The Culture of Cities

A Cultural Odyssey, 9-18 May 2011


For too many people the twelve years 1933- 1945 still represent the sum total of their knowledge of and interest in Germany: they see a thousand years through the narrow lens of twelve – of less than 1%. It is as if the music of Bach, the muse of Goethe and the philosophy of Kant had never been. To such partiality is this Tour an antidote: despite the awful destruction wrought in World War II, the historic cities of the German Länder, in today’s Federal Republic, remain the showcase of a great central European Culture to which its planners can only say: KOMM DOCH MIT!


Together with a number of practicing planners and well-informed historians, the Dresden Trust accordingly presents a selective but comprehensive tour of nine cities to provide an insight into one of the most important facets of German culture, namely its cities – their palaces and churches, their overall visual effect. Its central purpose is to show British visitors something of today’s city culture and – against the deep perspective of time – the achievements, often fi ne if occasionally indifferent, of city and state authorities since the war. The hope is that learning and relaxation, culture and companionship will combine to produce a life-changing, indeed an unforgettable experience.

The journey begins in Frankfurt-on-Main, where the historic city – scene of the first all-German essay in representative government 1848/1849 – after first producing a mini Manhattan, is now seeking to recover something of its historic past. It continues through picturesque, if somewhat unevenly restored, Würzburg to Nuremberg where the ravages of war have given way to imaginative, historically appropriate rebuilding.

After a brief stop-over in Bamberg, one of Germany’s loveliest and least war-damaged cities, it proceeds – via Coburg, the long time residence of Queen Victoria’s youngest grandson – to the romantic medieval trading city of Erfurt. Through Weimar, the city of Goethe and Schiller, it moves on to Leipzig and thereafter to Dresden, the capital city of Saxony where an interesting combination of modernist and traditional rebuilding has risen from the ashes. At the fi nal, festive dinner, Professor Jurgen Paul, whose knowledge of all these cities and more is unmatched, will attempt to draw the threads together.

The tour concludes with a last morning of free time to take in memories of the city of Dresden prior to fl ying back with BA from Berlin Tegel to London Heathrow.

Late amendments to the programme may become necessary – though will be avoided to the greatest possible extent. If introduced they would in no way effect the overall plan and purpose of the Tour.