Our last stop on the Romantic Road was Dinkelsbühl (we will have to take another trip to finish this journey), a former Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire that was fortified by emperor Henry V. During the Protestant Reformation, Dinkelsbühl was notable for being — a Mixed Imperial City where the Peace of Westphalia caused the establishment of a joint Catholic-Protestant government, with a precise and equal distribution between Catholic and Protestant civic officials. Around 1534 the majority of the population of Dinkelsbühl became Protestant.
Every summer Dinkelsbühl celebrates the city’s surrender to Swedish Troops during the Thirty Years’ War. This reenactment is played out by many of the town’s residents. It features a whole array of Swedish troops attacking the city gate and children dressed in traditional garb coming to witness the event. Paper cones full of chocolate and candy are given as gifts to children. This historical event is called the “Kindersechze”. The name is derived from the German word for “child”, and is called such because of the legend that a child saved the town from massacre by the Swedish Troops during the surrender. The legend tells that when the Swedish army besieged the town, a teenage girl took the children to the Swedish general, who had recently lost his young son to illness, and a boy who approached him so closely resembled his own son that he decided to spare the town.
Dinkelsbühl remained totally unscathed during WWII, except for a broken window in St. George’s Minster.