Nuremberg - The Toy City
History of the Toy City
Nuremberg made its reputation as a toy city in the 16th century, when it was already one of Europe’s most important trading cities and with 25,000 inhabitants the second largest city in Germany. It all began with the "doll makers", who made colourfully painted dolls with moving arms and legs of wood. Everything that children’s hearts desired was soon available in wood: from proud knight and doll’s house to the first mass-produced article on the toy market, the hobby horse.
Nuremberg became a stronghold for toy production in the 16th and 17th century. Besides their usual products, craftsmen like carpenters, plumbers, potters and tin and brass casters made miniature articles and toys. Another “world hit” was born in Nuremberg at the end of the 17th century: the tin solder. Playing with these tin figures was initially reserved for the rich, however. For example, Ludwig XIV of France ordered a whole army from Nuremberg’s artists for his son.
In contrast to trade and industry in Nuremberg, the toy manufacturers also experienced a flourishing boom in the following ages. Other cities in Germany outstripped Nuremberg as leading trading city, but the reputation of its toys remained uninterrupted. Its geographical location as old trading city at the intersection of the east-west and north-south routes continued to make Nuremberg an ideal transshipment point. And when the railway, whose maiden trip focused Germany’s attention on Nuremberg once again, shortened the time-consuming overland routes, Nuremberg’s toys, whether produced or only transshipped there, became a permanent feature all over Europe.
The age of tin toys began when the first metal printer settled in Nuremberg around 1850, and this also marked the start of a toy industry in the classic sense. The factory worker replaced the craftsman, but there was still a demand for craftsmanship and creativity. Through its tradition in the manufacture of mechanical items, Nuremberg enjoyed a large lead especially in the field of metal toys.
The period after the 2nd World War also brought years of radical change for Nuremberg’s toy manufacturers: plastic had meanwhile more or less replaced metal as material. The local manufacturers recognized the sign of the times in good time and changed their production processes.
Nuremberg and toys are therefore two terms that are inseparably connected with each other. The toy city has established a tradition in the centre of the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region, which thanks to the well-known production facilities in the region and Spielwarenmesse still plays a key role in the toy industry today.
Source: Nuremberg Convention and Tourist Office / Wolf R. Scharff
Nuremberg Toy Route
Nuremberg's old town offers a variety of interesting places with regard to toys. Dollhouses and tin toys as well as wooden toys and teddy bears enchant you on the toy way through the historical Nuremberg. We put together a route for you to explore toy museums, toy retailers and doll doctors and to find many toy treasures.
With the toy route map, it will be easy for you to get around the inner city of Nuremberg.
German Road of Toys
Many well-known companies like Zapf Creation and playmobil preserve the heritage of the rich tradition of toy manufacture along the German Road of Toys. Many of them have their own factory sales outlet for their customers. There are also many small and large toy shops available for a long shopping spree.
More information can be found on www.spielzeugstrasse.de
German Games Archive in Nuremberg
Nuremberg has accommodated Europe’s biggest treasure chest of games, the German Games Archive, since it moved in May 2010. The collection contains over 30,000 games, a library with some 7,000 volumes and the legacy of famous game designers like Alex Randolph and Peter Pallat.
Read more on the Games Archive website...
Nuremberg Toy Museum
The city of Nuremberg has a worldwide reputation for toys. The Toy Museum located in the heart of the old town quarter of Nuremberg is part of this rich cultural heritage. The varied programme of events and exhibitions ensures that everyone acquires a taste for toys here.
You can obtain an initial impression on the Toy Museum's website...
Toy Collection at Germanisches Nationalmuseum
The Toy collection in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum includes about 20,000 objects. The centerpiece of the collection comprises the four large Nuremberg dolls’ houses from the 17th century and the unique collection of historical paper theatres. The museum also possesses boy’s and girl’s toys, optical toys and toys from the age of reform in the early 20th century.
Learn more on www.gnm.de