The Fläming is a historically grown cultural landscape in the border region between Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, where one of the most interesting Christmas baked goods in German cuisine can be found – the Klemmkuchen. It was brought to the country by settlers from Flanders, who were brought here from 1157 by Albrecht I (also known as Albrecht the Bear). (also known as Albrecht the Bear). After years of struggle, he was able to militarily pacify the Mark Brandenburg, which had already been transferred to him in 1150, and after he was able to rightfully call himself “Adelbertus Die gratia marchio in Brandenborch” [1] (Margrave of Brandenburg) for the first time on 3 October 1157, he began an ambitious settlement policy to drive the development of the country forward. The settlers from what are now Holland and Flanders were most important for the land, because it was only through their experience in dyke construction that the areas along the Elbe and Havel rivers could also be settled.

 

In Fläming, their customs can still be found today, and one of the most beautiful is certainly the baking of the “Klemmkuchen”. The dough is filled into a “clamp” and then baked over an open fire. This is more difficult than it sounds, because the traditional tongs weigh several kilos and have to be “clamped”, i.e. pressed together, during the baking process. In return, you are rewarded with an elaborate, if somewhat flat, “cake”, because these clamps are elaborately decorated on the inside.

That is why not only this cake is part of the local culture, but also the “clamp irons”. The oldest example is in the local history museum in Dahme and dates back to 1571, but we can marvel at around 80 more from all centuries in this museum. In the past, they were made by the local blacksmiths and every bride received her own copy to take with her to her new family.

 

 

[1] “Albrecht I”; online source: Wikipedia
Image: CC4.0; © Museum im Mönchenkloster Jüterbog & Dietmar Fuhrmann; link to licence