Tolkien fans might think they have to fly out to New Zealand to see the Shire. They are wrong. In October 2013, a Hobbit Museum opened its doors in Switzerland. Geographically in the tourist region called Heidiland, the region is an ideal holiday destination for families with children. For the parents, there are excellent local wines to test which the Swiss usually keep to themselves.
What does a collector do when the size of a collection is threatening to get out of hand? He builds a museum and opens it to the public. That is exactly what former stockbrokers Bernd Greisinger did. In 2008, he started building a museum for his Tolkien collection. The museum is located in Jenins in the canton of Grisons in Switzerland. So far, foreign tourists knew the area as the Heidiland holiday destination. Heidi has arrived in Middle Earth.
Bernd Greisinger was a celebrated stock exchange broker. With the crash of 2008, he retired early and concentrated on his hobby. Collecting everything there was to buy about the world of the hobbits became a full-time job. The museum now houses the reputedly largest collector of Middle Earth paraphernalia in the world. The museum boasts everything from art, literature, film props, and merchandising that has been produced about Middle Earth and its inventor author JRR Tolkien.
Fittingly, the museum is built underground and in approved traditional style. That is Shire style, not Swiss traditional style. To get the necessary permits to build a museum in an alien style with the necessary footage was a piece of cake. Switzerland is riddled with bunkers from the last two World Wars and the authorities found nothing to complain in the planned subterranean Shire world despite being protective of the traditional Heidi connotation of the region.
The museum is for fantasy fans, Tolkien fans, Lord of the Ring fans, Hobbit fans, and obviously children. The museum is organised as a charitable trust and there is an entry fee to be paid. The actual entry fees can be seen on their homepage. The museum can be reached by car by way of motorway E43/A13. Jenins is only a few miles from the spa town of Bad Ragaz. The borders of Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein are less than five miles away.
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