Where tales of chivalry come to life

During the Nibelungen Festival in Worms, the water bubbling in the fountain of the Heylshof Gardens near the impressive St Peter’s Cathedral is coloured blood red. Of course, this is the blood of the dragon slain in the Nibelungen saga by Siegfried, the hero of all German heroes. Right next to it, there is an artistic memorial to the spot where, in 1521, Martin Luther was just as heroic in real life in refusing to renounce his protestant teachings in front of the Diet of Worms. For two weeks in summer, the gardens of the impressive Heylshof Museum become a theatre foyer, with all eyes on the impressive theatre set.

The Nibelungen Festival in Worms, Rhine-Hesse

The Nibelungen Festival in Worms, Rhine-Hesse

The tale of the Nibelungen is told in a different way on the open-air stage in front of the cathedral every year. But a visit to the festival in Worms starts long before the evening. As you drop into a café or stroll through the market in Worms in the morning, all talk is of the performance the previous evening.

There are daily backstage tours to give you a look behind the scenes, including viewings of the workshops where not only do they build the sets, they also boil up beetroot to make fake blood. There is then just enough time before the evening’s performance to wander through Worms along the Rhine promenade, past the rose garden and head for the beach bar. The feel is somewhere between the Rhine and the Caribbean, with loungers where you can enjoy a cold beer or a brightly-coloured cocktail and chat about the Nibelungen. After slaying a fearful dragon and seizing the massive treasure of the Nibelungen, young Siegfried from Xanten comes to the royal court in Worms to marry Kriemhild. Thus begins the part of the Nibelungen saga that is set in Worms. It does not end well: Siegfried dies and Hagen von Tronje plunges the gold treasure into the Rhine, an act commemorated by a bronze statue of him on the banks of the river. It becomes clear to some people that they are not as familiar as they would like to think with the Nibelungen saga about Siegfried, Hagen, Kriemhild and Brünhild, which was written in poem form in 1200. This is no problem in Worms, home of the multimedia Nibelungen Museum in the Staufian city walls, which explains all aspects of the heroic epic through sound, pictures and words.

The beach bar in Worms, Rhine-Hesse

The beach bar in Worms, Rhine-Hesse

The Heylshof Park in Worms, Rhine-Hesse

The Heylshof Park in Worms, Rhine-Hesse

One of the most beautiful buildings in Worms is the late Romanesque Andreasstift  collegiate church on Weckerlingsplatz, which is home to the city museum. It has undergone extensive renovation but is now radiant since the beginning of July 2021.

In Heylshof Gardens, they are putting the final touches to the culinary warm-up for the “Genuss im Park” festival dinner. The event is also open to walk-ins, who can dine à la carte or enjoy a gourmet menu. The park is open from 17:30, and even if you do not want to see the performance, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the Heylshof Gardens, with a variety of live music and award-winning wines from Rhenish Hesse. At one hour before sunset, the performance of the story of the Nibelungen begins, a story that will never grow old in Worms.

2021 is also the 500th anniversary of when monk Martin Luther was summoned before Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms to renounce his critical writings. So there is an exception to the Nibelungen Festival agenda: between 16 July and 1 August, the stage will be set not for the story of the Nibelungen, but for the story of Martin Luther, the great reformer.

500th anniversary of the Imperial Diet, national exhibition in Worms, Lutherstadt

500th anniversary of the Imperial Diet, national exhibition in Worms, Lutherstadt

More excursion tips and event highlights for culture lovers in Worms:

More information about holidays in Worms

Find out everything about events, sights and more destinations in Worms at Tourist Information Worms.

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