World of Kitchens Start of Century table site

Discover the Fascinating World of Kitchens Museum in Hanover

What to expect inside this surprising culinary museum with a difference 

Food and history lovers visiting Hanover will be presented with a variety of attractive choices. A simple Google search will return plenty of options like the award-winning Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen, the bustling Market Food Hall, and the charming Old City. What will appear lower, if at all, is the World of Kitchens Museum. “I’ve lived here for twenty five years and had no idea it existed” said a friend of mine who’s a veteran hospitality worker in the city. In fact, I only found out about it myself after six months of living here.   

The first museum in Europe dedicated to kitchens is not just a museum. It has a cafe’, where you can indulge in traditional German cake and coffee before or after your tour. There’s also a cooking school with lessons ranging from German classics to Japanese sushi.  

 

World of Kitchens Medieval siteThe Medieval Kitchens exhibit


Despite the slightly strange name, the World of Kitchens Museum shouldn’t be dismissed. I discovered this personally on a recent tour. Complete with copper pots suspended over a fake fire, plastic meat carcasses smoking, and a dishevelled mannequin donning a linen outfit, our group arrives at exhibit one: the Medieval kitchen. “Traditionally fires would be maintained day and night. There weren’t windows either – so it was always dark and smoky” our tour guide tells us. These little historical facts, come thick and fast throughout the tour.

 

World of Kitchens Bavarian siteThe Bavarian kitchen exhibit

 

As the tour continues, some of the guests and I lag behind distracted by an object in the hallway. What looks like wooden shelving with holes in it, turns out to be an egg shelf used by land owners during the First World War. When farmers could no longer pay debts with money, they started using eggs. This shelf was where the landlords would store their ‘payment’. 

 

World of Kitchens German Modern siteA German kitchen exhibit

 

World of Kitchens Argentinian siteThe 1930s Argentinian dining room exhibit

 

Many of the kitchens, categorised by country or era, are donated from actual homes. Arriving at a perfectly preserved Argentinian dining room from a Christmas dinner in the 1930s, we discover that rooms from homes, not just kitchens, are exhibits too. These quirky elements make the tour incredibly memorable, while for others it’s a surprising journey back in time. “Oh God, I still remember that” says one of the older female tourists in the 1960s kitchen looking at a dry mix machine. This appliance, some of them agree, was “a bit of a dud at the time”.

 

World of Kitchens Cookbook Museum siteThe enormous cookbook library with over 8500 titles

 

With 36 kitchen exhibits, it’s impossible to cover each one in the jam-packed two hours, which ends with extras. First, a towering display of over 8500 books in the cookbook library, and then a flea market. From old coffee pots to baking tins, it’s a great place to pick up a souvenir.

 

World of Kitchens Alps siteThe Alps kitchen exhibit

 

Afterwards, overwhelmed by the volume of history and culinary learnings, I decide to refuel on coffee and Bienenstich at the cafe’. In between mouthfuls of golden sponge, honeyed almonds and cream I can’t quite believe how a place like this can be overlooked by locals, tourists, and Google.

Details

The World of Kitchens Museum runs tours in English for groups of 10 – 20 people.

Bookings are essential. For details, visit https://www.wok-museum.de/

 

Words by Jen Curcio