The Deutsches Klingenmuseum
(Blade Museum) in Solingen arguably has the most extensive collection of knives, swords, daggers and culinary cutlery in the world. The collection spans more than 4000 years starting in the Bronze Age (about 2000 B.C.) up to contemporary times.
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The museum is located in northern part of Solingen. It was converted from the historic Grafrath Convent in 1991 by the noted architect and designer Josef Paul Klinehues. With a contemporary open floor plan and lots of arched windows the museum is bathed in natural light. The modern interior design juxtaposes the ancient edged relics creating an exciting presentation.
The museum documents the history of Solingen, Germany and beyond from the perspective of "the knife." Nearly everything that defines a society can be seen in the design, popularity and manufacture of blades. The development of technology, the rise and fall of the economy, the turbulence of war, the excess or depletion of natural materials, the level of crime and violence all effect the design and manufacture of certain kinds of edged weapons, knives and cutlery. The Deutsches Klingenmuseum is full of examples.
One interesting type of sword made in Old Germany is a good example of design reflecting what was once a socially accepted practice. This sword was crafted for the purpose of beheading.
In the design it sports a long, heavy, wide four foot blade which is rounded at the tip. No need for a sharp tip when the only function utilizes the sides of the blade alone.
Perhaps the most impressive pieces in the museum are the Dutch culinary knives and forks from the 18th and early 19th centuries. The handles carved in ivory and hardwood are little masterpieces.
They are many and varied and reflect some of the influences of famous sculptors and painters of that period. They are aesthetically breathtaking and stand up against the best miniature carvings anywhere.
The "little masterpieces" although a striking collection in and of themselves are just one small corner of the Klingenmuseum.
The museum boasts an extensive collection of swords from Germany and beyond.