• Germany's news in English
 

Pensioner decorates tree with 10,000 Easter eggs

Published: 25 Mar 2013 07:38 GMT+01:00

The freezing temperatures and copious amounts of unseasonal snowfall might have most of us running for cover, but the weather hasn't kept Volker Kraft and his wife from pursuing their annual Easter tradition.

The septuagenarian couple has spent days climbing ladders to decorate a five-meter high apple tree in their garden with thousands of brightly decorated chicken and duck eggs.

"The weather made it difficult this year," Kraft explained. "So we didn't know if we'd finish decorating in time."

But finish they did. And starting last weekend, the gate to the Krafts' garden has been thrown open for what will likely be thousands of visitors, if last year's crowd of 15,000 is anything to go by.

The tree, laden with exactly 10,030 hand-decorated eggs, has been featured on Thuringia's official website as possibly the world's "most spectacular Easter egg tree."

Click here to see a photo gallery of the tree

The idea of this annual Easter tradition came to Volker Kraft 45 years ago. "I used to pass by a lilac bush every day on my way to school, and it used to be beautifully decorated around Easter," said the pensioner. "So when I had kids, I said: they're going to have a tree like that one too."

The first year the Kraft family started decorating the apple tree in their garden, it only took 18 eggs to fill all of it. But as the tree grew so did the number of eggs. The tree reached the 1,000 eggs mark in the middle of the 1990s and the 10,000 mark last year.

These days, after the egg-hanging work is done with, Kraft sits in his chalet, keeps a watch on the tree and welcomes visitors, patiently repeating answers to questions he is always asked: how many eggs there are, how long it took to hang them all (this year, it was two weeks) and how he came up with the idea.

Kraft also sells postcards, brochures and colourful eggs, but does not charge an entry fee. "I don't want anyone to have to stand near the fence simply because they can't afford it," he said.

He leaves the decorating and colouring of the eggs to his wife and their daughter. The eggs are painted, crocheted and covered with seashells or mosaic designs. Some eggs even have seeds on them as a snack for the garden birds.

Sometimes visitors bring more eggs as presents. Kraft has displayed some of the best eggs in a showcase which includes the ones with famous city scenes on them like the London Bridge or a bright blue egg signed by Bill and Hillary Clinton, which a visitor from the United States brought along.

Kraft's feat, however, puts him nowhere close to the record for the most eggs on an Easter tree – according to the Guinness World Records, exactly 76,596 eggs hung on a tree in the zoo in the German city of Rostock on May 8th 2007.

But what keeps Kraft and his 75-year-old wife motivated all year round to blow eggs out, paint them and then withstand the frosty weather to hang them up, only to remove them again after a few days, especially when their children are already adults? "You see a sort of sparkle in many of the visitors' eyes. Besides, there are also a lot of children who come by," answered Kraft.

The Krafts' garden gate will remain open to visitors every day until the Easter holidays. After that, the eggs will be tucked away in cartons and the damaged ones – of which there are usually between 200 and 500 – will be replaced.

"Ever since the tree has become well known, we feel obligated to decorate it every year. As long as we can both still climb a ladder, we'll keep doing it," Kraft said.

DPA/The Local/mb

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:40 March 25, 2013 by Dayzee
What an absolutely cute story! The world needs more people like this who simply want to bring joy to others.
13:33 March 25, 2013 by adam.müller
Awesome :)
00:58 March 26, 2013 by neunElf
Outstanding!
04:18 March 29, 2013 by RainerL
Why would anyone want to do that? Must be a very bored pansioner with lots of Chickens or Money to burn? Perhaps some Volunteer work could help him? At least they are snap frozen and will last for a while. ;-)
Today's headlines
EU-US trade talks prompt German ire
Photo: DPA

EU-US trade talks prompt German ire

In much of Europe any mention of TTIP might receive a blank stare, in Germany the proposed US-EU free trade pact is likely to prompt a volley of angry words. READ  

Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record
Photo: DPA

Auschwitz expert slams Nazi justice record

Oskar Gröning, 93, a former Nazi known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", goes on trial in Germany on Tuesday in what could be the last Nazi war crimes trial while an expert calls the country's judicial record 'miserable'. READ  

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots
Photo: DPA

Turkish Airlines: married pilots are safer pilots

The general manager of Turkish Airlines has urged single pilots to marry, after the Germanwings tragedy blamed on a pilot with psychological problems. READ  

Germany and Greece
'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'
Thanasis Glavinas outside one of the German parliament's buildings. Photo: Private

'It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state'

With the war of words – and cashflows – between Greece and Germany showing no sign of dying down, The Local meets one young Greek who's come to see what the Germans have to teach about running a country successfully. READ  

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations
'Loitz doesn't need any asylum seekers' reads the graffiti. Photo:DPA

Interior Minister wants quicker deportations

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called on Friday for state governments to speed up deportations of failed asylum applicants, in the latest round in a war of words between the federal government and the states. READ  

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours
Photo: DPA

VW CEO survives despite departure rumours

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has dodged a broadside from company chairman Ferdinand Piech which many thought would unseat him from the troubled car maker. Instead, the steering committee has offered him an extension to his contract. READ  

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola
Tension on the touchline: Guardiola, Schweinsteiger and Müller-Wohlfahrt Photo: DPA

Bayern doctor quits in spat with Guardiola

The resignation of iconic club doctor Hans-Willhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt on Thursday evening threatens to unleash internal chaos at Bayern Munich after their Champions League humiliation at the hands of FC Porto. READ  

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline
An InterCity train in Hannover's main train station. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn flirts with drivers' strike deadline

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn has until 3 pm on Friday to respond to demands from the Train Drivers' Union (GDL) for a "reasonable provisional result" in talks over pay, conditions and union representation. READ  

Liberals: Data retention unconstitutional
Deputy leader of the Free Democratic Party Wolfgang Kubicki. Photo:DPA

Liberals: Data retention unconstitutional

The deputy leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Wolfgang Kubicki, called the government's plans to store communications data 'unconstitutional' and said he will fight the proposals in court. READ  

Germany honours Warsaw Uprising fighters
Leszek Zukowski (c) participated in the Warsaw uprising. Photo:DPA

Germany honours Warsaw Uprising fighters

Germany on Thursday awarded its highest honour for the first time to Poles who fought the occupying Nazis in the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising of 1944, one of World War II's bloodiest episodes. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,184
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd