Nuremberg’s Northern Renaissance

One of Germany’s greatest artists made his home in the city of Nuremberg. What can we learn from his legacy?

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Albrecht Dürer’s House, Nuremberg, Germany

When we think of the renaissance in art during the 15th and 16th centuries, we generally think of Italy and the famous Italian artists from that time. People like Raphael or Leonardo da Vinci.

We tend not to think of Germany so much.

But there was one artist in particular who was working during the Renaissance in Germany who should be credited with bringing the ideas and the age of discovery to northern Europe. His name was Albrecht Dürer and he was a son of Nuremberg.

Albrecht Durer House, Nuremberg, Germany

Dürer based himself in his hometown of Nuremberg for most of his life but he made a couple of important trips to Italy where he met some of the leading Italian artists of the time.

It was his association with them that allowed him to bring the cutting-edge artistic ideas back north. Much like a trading route for spices, he transported inspiration and it started to add a new flavour to everything he and his contemporaries were working on.

The house where Albrecht Dürer lived in the later years of his life shows a man of means. It is five stories high, with the bottom two made of sandstone and the top three made of wood.

He bought it in 1509 when he was 38 years old, not long after he returned from his second trip to Italy. It was during the time he was living in this house that he produced some of his most celebrated works.

Albrecht Durer House, Nuremberg, Germany

Rather than talk about his art – although that would be an interesting discussion – I want to briefly talk about the house, because it is one of the main tourist attractions in Nuremberg today.

Dürer was living during the Middle Ages, a period of horses and castles and wenches and vomit in the gutters. But Nuremberg was a pretty wealthy city because of its position on the trading routes so to be a member of the elite during this time was quite meaningful.

Dürer’s house demonstrates this. Not only is it large, but it is located very close to Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle on the walls of the Old Town.

Albrecht Durer House, Nuremberg, Germany

It is now a museum and a tour through the interior gives you an insight into the man (and his art) and into life in Nuremberg during this Medieval times.

The small kitchen with its stone walls and internal fire shows you how it would have been to prepare meals, the living rooms with their ornate wooden furniture show the sophisticated side of his status.

Albrecht Durer House, Nuremberg, Germany

On the higher levels are the workshops where Dürer did his paintings and worked on his carved wooden blocks.

It’s here that the museum really comes into its own, with detailed information about how he and his students collected natural objects to make paints of different colours, and the techniques he used for the wood block art.

Albrecht Durer House, Nuremberg, Germany

For visitors, there is an audioguide which takes you through each room and gives you historical and technical information. It is well put together and is narrated by Albrecht Dürer’s wife, Agnes, (Ok, fine, it’s an actor… but y’know) who speaks from the perspective of running the household.

Albrecht Durer House, Nuremberg, Germany

Those interested in art will enjoy the collection of Dürer works on display (even though they are copies) and the information about his styles. Those interested in history will appreciate the details about the house and what life was like in the Middle Ages.

And those interested in Nuremberg will get a look at one of its most important residents during an extremely influential part of its growth.


From the train station, head into the old town to find the most interesting accommodation – there are lots of options in historic buildings.


Set in an old building next to the castle, Jugendherberge Nürnberg makes you feel like you’re part of history!


Although it’s relatively simple, I think Hotel Fackelmann is the best value budget option in town.


Right on the central square, you can’t get a better location than the modern Sorat Hotel Saxx.


And for modern four-star luxury, I would recommend the stylish Park Plaza, right near the train station.

Time Travel Turtle was supported by the German National Tourist Board but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

3 thoughts on “Nuremberg’s Northern Renaissance”

  1. I’ve visited and love the Durerhaus, but modern intrusions abound. Why furnish a room with period appropriate things, then put pedestals with explanation plaques around the room, plus one with a statue of Durer?

  2. I am an Australian, Italian born illustrator, Claudia Tregoning nee Marconi. I was researching Albrecht Durer for a friend, and identified a print, in the process, taking me to your site, and hence the round journey of the artist. It reminds me of my own life, my father printing fabric, and myself, in South Australia, by chance, becoming one of the States top four retail fashion illustrators for the entire 1971 to 1979 period inclusive. My work published daily in The Advertiser Newspaper Ltd, broadsheet and The News Ltd, tabloid amongst others, for the masses via letterpress, occasionally offset. Pre the takeover of photography in advertising. My work, hand drawn daily, and like a surgeon, getting it right, only once. Published, as the face of and for the great Peoplestores Pty Ltd, retail department chain, and then as chief illustrator Myer SA Stores Pty Ltd., at the age of only 22. My work then continuing into mostly published publications, posters, wildlife, all topics and portraiture. And continuing. As this is a natural for me. Like Durer – an artist’s life is all passion driven. I call it music on paper, or canvas. Once started, it continues. And like playing a musical instrument, starts at childhood. Never knowing where it will lead.
    I will visit Durer’s house, if I visit in the future. Thankfully, the internet has taken me there today, Best Wishes.

  3. I visited the Durer House several years ago. While I found it enjoyable and “humbling” in a sense to be in the very house where he had lived, I was struck by he thought that it didn’t LOOK like the house in which he had lived. Albrecht was an artist. His home would have been filled with paintings, carvings, flowers, color. The house rooms don’t convey this. Another disappointment was seeing explanation signs in “period rooms”, that made them non-period. Look at one of the photos that you used for your great article: a room ringed by white plastic stands with information cards on them. The joy of going into an old house-turned-museum is to experience what the original owner experienced, visually at least. The Durer House contains period “stuff”, but conveys no sense of the soul or humanity of the artist who lived and created there.


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