Friday, April 1, 2011

Hamelin's motto

Image: a white circle with several spiraling lines leading up to two, intersected, blue bootlaces, surrounded by the words "Selbständige Stad das Hameln – Nunquam disputus rodentologist".
Seal of Hamelin, depicting a grindstone.
Around the top, in German, is written
"Independent City of Hamelin."
Around the bottom, in Latin,
"Never dispute people who
study rodents."
I still remember when I discovered that Hamelin was real. I always thought the name had been invented for the Pied Piper fable, since it seemed like little more than random consonants.

Formally the große selbständige Stad das Hameln (or Greater Independent City of Hamelin) the town has actually founded way back in the 9th century! The tale of the Pied Piper arose as an explanation for why, in 1284, the town had no children.

The people of Hamelin have taken the story of the Pied Piper to heart, and it has permeated every aspect of the city. Indeed, the entire economy of the city is based around tourism of people who come to see the place where the legend was born. Attempts were made to industrialize the city in the 1940s and 50s, but they all failed. This is actually what has allowed the city to stay preserved in its 13th century state!

Perhaps the most visible influence is in the city's motto: Nunquam disputus rodentologist; commonly translated from Latin as "Don't argue with one who knows his rodents," showing that the people who wrote it didn't quite get the lesson from the Pied Piper's tale.

Though it's pretty handy for me, isn't it? After all, what I've done on this blog has made a rodentologist.

Frank-the-mouse clasps his hands together, and smiles, closing his eyes cutely.


  1. APRIL FOOLS everyone!

    Although Hamelin was founded in the 9th century as "little hamlet" (hence the name), and the story of the Pied Piper is important to them, the city does not have a motto or a seal. It does, however, have a coat of arms which includes a grindstone as one of its elements.

    Hamelin has also been successfully industrialized since 1907, has very modern public facilities, and currently has a population of about 60,000 people that I respect very much.