German Hikers


Avid hikers would adorn their treasured staffs with small trinkets or medallions depicting “the conquered” territory, its features, or inhabitants. The collecting of hiking staff medallions (or stocknagels) is a long-standing European tradition that began in the Alps region of Europe back in the 1800’s. The badges, called stocknagels, attached to the canes, which is a right of passage to depict the many mountain visits a long time ago.  Walking sticks and canes from Germany, Austria, and Italy date from 1900-1945.

Every mountain they climbed, every place they visited by foot, the people used to buy a badge or stocknagel from the environment and the villagers attached the badge on the cane with a small hammer and two small nails. It was a very serious matter, and a great honor. Every badge offers a decorative symbol, from German Forests, the Black Forest, Schwarzwald, the Alps, Tyrole, Bayern, Italy. And brings you a piece of history!


7 Responses to “German Hikers”

  1. Hi Laurelt
    I have been clearing out my parents house and have found a stick (with metal german badges and a pennant of a red lion on a white background) cant read most of the badges but some have a stags head on them, it was alongside some WW2 artifacts, any ideas, what part of Germany it came from etc.

  2. I came across your blog while surfing. I have a ton of stocknagels, all nailed to various types of walking sticks and canes. Recently I began to wonder how old these stocknagels are, and what methods could be used to date these badges. In fact, I’m writing a book on how to determine the age of a stocknagel. For some reason I’m fascinated by these pieces of art. Thanks for your blog.

  3. I too have a cane, obviously from Germany, which I purchased in a small town curio shop in northern Michigan. The stocknagels are old and most hard too read. Like you I am curious as to their age and history. I wish you well with your book and would hope to purchase a copy some day while I can still see. Keep me in mind.

  4. Hi,

    I have a lot of canes with these stocknagel. Most of them German. I like to collect more of them. Or, if interested, like to trade them. Eelco, The Netherlands

  5. I would like someone to identify the badges. I too have some of these badges but don’t know anything about them.

  6. I have three very old walking sticks that I found in Amsterdam about 15 years ago. They have inspired me to start my own collection of medallions. They aren’t always easy to find. Sure hope they don’t stop making them.

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