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Issue #134 November 1, 2018


The G-ZINE — the Germany Magazine — provides you with news, updates and happenings in and around Germany. While saving you valuable time, this e-zine prepares you and sets you up for an unforgettable Germany experience.

Note: There was an issue with the International Health Insurances pages. I just fixed it. You now can sign up for one again. Sorry for the inconveniences it has caused.

November 2018 Topics

In this issue . . .

  1. Must-See And -Do Events
  2. German Phrase
  3. German Quote
  4. Trip Tip
  5. Good To Know
  6. Next G-ZINE's Preview


From Marcus' Travel Desk...

November is an interesting month in Germany—the month starts holiday traditions from the Fifth Season of Carnival, culminating in the beloved Christmas Markets known the world over. In between you have events like the Days of Jewish Culture in Berlin, and the Leonhardifahrt in the picturesque Bavarian town of Bad Tölz.

And speaking of Bavaria, I solemnly swear I haven't chosen another Bavarian town for this issue's Trip Tip like I've done in the last few issues. Don't judge me, I think I went all of 2017 without one. ;-)

But I digress, this issue's Trip Tip brings us northward to the Lower Saxon town of Leer—just near the Netherlands, and full of charming old churches and lots of East Frisian culinary delights.

Uhh, can you think of anything better than eating your way around town? No, me neither.

Wait, yes I can. Because Leer offers up a couple of castles and quite a number of cultural events throughout the year. Sweet, more chances to munch on locally made eats.

Just as it's important to feed your belly, it's important to feed your brain. So this issue's Good To Know brings us back for a second installment of some great (and remarkably interesting) women in German History. Let's hear it for the ladies, yeah?

As for this issue's German Quote of the Month, it comes from Emil Nolde, a 19th/20th century painter born in Prussia known for his affinity for the works of Van Gogh and painted scenes of Berlin's nightlife.

But, history lover that I am, my curiosity piqued when I learned Herr Nolde's works were considered "degenerate art" by Hitler himself, despite being a Nazi supporter. Interestingly enough, Emil wasn't even allowed to paint during the Nazi regime—it didn't stop him, and he continued to paint in secret for years.

It's great learning something new everyday, isn't it? It's also great to let you read the rest of the G-ZINE, wouldn't you say?


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Must-See And -Do Events


For those of you who love Jazz (like I do)—the Jazzfest is a four day event in Berlin filled with Ensembles, Quartets, Ragtime, Improv, Modern, and other Jazz related programs that shouldn't be missed. The Grand Opening of the Festival kicks off over five stages (the Upper Foyer, the Kassenhalle, etc. at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele) with ten different acts. Well worth the price of admission, wouldn't you say?

Jüdische Kulturtage (Days of Jewish Culture)

Held for the 31st time, Berlin's Days of Jewish Culture is a wonderful opportunity to experience and celebrate Germany's Jewish heritage. For those who aren't familiar with Jewish culture, come for Balagan Day where you're able to sample everything from Jewish cuisine, to Jewish art and music. There are other concerts, readings of the works of Heinrich Heine, and even activities for children—so it's definitely a family friendly affair.


If you're lucky enough to be in Bad Tölz today you're treated to a centuries old tradition (that's remained relatively unchanged since the late 18th century) of the Leonhardifahrt, a religious pilgrimage dedicated to the patron saint of farm animals, St. Leonhard of Limoges. A lot of planning goes into this unique procession of ornately decorated horses and "carriages," and both men, women, and children wearing traditional attire. It goes off with perfect German timing no matter the weather as thousands line the cobblestone streets to observe it all.


Oh sure, everyone associates Carnival with the days leading up to Ash Wednesday as Lent begins, but here in Cologne, Carnival actually starts at 11:11am on November 11th. And yes, the real spectacle takes place as Winter draws to a close, it's still a wonderful tradition every November here in Cologne to see its beginnings. Can you think of a better way to party like a German as thousands converge for one gigantic celebration of dancing and other merriment that spills over into the pubs and beyond? No, me neither.

Medieval & Christmas Market

Of all Germany's Christmas Markets, the one in Esslingen has got to be a special favorite as it blends all the charm of a traditional market with the Middle Ages. Here you'll see history come alive with medieval demonstrations (mouse roulette, anyone?), traditional music, and artisans selling their wares. Let's not forget about the street food as you stroll along half-timbered lined streets enjoying all the magnificence of the medieval period with modern conveniences for a month.


  • November 30th-December 23rd
  • Bautzen

Speaking of history, Bautzen's Christmas Market is now celebrating its 635th year. That's right, for almost six-and-a-half centuries, the Wenzelsmarkt is the place to be to experience the sounds, sights, and scrumptious food of Saxony. It's a family friendly affair of decorated stalls selling everything from tea to candles, mulled wine (hot cocoa for the kids), and gingerbread.

Sandstein und Musik (Sandstone and Music)

Set within some of Saxon Switzerland's most beautiful venues, the Sandstein und Musik festival is a delight for both the eyes and the ears. Don't let the waning days of this months-long festival fool you, there's still plenty of opportunity to enjoy Chamber Music, piano quintets, the works of Bach & Wagner, as well as choral music in places like Königstein, Graupa, and Pirna.

Halloween at Frankenstein Castle

Dracula has his castle, and Frankenstein and his Monster has theirs. While there's nothing definitive about Mary Shelley using Burg Frankenstein as the exact location for her famous book, but a medieval castle ruin at Halloween is enough to creep anyone out. So if you're in the Darmstadt area over a weekend prepare yourself for the screams and chills of an interactive eerie experience in a 12th century castle that's evoked suspense and fear in just about all of us.

Bremen Freimarkt

Bremen on an ordinary day is outstanding, but add the annual Freimarkt and you've got yourself something outstanding. Come join Roland's city for its 983rd (yes, almost a thousand years) Market full of amusement rides, fireworks, with plenty of food and beer to keep you entertained—along with a few million of your newest bestest friends. There are special events for seniors, ladies, and families. No excuse not to come, is there?


  • Until November 11th
  • Lahr

Take a deep breath. Smell that? That's right, it's the fragrant chrysanthemums decorating the pretty city of Lahr in its own right, but add in a festival dedicated to the colorful flowers and you've got yourself an even better time. The flowers are arranged in beautiful artistic pieces around the city, and you're treated to musical concerts and other cultural events. The Black Forest sure knows how to have a good time—and to look stunning, too.


German Phrase of the Month

  • English: I cut/burned myself.
  • German: Ich habe mich geschnitten/verbrannt.
  • Pronounce: Ihk hah-beh mihk geh-shneet-ehn/fair-brunt.


German Quote of the Month

"Art is exalted above religion and race. Not a single solitary soul these days believes in the religions of the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Greeks... Only their art, whenever it was beautiful, stands proud and exalted, rising above all time."

—Emil Nolde


Trip Tip

This G-ZINE's Trip Tip doesn't take us southward to any Bavarian towns, but instead north into Lower Saxony—and the town of Leer, located in East Frisia. It's a town where Low German is spoken, tea is the drink of choice, and whose history spans into millennia.

It's a good thing Leer is a bicycle friendly town, because if anything, you're gonna eat some wonderful local cuisine so you'll burn off whatever you choose to chow down on. Although I'd probably recommend not operating any kind of vehicle after trying Kruiden, an alcoholic bitter herb drink.

Probably not a good idea to go sightseeing around Leer's churches after imbibing either. So before partaking of any drinks, come see the Krypta der ehemalingen Kirche St. Liudger—once a 12th century medieval church that's now a War Memorial.

Now, some of you might not get all excited looking at old buildings, but I'd say having a glance at some castles might change your mind. A couple can only be seen from the outside—like the Haneburg (built 1570), but in addition to being quite the luxurious house, it's also been used as a Nazi Farming School and also a military hospital.

However, it's the Hardewykenburg "castle" that got my attention. There's something quite stunning about it despite its late 15th century dour appearance. And some of Die Festung Leerort's (a 15th century fortress that was demolished in 1749) archaeological finds have a new home in Leer's Heimatmuseum (Local History Museum).

Also schedule a stop to Schloss Evenburg, complete with its own English Park. At this castle you'll find some informative exhibits on life in the mid-19th century—perfect considering that's when the castle was built.

It's back to food since all this sightseeing is bound to work up an appetite. Since this is East Frisia, why not try a special tea service? Or you can learn all about tea at the Bünting Tea Museum.

No doubt, you'll find some great things to eat at Leer's Weekly Market. Although of all Leer's "Markets," it's the Gallimarkt (held the 2nd Wednesday in October) you might want to visit. It's been a tradition for more than 500 years, so for sure they must be doing something right.

Let's remember to mention Leer's Christmas Market, or its Dragon Boat Regatta (July), or its Ossiloop "Run" held in May. Sorry, I'm not running anywhere—but I'll gladly cheer you on. ;-)

Or maybe not, since you'll probably find me at the Harbor Museum—or at the Prince Heinrich Ship, the last boat (or is that a ship?) of its kind in all of Germany.

It's the gems like these that make Leer exceptionally Trip Tip worthy. Now, if you don't mind, there's a coffee... pardon me, a Kruiden with my name on it after a very long day. ;-)


Good To Know

There have been quite a number of extraordinary German women throughout its history, and there's certainly no shortage of them to write about here on the pages of the G-ZINE. So no doubt there'll be another installment—but for now I'll just give you details on the lives of a few very different ladies who went on to carve their own unique niche within Germany's borders, and beyond.

Take Prinzessin Elisabeth Charlotte von der Pfalz, for example. Known more intimately as Lieselotte, this 17th century princess (born in Heidelburg Castle) was the sister-in-law of none other than Louis XIV of France.

Now, life for a German (or French) princess wasn't exactly easy during this time, although she did live in the quite opulent Versailles after her marriage to the French King's brother. Besides, she held quite a high ranking position within its Court, albeit behind the King's mistress.

That was a tough pill to swallow for Lieselotte, considering her own husband was pretty much openly homosexual. However, after his death she burned the letters from her husband's lovers so they wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. Makes sense why she was known as a no-nonsense kinda woman; and it was her own love of writing that gives us quite an understanding of life during this decadent time in history.

Despite her husband's attentions elsewhere, they went on to have three children together—and is the great-grandmother of none other than the French Queen, Marie Antoinette. Yeah, the "let them eat cake & lost her head to the guillotine during the French Revolution" Marie Antoinette.

The dreaded guillotine wasn't limited to late 18th century France, it was used right up to the mid-20th century during the Nazi Regime. That's how Sophie Scholl met her end in 1943, as she was convicted of treason for her anti-Nazi activities at the tender age of 21.

Sophie, along with her brother, Hans, and a number of others were all part of The White Rose—an organization dedicated to non-violent resistance that started at the University of Munich.

Originally her brother tried to keep her from the Weiße Rose, but her gender proved invaluable as she was less likely to be bothered by the Nazi SS. Nevertheless, she, along with her brother, were eventually arrested—and summarily executed for their Resistance Movement Leaflets.

In addition to having a number of streets named in both sibling's honor, a bust of Sophie lies within the Wallhalla in the town of Donaustauf—and she's just one of only 12 women who have been given the honor.

Another German woman with that distinction is Karolina Gerhardinger, also known as Maria Theresia of Jesus. Born in Stadthamhof (nowadays a district of Regensburg) in Bavaria back in 1797, Karolina was instrumental in establishing not only schools in Germany—but her travels led her to helping German immigrants in United States (as well as expanding her religious order to the New World), and opening more than a half-dozen schools in just one year while she was there.

She eventually returned to Germany, and her remains are found at the St. Jakob Church in Munich. You'll even find a beautiful statue of her near a pretty bridge in Freising—a fitting tribute for a woman who was given the Venerable (meaning Heroic in Virtue) and Beautified designation by the Catholic Church decades after her death.

It seems I must stop here, or I'll continue to write on until the December issue of the G-ZINE is due. There are just so many more amazing German women that aren't just Good To Know, but great to know.


Next G-ZINE's Preview

Short 'n sweet, here's what's coming up next in Germany — a preview of the next G-ZINE:

  • Visit From St. Nick
  • Prüm, More Than Its Abbey
  • Now It's Chassimo, Promise


Published by Marcus Hochstadt

Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 3
68723 Schwetzingen, Germany

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