberg and Wolkenstein. I'm sure the locals there can tell many stories about the prized amethyst.

Suzanne: I also think many people see Chemnitz as a grey industrial city - but you can always be in the countryside in five minutes. You can quickly get to the surrounding countryside or the Ore Mountains and do great tours there, too.


We are approaching the topic of the Capital of Culture: the application describes that one goal is not to divide people into target groups, but to unite them in their passions. How does it look so far - is this already lived practice?

Suzanne: I would confirm that especially with city walking: everyone who joins in the walk really wants to do it and that's nice. You get to know so much and see corners that you wouldn't have discovered otherwise. In Chemnitz, despite everything, you have short distances and no one imposes on you. But if you ask, someone always explains something. We were once walking in a garden area with a view of the motorway and suddenly we heard someone behind a hedge saying, "If the view is good, you can see the Fichtelberg here!" I find this curiosity and constant surprises in my own city very exciting.

Thorid: For us as a museum, this is a great idea and always an incentive in exhibitions.  "Rock Fossil - Yes, it's Love" - a special exhibition about rocks named after rock stars, worked through the passion mentioned. With regard to the application as European Capital of Culture, the project "WE PARAPOM!" is particularly close to our hearts. The theme connects! As a museum, we invite people to think about what music sounds in the apple tree, for example? We can also imagine that the allotment gardeners, the twin cities or the previous capitals of culture send us their regional as well as old apple varieties. A gallery of apples can emerge from this. All this and much more is possible - I think it is fertilising in the truest sense of the word. It's about remembering existing values, finding new, creative solutions together and tackling things in an uncomplicated way.


We discuss a little further and arrive at the topic of health and nature.

Thorid: We need the sounds of nature to switch off and regenerate. Scientists are doing research on this to be able to shed light on the background and causes. Nature not only has an ideal value but also a value that can be measured in monetary terms!

Suzanne: It is not for nothing that there is the old saying: The best way to health is to go into the garden. It's simply pure relaxation - right in the middle of the city. Whether actively as a gardener or passively as a walker.

© Tim Plagemann/Begehungen e.V.

It appears that you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer as your web browser to access our site.

For practical and security reasons, we recommend that you use a current web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, or Edge. Internet Explorer does not always display the complete content of our website and does not offer all the necessary functions.