Hankensbüttel is a town of 4500 people (2017) in Lower Saxony. For many visitors, its Otter Centre is the principal attraction to the town, bringing in 100,000 visitors a year, and hosting 60 special events through the year.
Hankensbüttel historically belongs to the group of Büttel towns. The first mention comes from a document by Emperor Heinrich III from the year 1051, in which the place is mentioned as "Honengesbuthele". At that time, the Billunger family, followers of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled the region. Located on important army and trade routes, there was a rapid development. As early as the 11th century, Hankensbüttel was the centre of an extensive parish and the seat of the episcopal court of the Diocese of Hildesheim.
During the Thirty Years' War, Hankensbüttel was in the marching area of the fighting troops, at times the church was misused as an army camp and stable. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the place lived through the eventful history of the Hanoverian manor house. During the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), Hankensbüttel was under French rule, then part of the Kingdom of Westphalia (1807–1813), and from 1866 it belonged to Prussia.
Take a flight to Hamburg, Hannover or Berlin. Then take a high-speed train to Wolfsburg. From there, you may take a cab to Knesebeck. Alternatively, take the regional train to Knesebeck (via Braunschweig, Gifhorn), which might be a little bit slower.
- 1 Hankensbüttel Otter Centre (Otter-Zentrum Hankensbüttel), Sudendorfallee 1 (North of Gifhorn on the B 244 federal road), ☏ . 1 Feb - last Su in Mar: 09:30-17:00; last Sun in Mar - last Su in Oct: 09:30-18:00; last Sun in Oct - 30 Nov: 09:30-17:00. A great place to relax and enjoy wildlife. As well as otters, there are polecats, minks, otter hounds, badgers and other animals. Very educational and child-friendly with a good self-service restaurant on site. Well worth a detour (32 km / 20 mi). Adults €8.50, children 4-17 yr €5, family tickets and student etc. reductions available.
- Isenhagen Abbey, Klosterstraße 2. An unfinished early Gothic monastery church and unfinished cloister. Additions from the 18th century. Interesting establishment of the monastery church (Renaissance and Gothic), separate abbey museum.
- 2 [dead link] Privatbrauerei Wittingen, Ernst-Stackmann-Straße 7, Wittingen, ☏ . Tour of the brewery available by appointment.
There are good opportunities in Knesebeck for hiking, jogging, hunting and horse-riding.
- 1 Freibad Campingplatz (Strandbad Knesebeck), An der Badeanstalt. Public outdoor pool and beach, mini golf.
- 1 Gasthaus Schützenhof, Lindenstr. 20, ☏ .
- 2 Lübener Tenne, Lüben 1, ☏ . Brunch, traditional food, hospitality.
- 1 Cafe Knesebecker Strandperle, An der Badeanstalt 1, ☏ .
- Tito's Bar, Posener Str. 6, Wittingen, ☏ .
- For pensions (rooming houses) and small rooms, try here.
- 1 Jugendherberge Hankensbüttel, Helmrichsweg 24, ☏ .
- 2 Hotel and Restaurant Knesebecker Hof, Wittinger Str. 2, ☏ .
- 3 Rentelmannsche Mühle, An der Emmener Mühle 1, Hankensbüttel, ☏ .
Attractions in the region are the Lüneburger Heide and the town of Gifhorn, the Phaeno and Autostadt in Wolfsburg, the historic old towns of Celle and Lüneburg as well as the Museumsdorf Hösseringen near Uelzen.