The Old Weighing Station in Braunschweig

This half-timbered Old Weighing Station (Alte Waage) was first built in 1553 and went through various phases of use, neglect, re-design and mis-use over the centuries, including a seven-year stint as the headquarters of the “Hitler Youth” from 1937 to 1944, before it was completely destroyed, along with the rest of Braunschweig’s Old Town, by bombing near the end of the Second World War.

Half a century later three local carpentry companies were chosen to rebuild the Alte Waage from scratch, using the same kinds of materials and techniques that their sixteenth-century forebears had used. They needed 360 cubic meters of oak beams (not as easy to obtain as in 1553, since there aren’t so many oak trees anymore), which they joined together in over three hundred places without using a single iron nail or screw.


The text on the cornerstone says: “The Old Weighing Station was destroyed by bombs in the Second World War and was rebuilt fifty years later in 1994.”

Ground floor of the Alte Waage

Inside the building you can see how the oak beams were joined together by traditional methods, without using iron nails or screws.

VHS placards in the entrance hall

Since re-opening in 1994 the Alte Waage has been used as the main building of the Braunschweig Adult Education Center (VHS), is a large municipal institution which has its headquarters here but also uses classrooms in other parts of the city.

Seminar room

Here on the top floor, under the slanting roof, is the seminar room where I did my presentation and workshop for the English teachers in 1997. When I returned to Braunschweig in 2007 I was happy to see that in their English language courses they were still using the same series of textbooks I had introduced in my presentation ten years before.

Looking up at the Alte Waage

The top three windows are of the seminar room where I did my presentation and workshop in 1997.

My photos in this post are from 2007. I revised the text in 2018.

See more posts on Braunschweig, Germany.
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7 thoughts on “The Old Weighing Station in Braunschweig”

  1. “Volkshochschule” – no wonder it’s good to learn German spelling as the fist reading for children. Any other language then will be easier afterwards.

    1. Yes, though German spelling is fairly regular compared to French or English. In this case, it’s just three simple words strung together: Volks + hoch + schule = people’s high school. What’s really helpful is that they internalize German grammar from a young age.

      1. Jewish boys (in Israel) go to the synagogue on their Bar Mitzva at age 13. There they stand in the center and
        read the bible chapter for their date, in front of all their family and regular synagogue attendents. They read from the handwritten manuscript which they probably never saw before, with no spaces at all between the words.


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