Those who shine for their products and regions
Long dress, shining sash, crown in the hair, basket in the hand - there's no question that the parade of product queens and kings at Grüne Woche causes quite a stir. Mobile phones are pulled out, visitors crowd the paths and the stage, everyone is watching. It is rare to see so many, mostly young women in princess outfits or local costumes in the capital. At the ErlebnisBauernhof in Hall 3.2, they are given the stage once a year as representatives of the most diverse product groups and regions.
Around 100 royalty walk around the packed hall on the well-attended Sunday afternoon before being greeted individually by Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers' Association, and taking their places on the stage for a group photo. The Bavarian Honey Queen in traditional costume and with a gold crown is there, as well as the Hagen Cherry Queen, the Rhenish Potato Queen and the Brine Princess Marlene. There are also a few men in the picture, such as the Foliage King Tobias II from Udersleben in Thuringia or the Potato King from Fallersleben.
Volunteering at festivals and events
All women, representing and smiling - isn't that somehow out of date? The five little primary school girls, who are eager to collect autograph cards from the waiting queens with shining eyes, don't think so. And neither do the product royalty themselves, because they have a serious concern: Many of them come from a farm or work there. As product sovereigns, they travel the country on a voluntary basis to publicise their region and its main product. However, there are also men and women who become product queens and kings as career changers.
The rapeseed queen of the Baltic Sea island of Poel, for example, is called Anne Matulat and was elected as her island's rapeseed ambassador for two years in May 2023. In real life, she is an administrative officer; as queen, she wears a rich yellow floor-length dress with a stand-up collar, a green sash and a modern, edgy tiara created for her by design students at Wismar University of Applied Sciences. "I like the contact with the many people I meet through this office," she says. But she does like the eye-catching dress: "You slip into the role of a queen and shine for the region."
Faulunger Muskönigin Melanie with entourage
Faulunger Muskönigin Melanie I has a whole entourage in tow. "Security Muskönigin Melanie I" is written on the plum-coloured T-shirts that the two women next to her have put on. "There are a total of 20 of us from our village who support Melanie," says one of them. "This office is very important to us," explains Musk Queen Melanie, 20 years old and in the middle of her training to become a nursery school teacher. Faulungen is a village of 350 inhabitants in Thuringia, where there are countless trees with plums that are processed into jam. "Our Muskönigin used to be the one who made the best jam," explains Highness Melanie. "My grandma can still do that too."
Alex II, the 18th Lüneburg Gay Heath King
The office of Lüneburg's Gay Heath King is perhaps the best example of how strong the charisma of a "Highness" can be: in 2000, the Lüneburg Aidshilfe organisation selected the "Gay Heath King" for the first time in order to raise awareness of HIV. "We go to rural festivals, shooting festivals or harvest festivals, where the structures in clubs are often still very conservative," says the reigning Lüneburg Gay Heath King Alex II, who appears very reserved in black trousers, a grey turtleneck jumper and a small crown, on the Grüne Woche stage. "We want to show young people in particular that queer life is also possible in the countryside." His message: everyone should be allowed to love who they want and show themselves as they are. And the hall erupts in applause.