Chimney Sweep Tour of Europe and United Kingdom

In 2023 and into 2024 Byron took a near 7 month trip to Europe to meet with chimney sweeps from around the world starting at the annual International Spazzacamino 4 day festival.

After multiple site visits with other chimney sweeps and fireplace industry leaders in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France we noted the uniqueness and oldness of chimney sweeping across Europe. The chimney sweep tour around Europe was an exciting trip captured in video snippets on Byrons posts, Byron on the Rooftop.

My family and I embarked on a seven-month sabbatical across Western Europe, delving into the world of chimney sweeps. This exploration, particularly in Germany, revealed insights that challenge the conventional American approach. This intentional journey was more than a leisurely exploration; it became a profound odyssey into the heart of a trade that, in many ways, defines the very essence of European craftsmanship. Our pilgrimage took us through historic streets, picturesque towns, and iconic landscapes, ultimately leading us to the epicenter of chimney sweeping excellence – Germany.

The decision to embark on the chimney sweep tour around Europe was inspired by a desire to witness firsthand the traditions, methodologies, and ethos that have propelled German chimney sweeps to the forefront of their industry. We yearned to break free from the confines of our familiar American perspectives and delve into a world where chimney sweeping was not merely a service but a revered craft deeply embedded in the cultural fabric.

The European excursion was not just a hiatus from our routine; it was an opportunity to learn, absorb, and share experiences with chimney sweeps from different corners of the continent. I had more lunches with chimney sweeps in pubs and taverns and open-air markets than ever before in my life. As we traversed cobblestone streets and engaged with chimney sweep communities, we discovered nuances and practices that stood in stark contrast to our American counterparts.

Our expedition through Europe led us to fascinating rendezvous with stalwarts of the chimney sweep industry, each a unique chapter in the ancient narrative of soot and flue. In the picturesque city of Ulm, Germany, we met the vivacious and flamboyant head of curriculum, Bernd Vollmer, at the 150-year-old Chimney Sweep School. His colorful personality mirrored the rich history of the institution, adding vibrancy to the legacy of chimney sweeping. We rounded out our stay with a half dozen students at a local German restaurant, hearing each student share their story and dreams of the future in this trade.

The chimney sweep School in Ulm was fascinating, and more will be shared on it later!