Railway crib

This work, carved from wood, is painted with watercolour. Created for the adjacent railway exhibition, it depicts the Holy Family seeking shelter in a railway carriage after a bomb explosion. Numerous symbols bear witness to the artist's faith:

    The grape and the bread: metaphor for the host and the wine of the Eucharist
    The Alpha and the Omega that can be seen on the Easter candle: the first and the last letter of the Greek alphabet that indicate the beginning and the end of all things.
    The Epiphany Star
    Jonas and the sea monster

Norbert ROTH, Tyrol (Austria)

Crip in a windmill

Windmill technology was discovered during the Crusades in the Orient and emerged in Europe at the end of the XIIIth century. In this crib Jesus, Mary and Joseph find shelter in the middle of a mill hill. It is a symbolic place because the name of the town of Bethlehem means House of Bread. It is easy to make a connection between the grain (the fruit of the cereal that is processed into bread), the host (the body of Christ) and Jesus (the bread of the world).

Windmill made in the crib school, background decoration painted by Geissendorf.

Figures and robes from the studio LANG in Oberammergau (D) 

Why wander into the distance to seek God? He is so close to us! Goethe (2001)

This crib was made of assembled and painted stones from the Baltic Sea. It represents an uncommon sculpture technique: the combination of elements. The stones are the starting point for the creation of small laughing figures that express very well the Franciscan ideology of the crib.

Brother Leo KOHORST, OFM, Hamburg (D)

Mechanical nativity scene from Liguria (1989)

Wooden figures with articulated limbs and figures made of modelling clay, manufactured by moulding old models, reinforced with iron wire, various fabrics. Inspired by the Genoese tradition.

Various mechanisms enliven the crib: the forge and the blacksmith, the chestnut merchant, the donkey, the scissors grinder, the woman cooking polenta in a copper kettle (preparation of a corn flour dish) and the woman grinding coffee. Two waterfalls complete the scenography and drive the wheel of the grain mill.

Candle of the birth of Christ

In the Christian tradition, wax has often been used for religious images. The wick at the tip of the candle has a considerable symbolic content because it points to Christ (light of the world), to the star (guide in the night) and to God (intangible presence).

Creator unknown.

Crib in a logboat (1980s)

Nativity carved from an ebony trunk. This work of extraordinary technical virtuosity is an example of modern African art. It is carved in a single block, with the exception of the angelwings. The creator here combines traditional Makonde art with a central theme of Christian religion. The canoe, an organic ensemble, records the birth of Christ under the benevolent gaze of the shepherds. This is a new and original view of the birth of Christ, because the Holy Family is "hidden" in a boat that departs with unknown destination.

Makonde Artist, Tanzania

Holy family made of plaster (1903)

This is a special work because it provides a multitude of details about Joseph's profession. We all know he was a carpenter, it should however be noted that the Hebrew term can also be translated as architect. You can see in Joseph the father who builds his house and protects his family. Here he is depicted at his workbench, with his angle, his saws and his plane. The cross seems to be the result of his work and gives a glimpse of the coming crucifixion.

Creator unknown (GWDSL stamp)

Birth of Christ in Rosewood

Joseph is depicted here as the protector of his family.


Modern crib (1964)

The 3 figures are made of glazed ceramic and have a geometric character, as was characteristic of the sixties.

This composition is a harmonious example of the renewal of religious art. The work can be exhibited in two different ways, either as a Nativity by placing the child in the crib, or as a Holy Family by placing it in Mary's arms.

Mrs RONCARATI, Liège (B)
Depot of the parish Saint Vincent, Ans (B)

Outdoor crib on the market square of Turnhout (1989)

The tradition of setting up nativity scenes in natural size in the province of Anvers dates back to 1957. Every year, the committee builds the crib on the Grand-Place of Brussels.

The stable in Kempen is made up of materials recovered from old ruined farms (oak beams, bricks, tiles...) and the decor is complemented by numerous old accessories and agricultural tools.

Andreas and Beatrice DEMETZ, South Tyrol

Gloria the Angel (1999)

"Jerusalem, let your light shine!  Your light has appeared to us."

The angels and Jesus are made of faience in the sense of the techniques of DELLA ROBBIA, artists of the Florentine Renaissance.

The symbolic weight of the comet announces the coming of the Saviour to the world. It connects the earth, the sky and points the way that leads to happiness. The Eucharist, represented by the allegory of bread and wine, is a means of getting there.

The star represents the heavenly Jerusalem. Each angel is a messenger between God and man, symbolizing the initiation stages on the journey to salvation.

Composition by Michel Vincent, Liège (B), based on his design during the 1999 crib competition at the Ars Krippana Museum.

Star of gilded wood, 270 X 75 cm, Heinz HAAS, Prüm (D), 1999.

Christmas Night in Stavelot (1999-2000)

The scene of the birth of Christ is housed in a timbered barn that opens onto Rue Haute in Stavelot. The group of figures wears typical costumes from the Ardennes and the Eifel.

The child sitting in front of the Virgin offers a "cougnou": a Christmas cake made of white flour, kneaded by hand and of the same shape as the wrapped newborn. This was the only gift the children received on Christmas Eve.

Figures in hand-painted terracotta and regional background decor inspired by a district of wooden houses in Stavelot, Michel VINCENT, Liège (B), with the support of Toni DANIEL, Losheim (D).

Sandstone crib

In the Netherlands, the crib custom emerged very late. Scenes of the birth of Christ, goldsmith's work, have been known since the end of the Middle Ages, but were destroyed by Protestants. The, sometimes tolerated and sometimes secretly practiced, Catholic cult was officially reinstated after 1853.

The ensemble shown here is of a modern conception: it combines the two most popular themes of holy history, the Nativity and the Passion. The Child Jesus (inspired by the icon and certain medieval representations) is wrapped in diapers and rests in a sarcophagus. Mary wears a cross around her neck, Joseph has put hammers and nails in his belt indicating the crucifixion, and the kneeling sage wears a crown of thorns.

Figures, groups and objects, made of sandstone terracotta, hand-formed (over 1100°C) by Annemie KONINGS, Scheveningen (NL).

Zoological crib (1990)

Even in the Old Testament animals were used to reveal a fundamental concept of the messianic epoch: the concept of peace. Here you can admire 3 figures and 65 stuffed animals.

This zoo is reminiscent of paradise on earth, where humans and animals live together in harmony. In the background you can see Noah's Ark, which symbolizes the salvation of man and animal, and the rainbow, which is a symbol of peace.

Decor made by the Nativity Scene Friends of the Ardennes and the Eifel

The Choir of Angels (Present)

An ensemble of Baltic stones that have been assembled and painted. Various minerals.

Brother Leo Korhorst, Hamburg (D).

Snowy crib from the Eifel (1992)

This type of regional building is still quite new, as it was only with the help of the Belgian Association of Friends of the Nativity Scenes that it came to Krippana. As in the works of Brueghel, the model of the decayed barns from Flanders can be found here.

Figures in costumes and animals made of painted wood, company LANG (D).

Buildings and landscape: Belgian Association of Friends of the Nativity scenes under the direction of Karl-Heinz HALMES, Hergersberg.

Cribs from tree stumps

Combination of a regional decor, composed only of elements collected in nature, and of figures imported over a century and a half ago by the artists of the Lucca region of Tuscany. The ensemble is complete, which is relatively rare. The inscription in Dutch on the searching angel clearly reveals the congeniality of the creators, who received a significant commission in 1853 after the re-admission of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands.

Oak stump decor, Heinz HAAS, Prüm (D) and Michel VINCENT, Liège (B). (2004)

Figures and animals in plaster, painted with oil paint, models of Tuscan origin from Dutch production, workshop unknown. (Middle of the XXth century)

Mountaincrib: "That's him!" (1939)

Work in one piece, made of natural plaster, figures and animals formed with disposable moulds, decor worked directly from plaster, on wooden frame and jute canvas.

Georg METZEN (1898-1943): Talented sculptor, trained in the fine arts in Trier, he has not forgotten the lessons of Auguste Rodin. His figures are not always the exact reflection of reality. They receive their proportions after the golden section. The general lines are extremely clear and create harmony. The dresses are designed to emphasize the details as well as the expression of the faces and hands. This mystical artist has transferred his faith into his creations. Between classicism and modernity, he is one of the innovative artists who contributed to the renewal of Christian art in the first half of the XX century.

Georg METZEN, Spangdahlem (D)

Kastlunger Crib

Harald Kastlunger was born on the 4th of October 1937. He attended school in the former episcopal city of Brixen. He received training at the Augustinian canons in Neustift near Brixen. There, he dedicated himself to church music for a while, playing cello and violin. In Kufstein he completed a confectionery apprenticeship; Kastlunger then took the master examination in Basel. In the years 1962 to 1974, he taught mainly practical subjects at the vocational school and middle school in Bressanone. In 1974 he took over his parents' business in the Pfaundlerhaus on Pfarrplatz in Brixen, a café with pastry shop. In 1989, a 131-year-old tradition ended: Kastlunger's Café and Confectionery. Harald Kastlunger left the bourgeois profession and since then devoted himself exclusively to art: painting and sculpture. He led a life between idea and reality, is constantly in search of the passion in man, which drives him from birth and with which he finds his only actual happy state. Harald Kastlunger is a giant of the imagination, in his artistic work as well as in his confident lifestyle.

My nativity scene: I believe that Christmas, the celebration of peace and inner calm, should not just be experienced as "atmospheric". The eye, optical "antenna" and "periscope" of the soul, should also be fully taken into account in order to be able to absorb and internalize the miracle of the birth of Christ.

So I strive, in my characters - beyond previous stereotypes, common stencil, to the tested kitsch - for genuine simplicity, the "archaic accent" of deeper awareness of true nature and
to embody creaturely existence. The language of the hands and movements should express a full participation and convey the astonished fascination and true greatness of the miracle.