This unique timber frame construction is only found in Altes Land.
A unique, magnificent and artistic architecture has been cultivated
in Altes Land for a long time. Even today you can still discover
more than 400 buildings of historic importance.
This artwork of timber framing is especially demonstrated by white squared surfaces inserted in the usual wall bracings. This tessellated composition of the plaster surfaces (so called “Buntmauerwerk”) was a usual architecture in Altes Land which was probably originated in the Netherlands. The brick patterns can occur in different variations, so that every wall of a house becomes an individual artwork. Whether it’s a game of styles or a symbolic arrangement is anyone’s guess.
Whereas most of the items were probably only façade decoration, others served as symbols for defence. Well-known patterns include the zigzag (saw-tooth frieze), rhomb, tree, plant, and “blitz”patterns (different braces in a square, symbol to protect the house against fire). These brick settings have to be distinguished from the relief-like spliced stones in the gable walls, used to depict windmills and “Donnerbesen” in varying designs. The “Donnerbesen” was supposed to defend the house from evil. The windmill served as a symbol that there should never be a lack of food.
Farmhouses with thatched roofs in Altes Land are frequently
embellished with gable decorations. Basically, gable decorations
only had practical reasons. It should protect the gable or roof
ridge of the straw and thatched roofs of farmhouses. Later the
gable decorations were artistically decorated in an ornamental
shape. In popular belief gable decorations were supposed to keep
out fatal powers, evil spirits and mythical creatures.
Typically found in Altes Land is the gable decoration in form of two crossing swans stemmed from the Dutch roots of parts of the population of Altes Land. Often tulips are incorporated. Colonists probably brought the swan as a symbol of their people.