Oh what a beautiful Christmas

Jana Nitsch - One of the faces of the Christmas city of the North

At Christmas time, Lübeck is an especially popular meeting place with a uniquely beautiful world heritage backdrop and a long tradition. The Christmas market at the Town Hall was first mentioned in records as early as 1648. Today, ten Christmas scenes transform Lübeck every year into the “Christmas Town of the North” , enchanting guests from near and far. One of the best known and most beautiful Christmas markets is the Artisans’ Market in the medieval Hospital of the Holy Spirit which is held in the church hall, in the former “residential cubbyholes” in the nave and the historical cellar vault. Here, around 120 artisans from Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic states show the diversity of their old and new craft techniques. Jana Nitsch, goldsmith, poet and musician from Lübeck, has been among the select exhibitors for many years.


“I always get butterflies in my tummy even when setting up the Christmas market”, says Jana Nitsch, her eyes shining. “I love the days before things kick off. I enjoy seeing the other exhibitors again and the family atmosphere. There is such a feeling of anticipation.” The trained goldsmith (34) has been exhibiting her unusual jewellery in the Hospital of the Holy Spirit for the last eight years, and being allowed to return every year is almost like receiving the ultimate accolade.


Jana Nitsch has furnished her six square metre “cubbyhole” with a mobile workbench, two glass cabinets and small folding travel cases in order to present her craft and creative jewellery collection in the best possible light in the smallest possible space. “The Christmas market in the Hospital of the Holy Spirit gives me home advantage and great advertising”, says this artisan who is a native of Lübeck. “Many visitors also later drop by my studio in the Essigfabrik (vinegar factory) and take their time in selecting their favourite pieces, or ask me to produce a piece of jewellery based on their own ideas.” Her pieces of jewellery are unique, hand-made specimens of silver, gold and gemstones. “I love experimenting and I often work with text and tongue in cheek to give my creations an individual touch”, the bubbly artist says in describing her work. For example, she likes to use everyday objects in her jewellery pieces such as bottle caps, buttons, Lego blocks and coffee beans — there are no limits to creativity. She calls her concept “the life of things” which also includes devoting a poem or song to her “babies” as she lovingly refers to her jewellery pieces.


Whenever the four walls of her Christmas cubbyhole drive her into claustrophobic rage as she jokingly explains, she also likes to play her accordion as music is her second passion besides her work as a goldsmith. She performs over 70 times a year with her husband Marcus as the “TroubaDuo”, and the two of them have already recorded various CDs. They play a mix of klezmer, Balkan beats and street music. Jana Nitsch has also made a name for herself in Lübeck as a poet. “Das Wortgewand” (word garment) is the title of her volume of poetry, a collection of songs, poems and illustrations. An all-round artistic talent!


My favourite place is the “Essigfabrik”. Not only because this old factory building is the home of my goldsmith’s workshop at Kanalstraße 26-28 but also because it’s a young cultural centre and a genuine creative hotbed with great artists, exhibitions, concerts and readings. From time to time, I make music here in Bistro Balsamico with TroubaDuo and other artists, so you’re welcome to drop in!

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