Making its mark: How violin making began in Markneukirchen, Germany


From a formative guild of emigrés to world-conquering mass production, few places have as colourful a lutherie story to tell as Markneukirchen. Enrico Weller and William Wisehart assess the history and distinctive character of violin making in this corner of southern Saxony

When in 1677, Moritz, Duke of Saxony, released an edict establishing a new guild for luthiers in a small town on the border of his domain, his concern was economics, not artistry. In endeavouring to redevelop a dukedom depopulated several decades earlier by the violence of the Thirty Years War and repeated outbreaks of plague, he was addressing a question which has become urgently contemporary: how can political refugees be turned into valuable assets of the society that is their new home?

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