Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/jrrtolkiencom/public_html/jrrt/plugins/system/gantry/gantry.php on line 406
STB | - Down the Hobbit Hole in Switzerland

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/jrrtolkiencom/public_html/jrrt/components/com_k2/models/item.php on line 1412

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/jrrtolkiencom/public_html/jrrt/components/com_k2/models/item.php on line 877
Domingo, 21 Dezembro 2014 01:00

Down the Hobbit Hole in Switzerland

Rate this item
(0 votes)
The cave troll Benny, inside the Greisinger Museum in Jenins, Switzerland. Credit Enno Kapitza for The New York Times

Until last year, Jenins (pop. 914), about an hour’s drive southeast of Zurich[1], seemed like any other small town in Switzerland’s verdantly lush Bündner Herrschaft wine-growing region, with sloping vineyards heavy with pinot noir grapes edging up onto trim houses lined with planters of bright geraniums. These days, though, there is one very noticeable new addition.

At the end of Verduonig, a quiet residential street, a small wooden sign that announced “museum” was the only indication of the anomaly to come: a grape-vine-covered stone and red-brick structure that seemed to jut from the earth like a large mound, with a round, green oak door with brass knob, and circular windows that looked onto a small garden of rose bushes.

As any fan of J. R. R. Tolkien[2] would recognize, it was a Hobbit hole. The remarkable structure serves as the striking entrance to the Greisinger Museum[3], the world’s first museum dedicated to Tolkien’s fictional universe, Middle-earth.

Opened in October 2013, the museum has seen about 3,000 visitors so far, with that number expected to rise with this month’s release of the final installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies[4].” The museum is the vision of Bernd Greisinger, a former fund manager who has amassed what is considered by many Tolkien experts to be the world’s largest trove of Middle-earth collectibles, with 3,500 books and 600 artworks including paintings and drawings by the noted Tolkien artists Douglas Beekman, Cor Blok and Alan Lee.

The museum's entrance, a Hobbit hole. Credit Enno Kapitza for The New York Times

“It’s the only museum whose sole aim is the promotion of Tolkien, Tolkien’s works and subsequent adaptations,” said Shaun Gunner, chairman of the British-based fan club, the Tolkien Society[5]. “There is an unrivaled collection of rare books and collectibles.”

The Greisinger Museum is no ordinary museum, but one teeming with eccentricities as it descends into a warren of unusual rooms two levels underground. For starters, the Hobbit hole’s archways are only five feet high — Hobbits are short creatures, after all. Visitors can also only view the collection through one of the two-hour guided tours, many of which are held by costumed guides, Mr. Greisinger included, in German, French or Italian. (While those languages are easier to interpret than Elvish, for sure, English tours are also available for groups of 10 or more; all tours must be booked in advance, 50 Swiss francs, about the same in dollars).

Perhaps the kookiest — and most wondrous — aspect of the 36,000-square-foot museum is that each of the additional 11 rooms besides the three-room Hobbit hole represents a different location in Tolkien’s fantasy world. Tours start in the Hobbit hole, whose furnishings include rustic hand-carved wooden chairs scattered around a fire­place and a large writing desk piled with maps of Middle-earth. “We want to give people the feeling that they’re in the right place, what it feels like to be inside a Hobbit hole,” Mr. Greisinger said.

A number of collectibles are also in evidence, most notably a chandelier from Tolkien’s seaside bungalow in Poole, England, and the 1969 Ken Rudolph calendar, the first ever Tolkien fan art calendar, published with signed artwork by the Tolkien illustrator Tim Kirk.

But the Hobbit hole represents a mere scratching of the surface — literally — of the experiential museum. Its subsequent rooms are all intricately designed and unexpectedly unorthodox in shape and size: The Gondor room, spanning two floors with a spiral staircase, celebrates the great Middle-earth kingdom with white columned pillars; the Wilderland room displays two custom-built statues in the likeness of the Gates of Argonath; and a 13-foot-tall installation of a fearsome Balrog creature dominates the Moria room.

On my visit in late summer, Mr. Greisinger and I pored over a few of the 30 rare books on display, pausing to examine an inscription by Tolkien to his close friend Elaine Griffiths in an extremely rare first impression of a first edition of “The Lord of the Rings.” (The rest of the rare books collection can be seen by appointment.)

It is Mr. Greisinger’s fascination for Tolkien’s books that feeds his art collection.

“Our work is to find originals of the different illustrations in the books,” he said. While Mr. Greisinger acknowledges the Peter Jackson films with memorabilia that includes a smattering of props from the movies and a script of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” signed by the cast members, he insists the films are not a focus of his museum.

“The Peter Jackson films are just one interpretation of Tolkien’s world,” he said. “My goal is to have visitors understand more of Tolkien’s world and all that is connected to it.”


  1. ^ Go to the Zurich Travel Guide. (travel.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ More articles about J. R. R. Tolkien. (topics.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ Greisinger Museum (www.greisinger.museum)
  4. ^ The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ Tolkien Society (www.tolkiensociety.org)

Read more (leia mais):

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/jrrtolkiencom/public_html/jrrt/components/com_k2/templates/default/item.php on line 248
Read 1083 times
Login to post comments


Curta Siga Assista