The Münchner Kindl or ‘Munich Child’ is the figure on the Bavarian state capital official coat of arm. It’s portrayed on a silver shield as a monk wearing a gold-bordered black cowl and red shoes. The symbol dates back to Munich’s first inhabitants and pays homage to an order of monks who lived around St Peter’s Church in the centre of Munich. Also, the German word for monk is München, so the city’s name and the monk is pretty self-explanatory
The Evolution of the Child Munich Child Monk
The original Kindl featured on the coat of arms is pretty much unchanged: a yellow-and-black robed monk holding a book in his outstretched hand. But throughout the centuries, the child monk has changed form dozens of times including one manifestation where the Kindl’s book was sacrificed for a mug of beer and a radish. The Münchner Kindl was first a monk, then an androgynous child, a girl and finally a young woman on a horse leading the way to the Wiesn.
The Modern Leading Lady Monk
A very young woman from Munich traditionally dons the robes, playing the very important role of the Kindl at two special events at Oktoberfest:
- The Grand entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries on the first day.
- The Costume and Riflemen’s procession on the second day.
The lady monk rides ‘high to horse’, followed by several carriages transporting Munich’s lord mayor plus other officials. Apart from these traditional roles, the Münchner Kindl is invited on several occasions to represent the state capital as ‘ambassador’.
The woman appointed as Kindl typically performs the role for a few years before the role is passed to another lucky lady. The Münchner Kindl is often referred to as the ambassador for Munich.
Some Recent Kindls
From 2006 to 2009, Stefanie Krätz (a 19-year old) played the Kindl. Stef is the daughter of Sepp Krätz, Hippodrom beer tent proprietor, so guess how she got the job!
In 2010 to current, 17-year old Maria Newrzella took over. Maria is the daughter of the director of the Munich Breweries Association, Manfred Newrzella. Thus, it’s not hard to see that the selection of the Kindl seems to be based mostly on nepotism. Maria is Munich-born and her hobbies are listed as dancing, sailing, skiing, swimming and drawing. She can now include ‘embodying Munich’s official mascot’ to the list!
Munchkins Munchkins Everywhere
Be on the lookout around Munich as you’ll see the coat of arms or the statue or figure of the Münchner Kindl everywhere: on underground trains, trams, beer steins, manhole covers, and at the top of Neues Rathaus tower. Some even say that the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz were inspired by the Münchner Kindl, which makes sense.