The museum in the barn is one of two areas of the Riedmuseum Ottersdorf. In the historic building, everything revolves around the Rhine and its straightening in the 19th century by the Karlsruhe engineer Johann Gottfried Tulla. The Upper Rhine was thus tamed and given a completely new appearance. How did this previously impetuous and powerful stream affect the lives of the inhabitants of the reed villages of Ottersdorf, Wintersdorf and Plittersdorf? A dugout canoe from Merovingian times, a floodable model and a large ship's bow tell the story.
How the Rhine influenced the region
The wild stream is to be tamed
Considered a marvel of engineering in his day, Tulla presented his plans to tame the "wild" Rhine River in 1817. The primary aim was to improve the living conditions of the Rhine's inhabitants in order to protect them from floods and diseases such as rheumatism and change fever.
Economic interests, especially shipping, were also an important driving force behind the Rhine expansion. This tension between technical engineering achievements and economic-political interests on the one hand and the habitat changes on the other hand is presented in the permanent exhibition of the Riedmuseum through numerous exhibits, maps, models and stagings.
The Rhine model
The centerpiece is a 6 x 2.5 meter Rhine floodplain model on a scale of 1:2000. It simulates the course of the Rhine between Hügelsheim and Steinmauern in 1852. The model can be flooded and illustrates different water levels from low water to extreme high water as well as the effects on the surrounding area. The section of the stream north of Ottersdorf was already "rectified" at that time and shows the straightened Rhine that had been brought into a riverbed. The southern section, on the other hand, was still Rheinurstrom territory, with its meandering riverbed branched into many branches. In addition, plans and maps from 1595 to 1872 document the course of the Rhine in the reed landscape, which always changed during extreme floods.
The Baden "foot
In order to define a boundary, precise measurements must be taken - not at all easy in an era without a uniform system of measurement. One of Tulla's great achievements was to standardize the very different measures of length - feet, raths and fathoms - on the Baden side in a decimal system. This was defined by the Urmeter in Paris. The "Badische Normalmaßstab" of 1829, which is on display in the Riedmuseum, defines the Baden "foot" as 30 centimeters. This made it possible to define the ban and sovereign borders along the Rhine, which were planted with poplar avenues - these are represented in the Riedmuseum by printed flags.
From dugout to ship bow
A relic from Merovingian times, a dugout canoe, ends the tour of the museum. The boat was recovered in the 1930s and dates back to 927 AD. The inhabitants of the Rhine used it to navigate the waters to catch fish, to cross the river or to reach the Rhine islands used for agriculture. Opposite the dugout canoe in the entrance area of the museum is a mighty ship's bow, which is intended to illustrate the Rhine as a waterway and transport route. The two exhibits thematize the transformation of a tranquil river and marshland landscape, albeit one that was not very comfortable for humans, into a highly mechanized artistic landscape shaped by industrial and economic interests.
The Riedmuseum Rastatt is open from March to October
Fri, Sat, Sun and holidays: 2pm to 6pm
Group tours by arrangement
Adults 3 euros, reduced 1 euro
Group tour 40 €, on weekends and holidays 50 € (max. 20 people)
Free admission with the Museum-Pass-Musée