A trip to Curitiba is a great chance to see several pieces of the world in the same region. The reason for that is that many immigrants arrived here and left us an important legacy to build our history. So it is the case of Witmarsum Settlement, located about 60 km from Curitiba. It is an-hour trip for you to know more about the mennonites who came to Brazil and have a German experience!
In this post you will find:
- know about the begining of the settlement
- know the main attractions
- tips about regional food
- find out where to buy local products
- book your tour to Witmarsum Settlement
Witmarsum Settlement was founded by mennonite immigrants from the town Witmarsum, located in the neighbor state of Santa Catarina. Originated in Frisia, today between Holland and Germany, the mennonites arrived in Santa Catatina in 1930. Later, in 1951, some families bought the former Fazenda Cancela (farm) in Palmeira. So they began the Colônia Witmarsum (rural settlement). A place to live, work, practice the religion and traditions of the mennonites. With much work and dedication, Witmarsum is known today as a reference for dairy products and other farming produce.It is also a tour attraction : different and interesting place to visit!
Colônia Witmarsum has about 2,000 inhabitants, 1,200 of them mennonites who keep the traditions and German language and food alive. Be delighted with the landscapes and enjoy the rural atmosphere. An off-beaten track tour to make your trip to Curitiba more interesting!
To know more about the history of the settlement, the Heimat Museum (local museum) is mandatory. The place used to be the main house of the Cancela farm and reminds the past. The museum has a complete collection that will show you how the pioneers lived. Clothing, furniture, pictures and objects used by the mennonites who came here. It is not modern, but well organized in the several rooms.
A time trip, is it not? The museum opens weekends and holidays from 2 PM to 5 PM. For visits during the week, it is necessary to make an appointment (phone +55 42 3254-1347). The entrance fee is R$ 5 per person. The historian Heinz Egon Philippsen works in the museum and tells details about the history of the mennonites and about the settlement! Your tour will be much nicer with an specialized tour guide. Our tours in Witmarsum include experienced tour guides, exclusive for you, as our tours are private and can be booked in different languages.
Right next to the museum you will see the tourist information office that also sells some local products.The place is very charming!
For lunch, enjoy the German specialties! At Bela Vista you will find delicious traditional meals, such as stuffed mallards, spätli (kind of pasta), sauerkraut, kassler, pork´s knee, sausages and others. Order blackberry juice - delicious and fresh! For dessert, the not-to-miss apple strudel with ice cream. You can buy some things to take home, such as cheese, or even apple strudel to bake home.
If you fancy coffee and cake there is a great option in Witmarsum! Confeitaria Kliewer as what we call "café colonial" - an all you can eat buffet with pies, bread, cookies and other delicacies you can eat there or buy to take home. The place has a nice atmosphere for families,with a small playground in a pleasan outside area.
Another nice place is Lecker.Open since 2017, it is a charming and more intimate place. You can even have a picnic there (order a basket). And surely, there are several German specialties!
Picture: picnic at Lecker
At the central market you will find cheese locally produced by Cooperativa Witmarsum - of several kinds - very famous here! The fine cheese production began 1999 with the help of a Swiss cheese master and today can be found in the best supermarkets in our area. There are Brazilian cheese sorts such as minas frescal and international ones such as ricotta, asiago, camembert, brie, appenzeller, emmental, raclette and fondue. Yummy!
Tip: if you intend to buy cheese, remember to bring a cooler to store it,or buy it at the end of the tour.
Right in front of Confeitaria Kliewer you will see the store Toll, that sells many cute things from Germany, like the famous"Räuchermännchen", cute dolls in varied sizes. A fun way to burn special incenses (sold there as well). You will also see original kuckuck clocks and decoration objects, besides local products.
Witmarsum has also a micro-brewery, the Usinamalte, that produces craft beer there. It is possible to buy the beer bottles at Toll or in several restaurants and cafés. It is worth tasting!
Another nice tip is to make a tractor tour at Tracktur. The tours last between 10 and 25 minutes inside a local property. A fun experience for the whole family! Saturdays and Sundays children can ride a poney at Ponyland.
Saturday morning there is a local fair in front of the cooperative from 9am to noon. You will find local products and if you are there in other days, some of them can be found at the information office. In other days, you will find some of these products in the tourist information office and in local stores.
Witmarsum is a different place to visit just 65 km from Curitiba. A pleasant and quiet place. Do not except a village with a downtown area and square. The properties are located a bit far from each other. It used to be a farm that was divided into smaller properties and each owner developed different activities as time went by. Today several places welcome tourists and visitors and the number of them increases every year, especially during weekends!
Do you want to visit Witmarsum? We take you there!
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Did you know that it is possible to schedule technical visits about farming and dairy in real farms? You can know more about milk, soy, beans and more. Contact us at +55 41 3232-1314 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org - for further information and a tailor-made offer!
Curiosities about mennonites and Colônia Witmarsum
- the mennonites did not come directly from Germany - before that they were for centuries in Russia,but kept their German traditions. They only flew from Russia 1929 when the Russian government made the military service mandatory for them;
- the neighborhood Boqueirão in Curitiba welcomed many mennonites as well and the dairy production of them was very important to supply Curitiba´s population;
- the inhabitants of Colônia Witmarsum usually speak German fluently and the public school has German classes;
- the local Cooperative Witmarsum works mainly with fine cheese and milkproduction. As the properties are located close to the industrial area, the milk is very fresh and the products have high quality. The height of 1,000 m above sea level guarantees good conditions for the well-being of the cows. The Brazilian and international cheese sorts produced there are highly appreciated.
- according to the mennonite pastor Fridbert August, "mennonites areanabaptists, they are part of the group after Luther´s reform, when the Holy Bible was accesible for all christians, chuch ans state were separated and the adults were baptized. Today, mennonites search to follow Jesus steps at daily basis, for the pacifism and for the community life - Witmarsum is a great example for that".
- the Amish is a conservative christian group that live in USA and Canada. They are "cousins" of the mennonites and also an anabaptist group. The mennonites are more progressive and less strict. Amish people, for instance, are against technology such as cars and telephones.