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Lime burning at the Swiss Open-Air Museum

On Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 August 2023, lime will be fired again at the Swiss Open-Air Museum. Visitors can observe the spectacular burning process and get creative while making their very own “sgraffito” scratch art.

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Alle zwei Jahre wird im Freilichtmuseum Ballenberg gezeigt wie Kalk gebrannt wird.

Every stone has been perfectly layered: specialists have freshly filled the lime kiln in the Brandboden area of the Swiss Open-Air Museum and prepared it for the next firing session. For over 20 years, this outdoor kiln has been regularly heated up in order to burn limestone.

Lime as a building material in the museum

The Swiss Open-Air Museum needs this breathable, humidity-regulating building product to maintain its historic houses. Processed lime is used as mortar, for plastering, in diluted form as limewash for walls and ceilings, and as a bonding agent when reconstructing buildings. Limestone is heated in the kiln to over 1,000°C and then “extinguished” with water after cooling. This technique from the past has been revived at Ballenberg and is being continued according to old traditions.

“Sgraffito” scratch art for everyone

The outdoor kiln will be in operation on Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 August 2023, when visitors to the museum can watch it working. From 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, there will be an opportunity to create works of art using lime: visitors will be able to “scratch” their own sgraffito pieces and take them home as a souvenir. After the museum has officially closed, visitors to the lime kiln can also experience for themselves how spectacular the firing process can be as night draws in. They will spend a pleasant evening at the museum, learning everything about the craft from Ballenberg’s lime-burning professionals.


Swiss Open-Air Museum

Museumsstrasse 100
CH-3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz

+41 33 952 10 30

Opening hours

11 April to 27 October 2024
10 am to 5 pm daily

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