Last updated: August 5, 2021

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You've probably seen a strange arch standing in a window on a walk and wondered what it is. It's called a Schwibbogen, and it still has a strong tradition in many families.

If you want to know more about these candle arches, the history behind them and why they are more than just an old-fashioned kitsch item, or if you don't know exactly which candle arch is right for you, then you've come to the right place with our big guide!




Summary

  • Especially at Christmas time, many people decorate their four walls with a candle arch. But since there are so many modern types nowadays, it is no wonder to see candle arches also outside this period.
  • The classic candle arch is usually made of wood and traditionally decorated by hand with Christmas motifs and figures.
  • In the past, candle arches were lit with wax candles. Nowadays, however, LED and incandescent lamps have replaced candles, which is firstly much more practical and durable, and secondly, more importantly, less dangerous.

The Best Candle Arch: Our Choices

Candle arches: buying and evaluation criteria

The choice of the right candle arch can be very difficult because of the dozens of motifs. That's why we have listed the most important criteria you should look for when choosing and buying a candle arch and have also explained the individual ones in more detail.

In our opinion, these four criteria are the most important ones to look out for before you buy your first or a candle arch. Of course, there are other criteria, but these depend more on personal taste.

Size

When it comes to size, there is not as much choice as you might think. Most commercially available candle arches are very uniform in size. Many are only about 70 cm wide and 40 cm high. But there are also a few online shops that will make a personalised candle arch to your specifications. There you can choose the size and detail to a certain degree.

Material

There is not much choice when it comes to the material of your candle arch. You need to think about where you will ultimately place your candle arch. Wooden candle arches are more suitable for indoor use, while metal candle arches are recommended for outdoor use, as they are made of a more stable material and are weatherproof.

Type and motif

You have a huge choice of types these days. Of course, the right type depends on your personal taste, but also where you want to put your candle arch. We will go into more detail about the many types a little further down. Another very important criterion for choosing your next candle arch is the motif.

By motif, we mean the distinction between traditional and modern motifs. While traditional candle arches usually depict small trees, houses and people, but also whole landscapes or Christian motifs, modern candle arches are so stylised that sometimes figures are completely omitted.

Candle arches in Scandinavian style, for example, are so simple and timeless that they can be left standing all year round.

Light source

Traditionally, candle arches were lit with wax candles. However, as this was already a fire hazard in those days, such candle arches are very rarely found today. Nowadays, candle arches with incandescent or LED lamps are more popular, as they are hardly a fire hazard, but also last longer. In our opinion, candle arches with LED lights are better, as they are simply much more economical in the long run and have a much longer lifespan.

Candle arches: frequently asked questions and answers

Now that you know what to look for when choosing your next candle arch, this section will (hopefully) answer any questions you may still have about candle arches.

What is a candle arch and where does it come from?

Now that we have told you so much about candle arches and what to look out for when buying one, it's time to take a brief look at the origin and history of the candle arch.
Candle arches have a very long tradition in mining.

The Schwibbogen has its origins in mining, where it is supposed to represent the mouth hole, i.e. the entrance to a mine or a gallery.

At that time, these were decorated with torches in a semicircle to make it easier to find the entrance in the dark. The presumed inventor of the candle arch was a miners' blacksmith named Johannes Teller from Johanngeorgenstadt.

The name "Schwibbogen" is derived from the term "Schwebebogen" (floating arch) used in architecture. This is a free-standing arch that stands either between two houses or two parts of a wall.

Who is a candle arch suitable for?

It is quite difficult to answer the question for whom a candle arch is suitable, as this depends very much on personal taste. Many people would think that a candle arch is a must especially during the Christmas season, but since many people nowadays do not celebrate traditionally anymore, many people find it difficult to appreciate traditional candle arches.

Schwibbogen-1

3-D candle arches with LED lights are very suitable as a substitute for a bedside lamp.
(Image source: Peggychoucair / pixabay)

The good thing about candle arches nowadays is that they come in many different types and with different motifs. However, we will go into this in more detail in the next subsection. In summary, we can say that thanks to today's very large variety, candle arches are suitable for everyone.

What types of candle arches are there?

Nowadays there is a very wide range of candle arches. This is largely because candle arches have a long tradition and nowadays there is a mixture of these traditional types, which are usually a bit simpler, and the new modern types, which sometimes look very detailed and intricate.

To help you find your way through this huge selection and find your next or first candle arch, we have put together a small table of the different types:

Type Description
The traditional candle arch Traditional candle arches usually come in a simple form and with a simple motif, usually a winter or Christmas one. The good thing about traditional candle arches is that they are quite easy to build yourself. We will explain how to do this a little further down.
Outdoor candle arches Many people prefer to have their candle arches outside, either on the roof or on the roof. That's why most outdoor candle arches are not made of wood, but of rustproof and weatherproof materials, for example aluminium.
Metal candle arches These candle arches are very similar to the normal outdoor candle arches, outside the metal candle arches are usually only offered in one colour (especially in black).
3-D candle arches These candle arches get their 3-D effect from a double arch with different motifs and the lighting between the two layers.
Undecorated candle arches This type of candle arch is best suited for hobbyists because it only consists of the characteristic framework in which you can insert the figures as you wish. This way you can let your imagination run wild.
The gothic candle arch This somewhat forgotten type of candle arch resembles a gothic church or a gothic window in its outer form.

However, since there are many online shops that can make a personalised candle arch according to your personal preferences, there is hardly an end to the choice.

How much does a candle arch cost?

The price range of candle arches is very wide, which is why we unfortunately cannot tell you exactly how much a candle arch costs. Since there are many different types, which differ greatly in their level of detail, there are many different price ranges. Nevertheless, we have tried to put together a small table with the different types and prices:
Type Price range
Traditional candle arches 30 - 60€
Outdoor candle arch 210 - 280€
Metal candle arch 55 - 95€
3-D candle arch 130 - 180€
Undecorated candle arch 70 - 200€
Gothic candle arch 80 - 110€

Of course, these are not quite exact price ranges, but only an approximate average that we calculated during our research.

What alternatives are there to a candle arch?

Of course, there are also very nice alternatives to a candle arch that can create a similar feeling in your home. So if you are bored with candle arches or you already have too many of them, you might consider getting one of these three alternatives:
Alternative Description
Window or light triangle As the name suggests, unlike the Schwibbogen, these are triangles that fill most of the window. As they are very similar to the Schwibbögen, they come in similar types and motifs.
Pointed arches Pointed arches are similar in shape to window triangles. However, they have somewhat rounded sides and taper to a point at the top.
Light arch This type falls into the category of modern candle arches. Like the classic candle arch, the arch is made of wood and the motifs are set against a background of glass. The lights are usually behind this glass.

These alternatives are very suitable as an addition to existing candle arches, but you can also leave them alone. Especially arches of lights are suitable as a relaxed lighting alternative to conventional lamps.

Where is the best place to put a candle arch?

The best place to put your candle arch depends on your personal taste. Classically, the candle arch is usually placed on the windowsill, which has the advantage that you and your family can admire it from inside and outside.

Schwibbogen-2

A good place for an outdoor candle arch would be the wall of the house or an outside windowsill.
(Image source: animaflorapicsstock/ pixabay)

Because there are so many types and motifs, you can place your candle arch wherever you want. No matter if you want to have it in the living room, on the bedside table or on a chest of drawers; a candle arch definitely embellishes every living space.

When should you put up a candle arch?

The last question you might be asking yourself is when is the right time to put up a candle arch?
There is no wrong time to put up a candle arch!

Traditionally, people put up their candle arches around Christmas time. That's why so many candle arches have a Christmas motif. Since there are so many different traditional and modern types and motifs nowadays, especially in the Scandinavian style, you have no reason to put your candle arch away again after Christmas and at the same time you don't have to worry if you leave your candle arch on the windowsill (or wherever) all year round.

Conclusion

Thanks to the many types and motifs, the candle arch is and remains a popular decorative object, not only around Christmas time, but all year round. It is a good idea to bathe your four walls, but also your garden, in a warm light and thus embellish your living ambience!

We hope that our article has answered all your questions about candle arches and hope you have fun choosing your next candle arch.

Image source: Moni E/ 123rf

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