• Germany edition
 
Pensioner decorates tree with 10,000 Easter eggs
Photo: DPA

Pensioner decorates tree with 10,000 Easter eggs

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

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Merkel accuses Isis of genocide
A photograph (right) made available by the jihadist affiliated group Albaraka News allegedly shows an Isis fighter tying up an Iraqi soldier. Photo: EPA/ALBARAKA NEWS/HANDOUT

Merkel accuses Isis of genocide

Chancellor Angela Merkel described atrocities committed by Isis in Iraq as genocide on Wednesday, going further than other western leaders in her condemnation of the group. READ  

Ebola patient treated at Hamburg hospital
An isolation ambulance approaches the specially outfitted aircraft carrying the Ebola patient at Hamburg airport. Photo: DPA

Ebola patient treated at Hamburg hospital

UPDATE: The first patient to be treated for Ebola in Germany arrived in Hamburg on Wednesday morning. READ  

Uber pushes expansion despite legal pitfalls
Uber is going head-to-head with taxi services across Germany. Photo: DPA

Uber pushes expansion despite legal pitfalls

Chauffeur car service Uber plans to expand into more German cities and double its activity in the country by the end of the year in the face of bitter opposition and a court case. READ  

Has Germany learned lessons of NSU failures?
Police images of the Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Bundlos, the three perpetrators of the NSU murders. Photo: DPA

Has Germany learned lessons of NSU failures?

The German government announced measures on Wednesday requiring police and courts to take tougher action against suspected hate crimes, following a neo-Nazi killing spree that went unsolved for more than a decade. READ  

The Local List
Ten of the oddest things found at border control
Photo: Zollamt/Shutterstock

Ten of the oddest things found at border control

Some of the strangest items found by German border control might make you think again about whether border checks are over the top. The Local List takes a look. READ  

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants
Demonstrators hold up a banner against Roma deportations in 2013. Photo: DPA

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants

UPDATE: Germany is expected to announce new measures on Wednesday to expel EU citizens who cheat the country's social security system, as well as improving conditions for asylum seekers. READ  

Shoppers' confidence collapses at record rate
Shoppers in Germany felt a sudden drop in confidence in August. Photo: DPA

Shoppers' confidence collapses at record rate

Confidence among German consumers fell at its fastest rate in August since records began more than 30 years ago. Instability on the international stage and fears for the future of the national economy have contributed to the sudden drop. READ  

Want to avoid driving fines? Swap seats
Photo: DPA

Want to avoid driving fines? Swap seats

A driver in western Germany should not be fined for "negligent driving" because he had swapped seats after a warning sign, a court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Police find €20 million of cannabis in woods
The cannabis was found by a walker who alerted police. Photo: DPA

Police find €20 million of cannabis in woods

Police have found 18,500 cannabis plants with a street value of €20 million growing in the woods on the Dutch-German border. READ  

Anti-stress law moves step closer in Germany
Federal Labour Minister Andrea Nahles speaking to journalists in July. Photo: DPA

Anti-stress law moves step closer in Germany

Germany’s Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has given her backing to an anti-stress law, announcing a study into workers' mental health on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: DPA
National
Size does matter in this case, rules judge
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,443
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd