Krippenhaus Steinbach a. d. Steyr

Nativity Scenes from all around the world

The exhibition “Nativity scenes from all around the world” displays about 600 nativity scenes from almost 100 countries. How did the idea originate and above all, how does one acquire these nativity scenes which include exotic pieces from all over the world – these are the questions visitors to the Krippenhaus in Steinbach an der Steyr ask time and again. Willi Pils, nativity scene collector, gives this answer: About 20 years ago, I was in the possession of a small collection of exhibits from different countries and I had the idea to further extend this collection to one that would truly include “nativity scenes from all around the world”. I asked the Austrian Embassies throughout the world to send me typical nativity scenes from their countries, with great success. Thanks to the embassy employees, the collection quickly grew to more than 100 exhibits. For this, I would like to thank them once again. Then I asked missionary orders for their support and the sisters were so eager in collecting pieces that my collection soon filled the room of an inn. The continual transport was difficult to manage – therefore, a permanent home for the exhibition had to be found. This is how today’s Krippenhaus was founded in 2001. My collection is markedly different from traditional nativity scene exhibitions which focus on artistically designed houses, palaces, towns, caves etc. To me, the figurines, materials and typical craft techniques of the various countries as well as the many small curiosities are much more important. In addition, my collection includes some rarities such as the only large Japanese nativity scene publicly accessible, an Iranian knotted carpet with 700,000 knots, crèches made of ebony, banana leaves, ceramics, glass, brass, shells etc. and works by native Americans, Aborigines, Papuans, Inuit and many others. The exhibition is wheelchair-accessible, has a stair lift and two high-end strollers for children. Detailed descriptions lead visitors on a nativity scene journey through all continents.


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