Germany’s intellectual town

In the small German town of Weimar, there was a flourishing intellectual scene that created some of the country’s best writers and artists.

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.


Classical Weimar, Germany

Great minds think alike, they say. That may be true, but I prefer to look at it a different way. I believe that great minds think together.

When intellectuals and artists find themselves living in the same place, they seem to feed off each other’s brilliance.

There’s an element of inspiration, sure, but it’s also about collective thought and compounding creativity. Each helps the other to go a little higher and they all move up by association.

Classical Weimar, Germany
Classical Weimar, Germany

There are countless examples of where this has happened around in the world. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, it was happening in the small town of Weimar in central Germany.

Some of the country’s most famous writers and scholars moved here to work together in an atmosphere of artistic inspiration. When word got out of what was happening, even more came.

Over the years, the best-known residents were the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.

Classical Weimar, Germany

Weimar is not a large town, though, and on first glances it seems an unlikely place for the birth of a new cultural movement (that became known as ‘Weimar Classicism’). But it was able to develop because of the support of the local nobility – in particular, Duchess Anna Amalia.

She acted as a patron for many of the artists and writers and encouraged them to move to Weimar. She not only helped fund some of their projects but brought them together for cultural exchanges.

The community she fostered brought out the best in them all – and encouraged more intellectuals to move to the town.

Classical Weimar, Germany

In a slightly unusual move, UNESCO has created a World Heritage Site out of some of the buildings in Weimar. I say ‘unusual’ because it is really the story behind the buildings that is more significant than the structures themselves.

From inside the walls of the chosen sites, some of the most progressive and influential thinking in German history emerged.

Classical Weimar, Germany
Classical Weimar, Germany

Visiting Weimar

The World Heritage Site in Weimar consists of twelve separate collections of buildings that represent the people and the cultural movement of the time. The most famous of these sites is the home of Goethe.

Classical Weimar, Germany

His old residence has been restored with the interior designs and artworks of his time. A modern museum has now also been built on an extension of the site.

The Goethe Museum is located at Frauenplan 1, 99423, Weimar, Germany.

You can see it on a map here.

The Goethe Museum is open at the following times:

October 26 – March: 0930 – 1600

April – October 25: 0930 – 1800

It is closed on Mondays.

An entry ticket to the museum for an adult costs €12.

A concession is €8.50 and a student is €3.50. Children under 16 get free entry.

You can find out more information at the official website for the Goethe Museum.

The house of Schiller has also been restored with an added museum and also nearby is the Wittumspalais, which was the centre of cultural exchange. It was the home of the duchess and she would invite writers, artists and intellectuals to meet here for regular discussions.

Classical Weimar, Germany
Classical Weimar, Germany

Other highlights of Classical Weimar include the Historical Library, the City Palace and the Belvedere Palace and all are within walking distance of each other.

While you are in Weimar, you can also see a part of the Bauhaus World Heritage Site.

Most of the buildings are designed in the Baroque style and now host exhibitions that give an excellent insight into the intellectual environment of the times.


Weimar is quite small so you should be able to find some great accommodation near the city centre.


For a good backpacker option, I would suggest the funky Labyrinth Hostel on the main square.


For a simple and affordable, your best option is probably Comfort Hotel.


There are some lovely design hotels in Weimar and I would recommend Pension Mariposa.


And for some special luxury, have a look at Hotel Elephant on the town square.

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


This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

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