GERMANY — It’s hard to believe that November 2019 will mark three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Since those turbulent days when Germans endured the transition of reunifying into a single nation once more, the reunification of the country has been a testament to German ingenuity and resolve. The Germans have rebuilt their economy to become a major European leader while also playing a significant role in Western diplomacy in the global marketplace.
With 46 UNESCO World Heritage sites, an extensive “Autobahn” (highway) and railway system, newly developed hotels and restaurants, countless attractions of historical and cultural importance, architectural attractions, numerous industrial heritage routes, 16 national parks and events such as the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus, the unity of the formerly divided nation is thriving with renewed vigor and energy.
Modern day Germany clearly has its post wall eyes focused on the future.
After the Berlin Wall fell, tourism has steadily grown
Since 9 November 1989, the opening day of the border at the Berlin Wall between East and West Germany, millions of international travelers have rediscovered the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). During the thirty years since reunification, tourism has contributed more than $130 to the German economy – about 4% of gross value added – including more than three million jobs.
Combined with investments by numerous entrepreneurs, many national and international hotel companies have helped in the development of hotel and restaurant infrastructure, so that the standard of service in the former East Germany is now indistinguishable from that in the old federal states. More than 300 Michelin-starred restaurants in all regions of the country attest to the excellence of Germany’s high-end cuisine.
Historical and cultural attractions in Germany
Newly enlarged Destination Germany, the German National Tourist Board, promotes unique attractions of historical and cultural importance that have been extensively restored since reunification including cultural hotspots such as the center of Dresden with its restored Church of Our Lady and palace containing the treasures from the “Green Vault.”
In Berlin, Museum Island radiates with new-found splendor while the renowned City Palace is currently also undergoing restoration.
Leipzig, Halle, Schwerin, Magdeburg plus many other towns and cities have vibrant, multi-genre arts scenes such as the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg that regularly attract culture lovers from all over the world.
Cultural highlights in the new federal states are not limited to the big cities, however. Marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, there has been considerable investment in some of the places most closely associated with Martin Luther in Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
In addition, modern exhibition facilities have been built in Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia in time for the “100 years of Bauhaus” celebrations.
Germany’s UNESCO world heritage sites
Prior to 1989, Germany claimed just eight UNESCO world heritage sites, all of which were located in West Germany. Since the Berlin Wall crumbled, however, the country has added 38 new sites. 14 of them are located in the former East Germany.
International sporting events have also been a boon to Germany’s economic resurgence and its global image since 1989. In 2006, the men’s World Cup soccer championship came to Germany, and the women followed five years later in 2011.
German unification has had an impact for active travelers as well. The country boasts nearly 125,000 miles of well-signposted footpaths and another 45,000 miles of long-distance cycle routes. Many of these pass through the unspoiled beauty of Germany’s low-lying mountain regions.
For history enthusiasts, the German Unity cycle trail runs 685 miles through seven federal states. It winds along from the former West German capital of Bonn through North Rhine-Westphalia. Thence through the Rhineland-Palatinate, Hessen, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg to Berlin. Here, visitors can experience first-hand the unique story of reunification at approximately 100 historical sites along the route.
It has only been 30 years since the Berlin Wall crashed to the ground. But Germany has thrived ever since it morphed back into one nation again.
Simply put, modern-day Germany is WUNDERBAR for travelers!
— Headline image: A crowd of West German citizens gathers at the newly created opening in the Berlin Wall
at Potsdamer Platz. (Photo: US Department of Defense).
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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