Who is Frau Holle and Why is She Called Franz in Austria?

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When Frau Easy Hiker saw this in Soelden, she was intrigued.

Who is Frau Holle

and why is she called “Franz” in Austria?

"A cable car in Soelden Austria"

Frau Holle heisst bei uns Franz

Frau Holle, you will be thrilled to know, is a rather complex character in Nordic mythology, associated with peace, fertility and the underworld.

She is also a supporting character in the Grimms’s fairly tale of the Cinderella-like Goldmarie, a girl who is badly mistreated by her evil step mum and has a character of, you guessed it, gold.


"Frau Holle depicted by dolls in Hattingen Christmas Market in Germany"


Everything that anybody in German knows about Frau Holle, however, is that if she shakes her duvets (from somewhere up there in the clouds), it snows. (A belief, it is fair to point out, that has been rather discredited by modern science.)


"Christmas market in Hattingen in the Ruhrgebiet in Germany"


For the past few years, Frau Holle has been the fairy tale character in residence at the picturesque Hattingen Christmas Market in west Germany.

She takes up residence on 1 December in the Old Town Hall, and at 5 p.m. every day from then until Christmas Eve, she opens a window of the giant Advent Calendar which decorates the facade of her temporary home.

"The Advents Kalendar house in Hattingen Christmas market in Germany"

We chanced upon this at the end of one of our hikes in the Ruhrgebiet, the old industrial heartland of Germany.

And why is Frau Holle called Franz in Austria? Well, our Austrian friends have some explaining to do. 


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