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Inextricably linked to Austrian poet Peter Rosegger

The Waldheimat region in Hochsteiermark

Today, the area is known as the “Waldheimat” (forest home) region, inspired by the Peter Rosegger novel of the same name. The name speaks of the region’s fir forests, valleys and high-alpine meadows. It pays tribute to a picturesque landscape that was made for hiking. And of course, it underlines the fact that this is where famous Styrian writer Peter Rosegger was born and raised.

„No man on earth has ever given me as much joy as nature has, with its colours, sounds and smells, with its peace and different moods.“
Poet Peter Rosegger (1843–1918)

These are the words Austrian poet Peter Rosegger (1843–1918) used to describe his home, the region surrounding Krieglach and Alpl in the Fischbach Alps. The two villages are connected by the Alpl mountain pass.

The world of Peter Rosegger

It’s virtually impossible to visit the Waldheimat region without coming across the traces of Peter Rosegger. All through the region, fascinating sites are testament to his great work.

Birthplace and forest school at Alpl

To get an idea of how austere farm life was during Rosegger’s childhood days, visit Kluppeneggerhof at 1,150 metres above sea level, right in the heart of the picturesque Waldheimat region. The only way to get there is on foot, with no direct access available for cars or busses. The walk up to Rosegger’s birthplace from the car park at the Waldschule (forest school) takes about 30 minutes.

Good to know: For visitors with restricted mobility, there’s an on-demand shuttle service to Kluppeneggerhof offered by Taxi Almer (Phone: 03855 2213) and Sigi’s Taxi (Phone: 03855 2481). Costs are around EUR 50 for a van for up to eight people.

In 1902, Peter Rosegger had the Waldschule forest school built to help local farm children get an education. The school was in operation until 1975, today it houses a historic classroom as well as the Austrian Hiking Museum.

Our tip: The “outdoor museum picnic” is a nice way to follow in the footsteps of the Austrian writer. It combines hiking, culinary delights and information and offers splendid views of the Fischbach Alps.
 

Rosegger museum in Krieglach

In 1877, Peter Rosegger had a summer house built for his family after his own designs – today’s Rosegger museum. By this time, he had seen more of the world and had gone from farmers’ child to critical thinker. The current wald.heimat exhibition is dedicated to Peter Rosegger, the political person. The exhibition’s name goes back to one of his most famous works and to the days when the forest, a natural habitat for animals and plants, also provided people with shelter and food. It outlines the meaning of the forest as seen by Peter Rosegger, who had a lot to say about the relationship between man and the woods. On the other hand, it also highlights the role of today’s forests.

The permanent exhibition “Who does the Grossglockner belong to?” grants fascinating insights into the life of the critical, political and self-aware Styrian.

Hiking in Rosegger‘s Waldheimat region

It would be a shame not to go hiking in a place where nature so freely reveals its opulent beauty. Once again, you will find traces of the famous Styrian poet on every step of the way, for instance during the two-hour forest-to-forest tour at Alpl.

The famous Mariazellerweg that leads to Mariazell pilgrimage church also passes through the Waldheimat region. A section of trail No. 706 B runs across Alpl and St. Barbara im Mürztal towards Mariazell.

Winter tips for a festive Christmas season

The “Christtagsfreude” hike, which takes place every year on the last Sunday before Christmas Eve, is a very special experience. It includes a reading, music and small snacks. It follows the same path young Peter Rosegger took in 1855 to get from his birthplace in Krieglach to Langenwang, where his parents had sent him to buy food for Christmas. What used to be a necessity for the little farmers’ boy, today is a nice way to get in the Christmas mood.

For more information, call the municipal office of Langenwang at 03854 615516.

More places to visit in Hochsteiermark