Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Kathe Wohlfahrt is a highly regarded and popular chain of year-round Christmas shops located primarily in Germany. The company’s headquarters in the picturesque city of Rothenburg is not only home to the company’s largest store, but to a magnificent Christmas museum as well. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most popular retail destinations for the hordes of tour-bus visitors who swarm through Rothenburg every day.
Kathe Wohlfahrt was originally founded by Wilhelm Wohlfahrt and his wife, Kathe, in a small town outside of Stuttgart in 1964. Their son relocated the store to Rothenburg in the 1970s in order to make it more accessible to tourists with lots of money. In 1981, the Wohlfahrt’s decided to expand on the success of their business with a museum dedicated to the Christmas holiday and to the regional traditions of Germany. Both the store and the museum are now the largest establishments of their kind in Europe.
The museum is extensive and features collections of traditional Christmas decorations, ornaments and gifts. The Kathe Wohlfahrt store is one of the world’s largest permanent Christmas stores, featuring everything from locally produced hand-crafted products to specialty items from all over Germany, Austria, Switzerland and beyond. During the holidays, the streets and squares around the shop and museum are ground zero for the city’s Christmas decorations and market activities.
The Kathe Wohlfahrt store and museum are located in the very heart of Rothenburg, approximately 75 miles southeast of Frankfurt. The store is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10:00am-5:00pm. The museum is open daily From the Monday after Easter through early January, and is generally open weekends only the rest of the year. Hours vary but are roughly the same as the store hours. Cost of Admission is E4.00 for adults and E2.00 for children. Web: www.wohlfahrt.de (official website of the Hathe Wohlfahrt Company).