Buying or selling second hand

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I may be the only person not to know about ebay’s local ads – Kleinanzeigen . But on the off chance someone doesn’t know about them they are a great idea – free to post, and all local – pick up only so you can view before buying. When you post an ad it also produces a flyer for you to stick up on the supermarket notice board etc which is very useful. So a good resource for selling items when moving on from Bielefeld or for buying if you have just arrived.  Thanks Catherine for the tip!


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

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

Coffee and Crafts in Bielefeld


We’ve recommended some of these places in a few other posts about coffee in Bielefeld, but I thought it might be nice to highlight a particularly cute kind of coffee shop here: one where you can sip your latte and take a look at crafts, craft supplies and home decorations for sale. I’ve never lived in a town that had coffee shops of this kind, but I’ve really enjoyed all of the ones I’ve been to so far in Bielefeld. Please add more in the comments if you know of them!

Koffie Met Gebak – Get coffee, a little lunch, some cake, and check out the cute things for sale next door. Below, some curry mango soup and chocolate cheesecake:

curry mango soup chocolate and cheese cake

Kafé Eigenwerk – Coffee, yarn, other knitting supplies, and cute ceramics.

Wald Stadt Kreativ Kafé – If you are a particularly crafty person, you can rent out a few shelves in the back room to sell your stuff. This one is near the Uni.

Rheda-Wiedenbrück Christmas Market (visited by Rachel)

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Thanks to Grace’s suggestion, we visited the Christkindlmarkt in Rheda-Wiedenbrück last weekend (Nov 26 – Dec 23). It is a lovely market, small but nice stalls and lots of good things to eat. It also has a nice atmospheric setting surrounded by the wooden timbered medieval buildings. We enjoyed walking around the town admiring the old architecture. The main shops were also open on Sunday. A nice afternoon’s winter outing.

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Bielefeld Shops of Note – Ringelreif Toyshop




Ringelreif Toyshop in the old town

Ringelreif Toyshop in the old town

Christmas is coming, which gives me the opportunity to talk about one of my favourite shops of note, i.e. small independent shops here in Bielefeld.

Ringelreif toyshop is located in the old town centre just off Obernstraße and is owned by husband and wife team Carlos and Christiane Mata. They have been running the shop for over 20 years.

A huge attraction in the summer is an automated bear that blows bubbles above the shop door attracting children passing by. Henry squeals with delight every time we pass it. While he is chasing bubbles I have a chance to look at the lovingly presented window display; the emphasis is on traditional, good quality toys that Germany is famous for, i.e. HABA, Schleich and Kathe Kruse, as well as hand made wooden toys such as Fagus, who produce their toys in workshops for the disabled.

Once inside, my two year old goes straight for the back of the shop to play with the toy train set from Brio whilst I have a good look round. The staff is always at hand if I need some advice. I have bought quirky stuffed toys here for babies, wooden puzzles and Djeco art sets for my sons and books and board games as presents for other children. They also have a good selection of games to play outdoors in the summer: toy planes, volleyballs and boomerangs, oh and I forgot to mention the dressing up clothes. They also sell real workbenches and tools for children.

The enthusiasm of the staff rubs off on you, and I find myself returning again and again to this little shop.  They may be traditional, but they keep up with trends. I discovered this on my last visit when I saw they had The Sylvanian Families in stock. For a small shop they really pack a lot in, and it definitely beats the numbing experience of toy megastores.

Husband and wife team Carlos and Christiane Mata

Husband and wife team Carlos and Christiane Mata

Chasing bubbles in warmer days gone by outside Ringelreif

Chasing bubbles in warmer days gone by outside Ringelreif


p.s. In case you are wondering, this is a non-sponsored post!

Finnish Christmas Bazaar


Should you want to have a taste of a  Nordic Christmas, do join us for the Finnish Christmas Bazaar. The address and times are on the flyer. The easiest way to get there is to take the Strassen Bahn 3 to Babenhausen Sud, get off at the last stop and walk  5 min to the venue.

We offer hand made crafts, some Finnish design, books, etc. There is a cafe with all home made goodies, including of course salmon soup.

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