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July 8, 2017: Ship of Fools, Nürnberg


This Ship of Fools has run aground in a square in Nürnberg, where the local council has vetoed plans to complete its installation as a fountain. And so it sits, dry and intriguing.


It's the work of German sculptor Jürgen Weber, and was cast in 1987. There's another copy, in the town of Hameln (yes, home of the Pied Piper).

The statue is based on a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, who lived nearby, and was originally an illustration for Sebastian Brandt's 1497 satirical verse, Das Narrenschiff, or Ship of Fools. The original was aimed at the follies of mankind and how they threatened the world; the statue updates that with text around the edge appealing against environmental destruction, war and violence.


A local sponsor, Kurt Klutentreter, paid for the erection of the statue, recognized in the small plaque that says "Sponsored by Kurt Klutentreter, great-uncle of Eva Maria Weber, daughter of the pencilmaker Munker, earlier owner of the nearby #1-3 Plobenhof Street." He's also the one who offered to pay for the plumbing needed to carry out the original plan of water spilling out the sides of the boat.


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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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Thanks, George! Sloppy transcription on my part. I had it copied down as Uronkel.

I've seen two stories about why no fountain: One is that they really didn't want the statue at all and hoped that by not having the fountain-works installed they'd have a better chance of removing it later; the other was that there were issues with how much digging would be needed to do it. No idea which, if either, is the real answer!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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