East Frisia doesn’t have many sights that are popular nationwide. There’s one, though, that basically everyone knows: The lighthouse in Pilsum.
Pilsum is a tiny village in the Krummhörn county where only about 500 people live. The lighthouse there isn’t really an imposing piece of architecture: it’s only 11 meters tall, and with its red and yellow coating it looks more cute than impressive.
So how come it’s such a well known landmark in Germany?
It was where the main character in the 1989 German movie “Otto – Der Außerfriesische” lived. The main character is played by Otto Waalkes, one of Germany’s most successful comedians. In the film, some ruthless businessmen want to buy the lighthouse to tear it down and build a test track in Otto’s beloved home.
When I arrived at the lighthouse, my first impressions were: It’s cold, it’s windy and it smells like cow dung. Even though the place is well known, the atmosphere was not touristy. All the things that I’m not fond of at more popular sights, were just not there.
For one thing, it’s not crowded. One can walk around without worrying about bumping into someone every second. You can even take photos without capturing other people trying to do the same. And there weren’t sellers trying to get you to buy things like cheap jewelry, unappealing miniature figures or selfie sticks.
There is a small parking lot and three walking paths to get to the lighthouse: One on top of the dike, the other two right and left of the dike. Not far from the lighthouse, some geese were walking around, minding their own business.
I couldn’t avoid having a fondness for this place.
However, not everything was great. Some personal notes of previous visitors could be found scribbled on the lighthouse:
“I love you Alina“
“Adrian you are my best friend“
“JM was here“
and even visitors’ favorite football clubs.
Next to the lighthouse there was a board, where couples could leave locks as a symbol for their endless love.
I appreciated the simplicity of the place. It’s not perfect, but I’m not looking for perfection anyway. Watching the geese, looking at the sea, feeling the fresh breeze and seeing a sight I saw on TV during my childhood… I couldn’t ask for anything else.