Stuttgart, Germany is home to the world’s largest pig museum featuring over 40,000 pigs in 28 theme rooms.
Despite this, the Pig Museum is not well known. In asking over 20 locals and expats, no one had heard of it.
The Pig Museum was one of the places on my list of Travel New Year’s Resolutions to travel closer to home.
I was intrigued, but not sure what to expect from a Pig Museum. I had to drag J.P. (my German fiance).
The Pig Museum is pig kitsch at it’s best, as one might expect when you have 40,000 pigs stuffed into one 800 m sq building. One room alone had 2000 piggy banks! But it was also surprisingly informative, and humorous in places and most of the signs were in both German and English.
Pigs have been kept as domestic animals for over 9000 years, with the oldest evidence found in south eastern Turkey. Any guesses about the world’s largest producer of pork? Hint, it’s not Germany, but………….China! China produces ~ 50% of all the world’s pork! You’re not likely to find pigs in Islamic countries though. Afghanistan’s pig population totals 1 and that pig is in the Kabul Zoo.
What surprised me most about the Pig Museum is that 1 of the theme rooms was dedicated to pigs and sexuality, I dubbed it the Pig Porn Room. I can almost see the confused expression on your face that probably is similar to the perplexed expression on my face as I stepped into this room. It turns out that pigs are a symbol for sexuality since females have long fertility periods, but most impressive, female pigs can have orgasms lasting up to 30 minutes! I don’t think I really want to know how they know that, but this is the one thing I learned at the Pig Museum that I don’t think I’m likely to forget, and as I discovered at an expat dinner tonight, makes for interesting dinner conversation. Sorry no photos from the Pig Porn Room, but be assured that there no photos of real pigs, just figurines and “art” in which I use the term loosely here.
The piggy bank also has an interesting history, although no one is sure where the piggy bank originated. It’s thought that the idea of pigs gaining weight quickly resembled to your savings growing quickly (if only that were true!), but the connection between pigs and moneys dates back to the 5th century B.C. when pigs were imprinted on coins and piggy banks have been used in many different countries for thousands of years.
The Pig Museum also featured lots of pig art. Life sized bronzed pigs, pig sculptures, pig portraits and lots of pig figurines. One of my favorite pieces of pig art was the photo on the left which is a reenactment of a scene from the bible, but I’m not sure which one. This sign was only in German and J.P. was having a hard time translating it compounded by the fact that neither of us has read the bible for a while.
Another thing I enjoyed about the Pig Museum was a country chart of the world’s biggest pork eaters. Surprisingly Germany is not in the top 3! Those honors go to: 1) Austria 2)Spain 3) Serbia. Germany came in 4th, Canada was 27th. (These figures are from 2005.)
The Pig Museum wouldn’t be in my “Top 5 Must See” list, but to be fair, few museums would be. I did enjoy it though and thought it was a nice way to spend an hour learning about something new and I did come away with some memorable info that I actually remember 2 weeks later.
What is the strangest museum you have been to? Include the name, location and a brief description and I’ll include a round up of the strangest museums in a blog post next week with your name and a link to your website. To be included in the round up please leave a comment below before Feb 1, 2011.