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I started learning about the Schweinfurt pigs the day that we got the offer to move there. There isn’t a lot of information about Schweinfurt available online (you can read most of it in about an hour) and the pigs were the only thing that was interesting to me at the time. It was my one fun fact to share when I told people about the small German town that we were moving to (because 99.9% of people had no idea what or where it was).
The name Schweinfurt translates to ‘pig ford’ in German – you know, the kind of ford that allows you to cross at a shallow point in a river. There are different stories about how Schweinfurt got its name, but most Schweinfurters seem to prefer the idea that there was a low-point in the Main River in Schweinfurt that was just the right height for pigs to be able to safely cross. According to a tour guide (via Corinne from ReflectionsEnroute), all of the little ‘ford towns’ like Ochsenfurt (Ox-ford) and Hassfurt (Rabbit-ford) were named according to which animals could cross the river there. If it’s true, it’s hilarious and wonderful. The Main River looks quite different today after dams and other technology have been implemented, so I don’t think pigs could cross here anymore. Historians prefer to say that the city’s name came from a Germanic Tribe that crossed the river in Schweinfurt to reach southwestern Germany. We’ve also been told by a local that the town was called “good wine town” or “schön wein furt” and that phrase was mistakenly written down as Schweinfurt. But regardless of what you believe, the city of Schweinfurt will tell you that rubbing the belly of their pig will bring you luck.
You can find this pig near the St.Salvator church where the streets Frauengasse, Burgasse, and Rittergasse meet.
There is a German expression, “Schwein haven” that means “to be lucky”, and so it’s appropriate that Schweinfurters consider their pigs to be very lucky.
We started finding large fiberglass pigs distributed throughout Schweinfurt rather quickly after we moved here. At first we were quite startled by the pigs, some of which we pass by almost every time we go out. Some are permanently outside while others are only rolled out when their respective stores are open (and the weather is good). Some of the pigs get dressed up for holidays like Christmas and Easter and are frequently moved into different places near the store front – especially these pigs at Galeria Kaufhof.
This fellows ‘Schweinename” is Warenhaus Pig. He appears to be a tourist.
She is named Pig City.
I’ve learned that it’s customary for German cities to have fiberglass sculptures featuring their mascot made, painted, and then distributed throughout the city. Berlin had 350 Buddy Bears decorating the city’s streets in 2001 for the Buddy Bear Berlin Show, although many were sold afterwards or transferred to private properties. Berlin also participates in a United Buddy Bear program that sends bears all over the world – there was even one sent to Charlotte when Mr. Meena and I were living there! Not that I had a clue. We’ll have to go see it when we go back home.
So I’ve photographed every pig that I’ve found in Schweinfurt so far and gathered the photos here to share with you. Of course, I decided to try and learn a little more about them before hitting ‘publish’ on this post and I learned that I’ve hardly captured most of the pigs of Schweinfurt!
There was an event called the BigArtAction held in Schweinfurt in November 2006 that was the launching point for most of the Schweinfurt pigs. The motto was “Schweinfurt Hat Schwein”, which means “Schweinfurt has Pig”. There is a poem and a song titled “Schweinfurt has Pig”; they’re both in German but Chrome will do an almost decent job of translating for you. I even found a song called “The Ballad Of Wilbur Schweinfurt” which you can download here. I think it’s safe to say that Schweinfurters love their pigs.
I’ve seen reports online saying that there are anywhere from 50-168 pigs taking up residence in the city, but this list has just over 80. The list includes some addresses, so my challenge to see all of the pigs of Schweinfurt just got a little easier (although I’ve noticed that a few of the address are outdated or inaccurate). Here is a sampling of the pigs I’ve met so far:
This colorful guy is outside of the mall.
This is Pig Panda, he’s probably the closest one to us. You can find him at the Westend Apotheke at Luitpoldstraße 20.
No names on these two yet, but they are located outside the Stadvilla Zepplin Budget hotel at Luitpoldstraße 45.
This is Captain Happy Fly, located at the TUI store at Rückertstraße 24.
You can see that ‘Apothekla’ is currently trapped inside the window of the pharmacy in Rossmarkt. I think they let her out in the summer.
No name on this one either, but he’s at the Fahrschule at Seestraße 24.
This guy is sitting on top of the Cafe-Bistro at the Gutermann Promenade, his name is Kultursau.
Which of these Schweinfurt pigs was your favorite?
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Meet the colorful pigs in Schweinfurt, Germany. Click To Tweet