TannenhofHISTORY

By now the Schnei­ders fami­ly has been working in the Christ­mas tree busi­ness for more than fif­ty years. It all star­ted in Duis­burg in the late fif­ties when Her­mann und Mar­lies Schnei­ders dealt in fruits and vege­ta­bles. During the advent sea­son they sup­ple­men­ted their offe­rings on the far­mers’ mar­kets with Christ­mas trees that were bought from fores­ters from Bel­gi­um or from the “Sauer­land” in Ger­ma­ny. First the only trees offe­red were Nor­way spruces that were obtai­ned by the nor­mal thin­ning out of forests. In 1963 the fami­ly star­ted sel­ling Christ­mas trees at the “Super-Maga­zin” in Duis­burg-Mei­de­rich which was also their first stall that was exclu­si­ve­ly used for sel­ling Christ­mas trees. Here Mar­lies Schnei­ders con­ti­nued sel­ling Christ­mas trees every year until the end of 2012. During the years more and more pla­ces fol­lo­wed, main­ly in the Ruhr­ge­biet.

Ori­gi­nal­ly Her­mann Schnei­ders and his fami­ly come from Ham­buch (Eifel) whe­re they were working as far­mers. Soon Her­mann Schnei­ders rea­li­sed the poten­ti­al of pro­du­cing and sel­ling Christ­mas trees and thus it didn’t take him long to set up the first com­mer­ci­al Christ­mas tree plan­ta­ti­on on one of the family’s fiel­ds.

Working on the field during win­ter was bur­den­so­me. Cut­ting down the trees, remo­ving them from the forest, loa­ding them on trucks – ever­y­thing had to be done under win­try wea­ther con­di­ti­ons. The­re­fo­re Her­mann Schnei­ders star­ted thin­king on how to impro­ve the con­di­ti­ons and faci­li­ta­te the work qui­te soon. The most important result of his efforts was pro­bab­ly the inven­ti­on of a hydrau­lic machi­ne to wrap the trees with the typi­cal net for which he recei­ved a patent in 1980. Howe­ver he was able to find solu­ti­ons for all are­as invol­ved – star­ting at the begin­ning with impro­ve­ments in plan­ting the seed­lings just till the end with faci­li­ta­ti­ons of loa­ding and sel­ling.

In 2002 the com­pa­ny foun­der died of a heart attack in the midd­le of the Christ­mas sea­son. Without hesi­ta­ti­on his daugh­ter Clau­dia and her hus­band Georg Val­der took over the respon­si­bi­li­ty for the firm.

They star­ted to rest­ruc­tu­re the com­pa­ny in a cau­tious but con­ti­nuous man­ner. The tra­di­tio­nal agri­cul­tu­re, the catt­le-bree­ding and also the pro­duc­tion of Her­mann Schnei­ders’ wrap­ping machi­nes were shut down whe­re­as the cul­ti­va­ti­on of Christ­mas trees and the pro­duc­tion of folia­ge have been expan­ded con­ti­nuous­ly. Today the com­pa­ny has rough­ly 120 hec­ta­re of cul­ti­va­ti­on area and is thus one of the big play­ers in the Christ­mas tree busi­ness.

As the pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty of the stalls in the Ruhr­ge­biet decrea­sed con­ti­nuous­ly – a result of the gro­wing com­pe­ti­ti­on from buil­ding cen­tres that sell Christ­mas trees for mar­ke­ting rea­sons – the­se stalls were shut down gra­dual­ly.

Today the aim of Tan­nen­hof Schnei­ders is to pro­du­ce Chris­mas trees and folia­ge in lar­ge lot sizes but in a decent qua­li­ty and for rea­son­ab­le pri­ces!

In the con­text of exten­si­ve but necessa­ry res­to­ra­ti­on mea­su­res we have instal­led a huge solar power sys­tem on the halls’ roof in Ham­buch in 2011.

Cur­r­ent­ly we are plan­ning to set up an elec­tro­ly­sis faci­li­ty with which we want to use the solar ener­gy to pro­du­ce hydro­gen for fuel cell vehi­cles direct­ly at the Tan­nen­hof.

Our for­mer cow­shed has been trans­for­med into an events hall with a capa­ci­ty for up to 1000 peop­le. The events at our loca­ti­on are gro­wing in popu­la­ri­ty among the peop­le that are living in the sur­roun­ding regi­on. Espe­ci­al­ly the “Home­jer Fich­tel­kir­mes” which is sup­por­ted by the local asso­cia­ti­ons of Ham­buch has alre­ady beco­me a con­stant in the event sche­du­le.

The first steps have been made to esta­blish the Tan­nen­hof as an events loca­ti­on and cul­tu­ral cent­re for the who­le regi­on.