Between shark and Star Wars cult: Salzgitteraner collects Lego

The unmistakable sound of rummaging through a Lego box, that plastic-like rustling. “Wonderful,” says René Rudahl. The 41-year-old Üfinger is a fan of the do-it-yourself plastic blocks that the Danish master carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen registered for a patent in 1949 and with which he literally became extremely rich.

In Rudahl’s garage, Lego boxes are piled up to the roof; in the basement, shelves and cupboards are lined up in which collecting boxes full of studded stones are stored. Many boxes are in their original condition, they are unopened.

“When I order something, it is usually double or triple,” says Rudahl. Quasi as a spare parts store or as barter goods with like-minded people. “Yes, yes, you have to be a little crazy,” says the professional firefighter, who finances his filigree Lego tinkering hobby as a part-time scrap dealer.

“Collecting Lego costs”

“There is a cost to collect Lego,” says the 41-year-old. “It’s not a hobby for everyone’s wallet.” How much money has Rudahl invested in plastic stones and figures so far? He answers with a counter-question: “20,000 euros?” His wife Kerstin is more specific: “It’s probably a lot more.” She says she has an eye on the finances. “René likes to spend more than he should.” 500 euros a month is okay, says the enthusiastic collector, “1000 euros is the limit” ..

But he is a bargain hunter, assures the Üfinger. “I strike when it’s cheap.” If he grabs a Star Wars figure on the Internet or at flea markets for “only” 30 euros instead of the regular 50 or 90 euros, “then I’m just happy”. People usually buy in bulk, according to Üfinger, and shows a box with 1000 gray triangular stones. “This is how you build mountains,” says Rudahl. “18 cents each – I spent 180 euros.”

Stacking and tinkering with little stones

René Rudahl is currently unable to fully live out his hobby. The 41-year-old is converting his own home and the family has moved into the basement. Instead of books, there are Lego shelves in every corner, in the wardrobes next to T-shirts and jeans there are sorting boxes for the colorful bricks. “Lego boxes are even stored in the bed box,” says Kerstin Rudahl. “I sleep over and between Lego bricks.”

René Rudahl does not have much time to stack stones and tinker with work, part-time work and renovating the house. He misses the tinkering: “It calms me down, I get down.”

Rudahl is already making plans. When the house renovation is finished in 2021, the basement will become its Lego Eldorado. One room becomes a Star Wars themed room, another is intended for the Lego train. Sorting shelves with transparent collection boxes should make it easier to find the right stones and figures. But René Rudahl can only guess how many Lego blocks he owns: “Certainly several hundred thousand.”

Classic toys connect

In the house of Rudahl it is clear that the classic toy connects generations. Daughter Tabea (7) and son Thorben (10) have been building a Lego underwater world with a research station and deep-sea gorges amid hammerheads, rays and corals for days. René Rudahl is beaming. “It’s great when the children can get excited about my hobby.”

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