How to get your own table at the monthly Siegfriedplatz flea market


On the last Saturday of every month, the always-popular Siegfriedplatz hosts their own flea market.  This time of year many of us are going through transitions, whether they be moving (as I am) or simply doing some thorough spring cleaning.  If you want to participate in the Siegfriedplatz flea market, you will need to engage in some German preplanning a month ahead, but the process is streamlined so even the non-German speakers should not have a problem.  Here’s what you need to do:

1. Address a return envelope with a stamp and your home address.  Do not seal the envelope.

2. You have the option to either pay 15 euros, or to bring a cake + 5 euros.  On the back of your envelope, write either “Geld” (15 euros), or “Kuchen” (cake + 5 euros).

3. Put your envelope in the letterbox at the entrance door to the Siegfriedplatz.  You MUST do this on the 1st of the month in which you want to participate, between 08:00 and 20:00 (don’t take your chances doing it outside of these times- we all know about German punctuality).  For example, you must submit your envelope this Wednesday, May 1st, in order to participate in the flohmarkt on May 25th.

If you do everything correctly you will receive your envelope in the mail with an invitation for the flohmarkt, and all the information you need to know.  If anyone has one of these invitations that they can post and translate, that would be great!

One more thing- I’ve noticed at flea markets here that people rarely put prices on their items, and you must ask the seller how much things cost.  If you have trouble communicating in German, consider just putting a price sticker on everything.

Happy spring cleaning!

Special thanks to Dagmar Linnhof for explaining this whole process to me. More

Forest adventure for kids under 5

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I received the following tip – TSVE (Sports Club) are organising every Tuesday morning (9-12) a forest excursion for little kids (2-5 years) and they look after them for you. If you are interested call Ms. Sobotta 0521-133131. TSVE also offer all sorts of classes for kids – gym, ballet etc and is worth checking out. Also adult classes too!

Shops of Note #3 Die Schrottwichtel

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Spring is upon us, a time for renewal after the long dark winter. All around us evidence of emerging life: Flowers in blooms, trees in bud.

The perfect time, then, for that Spring clean: Out with the old, get rid of the junk.  Or is it?

After a visit to Upcycle shop “die Schrottwichtel”, in Neustädter Strasse I am beginning to change my mind.

Speaking to one of the co-founders, Katja Reincke, I am inspired by her passion for turning junk into treasure.  She specialises in metal, sourcing her material in recycling centres and scrap-yards. She transforms ordinary household objects and scrap metal into ornaments and figurative sculptures.

She delights in showing me around the shop: Bags and belts, which at first don’t seem unusual until a closer look reveals they are crafted from such diverse materials as bicycle tyres, children’s armbands, vinyl records and my favourite, a hardback book.

Katja tells me that the aim of the shop is not to turn over a profit, but to convince people not to throw away so much stuff and to see the potential in the things we assign to the scrapheap.  The only rule in the shop is that 60-80% of the objects created must originate from junk.

An old suitcase lid lined with a map becomes a display-shelf, old children’s books are turned into envelopes and boxes. Once discarded clothes are transformed into attractive jackets and skirts using an overlock technique.

By the way, ‘Schrott’ means junk or scrap and ‘Wichtel” means ‘pixie or imp’ in German.  You could almost imagine pixies to be at work when you see the ingenious ideas at play.

So before you think of throwing something away, Katja suggests it is worth popping by the shop to see if it can be upcycled. Either one of the 6 strong group can find a use for it or you can also take part in one of the upcycle courses on offer.  Non-German speakers are also welcome.

You can check out their website at www.dieschrottwichtel.de and the shop is open 10.00 – 18.00 Thursday and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 – 16:00. Tel 0521 9886284 Neustadter Strasse 7, Nr tramstop Landgericht.

You can also visit it at the Bielefeld museum night on Saturday 27.04.13 until 23:00.


Two members of Die Schrottwichtel, Katja Reincke and Britta Willecke

Bielefeld’s Museum Night is on Saturday!


April 27th is Nachtansichten, probably my favorite event in Bielefeld.

For a flat fee, you can enter all participating museums, art galleries and churches around town, which stay open until 1 a.m. Tickets cost 8.80€ in advance, and you can order them online or get them at the tourist office. Children up to 14 years old can enter for free.

Going to the Museum Night last year was a real eye-opener for me, both in terms of what Bielefeld has to offer and how much fun the town can be when the weather is nice and everyone is out enjoying it! Even if you get museum-ed out, there is food, music and a light display in the Altstadt. We went to 3 different museums last year and spent the rest of the time just walking around and enjoying the night.

Flea Market Alert !! :)


The first date of 2013 for the Klosterplatz flea market is tomorrow (Saturday, April 20th) from 8:00 to 13:00.  This is one of my favorite markets, and if the weather is nice there should be a lot of good stuff to sift through!  It runs once a month, usually the third Saturday and is open to anyone who wants to set up a booth.  It costs 15euros for a place and I would suggest getting there early to get a good spot and get set up for the early trollers 🙂

Klosterplatz is located in the Altstadt in the plaza behind Verve and next to the Catholic church.  You can also get to it through the little tunnel arch directly across from Nahkauf and Knigge.  Here is a link with all of the dates for 2013 and a little map:


‘new in town’ Bike tour this Saturday

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The ADFC (office on Stapenhorststrasse near Bürgerpark/Oetkerhalle) offers bicycle tours for people that are new in town. The first of the season is on Saturday April 20  Ruhige ‘Neu in der Stadt’-Tour mit Einkehr Zu Schrotbrot und Platenkuchen  (Quiet “New in Town” tour with Refreshments – whole meal bread and buttercake,)
Starting at the Kunsthalle on Adenauerplatz, it costs 5 Euros to join and is free for ADFC members.

Quiet and easy tour with coffee break (average speed below 15 km/h) About 25 km ride.

Guides  Sabine Quermann, Tel. (0521) 17 00 23 and Axel Sorge, Tel. (0521) 5 25 14 34 und (0170) 8 18 14 34.

The destination is the South of Bielefeld –  Niemöllers Mühle in Quelle, the last workable watermill in Bielefeld which dates back to the 16th century. You will be able to watch how electricity is produced with water power and have a look at the exhibitions of regional artists and artisans.

Delis, Takeout and Delivery


One thing I greatly miss here is being able to grab a healthy meal on the go or to take home. I pine for Wholefoods and Chipotle in the US or Waitrose, M&S,  and Pret A Manger in the UK. I can only eat so many ham and cheese sandwiches from the bakeries and the supermarkets  don’t have much in the way of unprocessed ready prepared food. I also loved the delivery / take out culture of the US on those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.

So far I have discovered the following delis in the Altstadt– Klöetzer , on the expensive side but a good range of prepared food, salads and tasty (real ingredients) frozen meals. The bio supermarket Loewenzahn has a small deli counter with good quiche and spinach pies.  Near Siegfriedplatz, Strada No. 4 Siechenmarschstraße 4 is a cozy Mediterranean cafe with a deli counter full of fresh salads and tapas dishes (you may well end up staying for a glass of wine or cappuccino). We get take out from the Turkish restaurant Kebap House next to Burger Park (I like their humous, lentil soup and falafels). Delivery options besides the usual pizza and chinese seem to be scarce here but I was recently recommended Oishi Sushi ,  and best of all you can order on-line (12 euro min order) so no awkward phone conversation needed!

Any other suggestions greatly received!

Update – my neighbour uses this delivery service for his lunches and likes their food, you need to give them one day’s notice but there is no min order charge. The menu changes every day and has six  meals to chose from. This would have been a great idea when I was home with a newborn and no time to cook.



We visited Vapiano last weekend – part of an Italian style chain which has opened recently in the Altstadt. It’s a modern light and airy restaurant with high tables (and extra high highchairs!) as well as coffee table style seating. Upstairs is quieter and also has chalk boards on the back wall for kids to draw on, plus menus to decorate and books to read. There are fresh herbs everywhere for customers to season their own dishes. You are given a plastic card when you enter which you use to purchase food from the three main stations – pizza, pasta and salads. They cook most of the food right in front of you so you can specify the type of pasta, ingredients etc, (for the pizzas they give you a buzzer to alert you when it’s ready). My kids enjoyed watching their pasta being prepared and being able to say NO sauce please… The menu is pretty simple – pizza, pasta etc but I liked they had dinkel pasta too (spelt). They also do a takeout service if you’re on the run.