Medieval town – straight out of the box

This week I was in Ochtrup – a town in the Münsterland, near the Dutch border.

The city fathers have just constructed a new “medieval” walled town in the centre of the village. Actually it’s one of those outlet-centres where eye-wateringly expensive brands are offered at merely wallet-flinching prices.

The entrance to the shopping-village is through a pseudo city-gate.

FOC Ochtrup

The city gate lacks only a portcullis and drawbridge.

Inside, despite the cute step gables and olde-worlde street lights, the place feels odd. The upper floor windows are all blanks. There is no sense of street-life or community. It’s all very Stepford-wives-ish.

Outlet centre Ochtrup

Sterile cuteness…

And of course the impression is exacerbated by the fact that nearly all the shops are selling designer labels. What the place really lacked was a greengrocer, a cheese shop, fishmonger, butcher…

I think I’ll stick to our high-street and local market.

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8 Comments

Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany, shopping in Germany, travel in germany

8 responses to “Medieval town – straight out of the box

  1. Ghastly. Reminds me of those fake European villages you get popping up in China. Maybe Chinese investors are behind it?

  2. That looks very much similar to the McArthur Glen designer outlet ‘town’ on the outskirts of Berlin: http://www.designer-outlet-berlin.com/index.php
    The funny thing is, there is also a McArthur Glen near where we lived in the UK, on the outskirts of Mansfield, so it was a surprise to find one popping up in Berlin too. The difference between the two is considerable however – the Mansfield one was designed by Llewelyn Bowen (of ‘Changing Rooms’) for example.

  3. I can understand having those pop up in China/’Merica/Australia, y’know, the places that don’t have any medieval architecture. But smackbang in the centre of Europe? Madness.

  4. While you were there, did you notice many Asian customers? I work with the Asian community around here and this is a popular destination for them (among the many other shopping outlets built in a similar style).

    They do like replicas of idyllic surroundings, brand name items, and the like, and I believe they are their best customers.

    • I didn’t see any Asian customers at all… but there were quite a lot of Dutch people. Not surprising I suppose as the border is only a few miles away and the sales taxes higher over there…

  5. I thought this was just an Asian hot-spot. Well, it might be for weekend visitors.
    There is another one closer to my hometown: http://www.wertheimvillage.com/
    We pass this Disney-look-alike shopping center on our way to Würzburg every time. I imagine, it is the same merchandise, same clientele.

    I do have a hard time getting excited about a Gucci bag on sale for just 1400 euro.

    There is something wrong with me.

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