First Northern German Collectors’ Meeting

german beachcomber club

by Ann-Christin Wimber

The Northern German Collectors' group, organized a beachcombing trip to a favorite beach. They shared some beach time, discussed favorite finds, and swapped treasures. The group found themselves so engrossed with the hunting, they missed their scheduled lunch reservation. 

The weather gods did not disappoint on this particular day in April—it was one of the first spring-like days in Northern Germany. The sun was sending warm rays from an immaculately blue sky and the wind was just a bit chilly. On this glorious Saturday, eight people had gathered in Kitzeberg Beach for a first-of-its-kind occasion. They were participants of the First Northern German Collectors’ Meeting.

german sea glass collectors club

Pictured, (left to right): Rainer Jeschke, Angela Kiefer, Antje Reusch, Ann-Christin Wimber, Simone Schargus, Claudia Reuther, Claudia Hoffmann and Volker Teschke.

All eight had followed my open invitation for sharing our passion for sea glass and sharing experiences. The group consisted of sea glass collectors in various stages. Annett Brunner had just recently started her career as a huntress of treasure. “A few weeks ago, I took part of a guided tour through a natural reserve in Mecklenburg Vorpommern,” she explained. (Mecklenburg Vorpommern is a neighboring state to Schleswig-Holstein and also located on the Baltic Sea). For her, as for most participating sea glass collectors, searching for sea glass is a state of meditation. “You forget everything around you”, said Antje Reusch, who has come from nearby Luebeck with her sister Angela Kiefer, a jewelry maker. “On the down side, you don’t see anything else”, she laughed.  

german beach kitzeberg

Rainer Jensche has searched for Mermaid’s Tears all over the world, handing over the pieces to his wife, who is crafty. The closest member, Simone Schargus, lives just around the corner from Kitzeberg in Heikendorf, a town located directly on the Kieler Förde near the capital on Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Kiel is an ideal place to look for sea glass – and my own home turf as well. The city sits at the end of a fjord, with direct access to the Baltic Sea, and features lots of ferry and cargo vessel traffic. It is also the entry or exit point—depending of the direction ships are sailing—of Kiel Canal. Thus, lots of sea glass to be found. 

german beach finds

Over the years, I have found various pieces and lots of keepers: bottle mouths from the 19th century, a tiny red button, marbles, bottle stopper, seals from water bottles, embossed pieces from beer bottles, shards from British bottles, various bottle bottoms, blue, red and yellow sea glass, carnival and flashed glass and everything in between. Since five beaches sit like beads on a string on the eastern side of the bay, I found it to be an excellent spot for our 1st National Seaglass Collectors’ Meeting.

Claudia Ruether and Claudia Hoffmann, both from Sodersdorf, about two hours from the coast, had had the longest arrival. “Whenever I go on vacation, I choose a place on the sea”, Claudia said. Her last vacation was frustrating. She went to Texel, an island in the Netherlands, and only found immaculately clean beaches. Rainer immediately mentions spots where he found plenty of sea glass; the coastline of the neighboring state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Bahrenfeld at the North Sea or Venice, Italy. Simone’s best spot is Helgoland, she tells us and is immediately backed up by other collectors. All avid treasure hunters have at least once been on Germany’s only island in the North Sea, which is beyond the 12-mile barrier and which has had an eventful history including an almost-extinction when the British army tried to blow it up during the Second World War. 

After the exchange of first advice and getting to know each other, I led the group along the beach of Kitzeberg to Altheikendorf to Moeltenort.

Later, over coffee, salad and soup, we examined our finds. which were not spectacular but interesting. We tried to award to “Piece of the Year”, as I had asked everybody to bring their best find, but alas, we could not decide upon just one winner. So we just admired the beautiful pieces and decided we are all winners. And we are already looking forward to our next annual meet-up!

This article appeared in the Glassing Magazine July/August 2018 issue.

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