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Old October 7th, 2013, 03:13 AM   #1
600West218
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Industrial Northern Germany

In September I travelled across northern Germany for two weeks. As with my other trips, I was focused on industrial heritage, active industry, and genearl history, society, and architecture. I visited the Ruhr area, Bremen, Papenburg, Hamburg and Berlin.
In this thread I will share my pictures, experiences and impressions of the many different things I saw. It was a absolutely fantastic trip which exceeded my expectations and hopefully that will come across in the thread. As always, comments, information, and corrections are very much welcome. I have always found these threads very helpful in educating me on what I have seen and hopefully this thread will be no exception.
One note though: I am currently very busy with work and other projects. Therefore posting to the thread will be intermitent. Sometimes it will progress quickly, other times it may go a while without updates. I will work on it as much as I can.

As a pre-thread post here are some examples of things I saw:

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The rail cars where carried to the top but then worked their way down the entire plant under force of gravity. by 600West218, on Flickr

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Here you can see even better where they have yet to slide in the cabins. I wonder how many people on cruises realize they are living in a trailer home? by 600West218, on Flickr

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Lots of cars and lots of electrification lines for the trains. by 600West218, on Flickr

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

If you don't know what these are pictures of or where they are from not to worry - all will be revealed in great detail in the thread.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 04:45 AM   #2
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Great photos. Looking forward to seeing the rest!
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Old October 7th, 2013, 12:41 PM   #3
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This is gonna be epic, cheers mate!

I'm especially looking forward to see your Peenemünde impressions (if you made it there ).
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Old October 7th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Great!!! You really know how to warm us up for this (no doubt) fantastic thread! I can't wait!
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Old October 7th, 2013, 07:42 PM   #5
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You do get around, don't you?

I'm really looking forward to your photographs and impressions of Hamburg.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 08:22 PM   #6
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Interesting and very nice photos
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Old October 8th, 2013, 05:01 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I'll do my best with this thread and hopefully you'll find many of these things as fascinating as I did.

Unfortunately, I did not make it to Peenemunde. Definitely the biggest dissappointment of the trip but all the other things I saw more than made up for it. Literally, I could do this trip all over again, go to the same cities, and have all new things to see. I'm actually thinking of doing just that :-)
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Old October 8th, 2013, 05:20 AM   #8
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The flight into Dusseldorf landed at mid-day.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr


I needed to go to Dortmund to my hotel but I wanted to see a bit of Duseldorf so I took the train into the city center.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

I really had no idea what I was doing nor how to use German trains but fortunately some friendly people helped me and I managed ok.

About all I knew regarding Dusseldorf was that it is on the Rhine so I decided to walk from the main train station to the river.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

For some reason I don't understand Germans seem to run piping above ground rather than under it.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

I was in too much of a hurry to appreciate things but this was nice. I think it is an old canal converted into a parkway.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

I ran into a big commercial area that was quite crowded with shoppers. Later on in the trip I finally learned why certain hours of Saturday can be so crowded with shoppers.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Although I was very jetlagged seeing all these sausages convinced me that I was in fact in the correct country.

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The bread was further proof.

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Finally I made it to the Rhine and saw some of the barges I love and had last seen in Belgium. I wasn't really expecting to see anything in Dusseldorf but this was a good sign.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

Along the river there was a big festival and in particular there were lots of things focusing on the Middle Ages with people reanacting scenes from that time. I recall seeing this in Cologne a couple years before. Germans seem to have a thing for the Middle Ages.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

After this women killed a few guys she gave some big speech in German which I of course didn't understand. I just know you don't want to get in a fight with her.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

Police cars. Nice, I like German police cars. They are right up their with the British ones in terms of styling (and way better than anything in the U.S.).

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Old police cars.

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East German police cars.

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Notice the police cars seem to be either blue or green. This is true of everywhere I went in Germany. I assume one is maybe local and the other national or something but I don't really know the distinction.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 05:33 AM   #9
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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

Next up was the TV tower which was easy to find and would give a good view of the city.

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Indeed the view from the top was nice.

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You can see both what used to be a port and what still is a port. These inland ports that German cities of this region have are fascinating.

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Looks like a fuel barge and it appears to be Dutch.

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Some nice modern architecture, though I imagine some very interesting older buildings were torn down to make way for it.

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Some dense urban housing. I think this was built in the immediate post war period and they actually appeared to be tearing some of it down.

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I'm willing to bet this looked RADICALLY different 30 years ago.

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Dusselforf is the capital of North Rhine Westphalia which I think I read is the most populous state in Germany. This is the capital building.

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This is interesting. Note how they build the bridges out over what appears to be dry land on the left bank of the river. Obviously the river levels must fluctuate alot and at times that "dry land" must be part of the river. I so I would think.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

I really want to take a vacation riding one of these things around Germany and Belgium some day.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

This one has its top off and you can see it is carrying bulk materials. My guess is that most do, we just can't see it due to the cover.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

More post war density though the dark brown houses on the left do look like National Socialist type architecture.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
For some reason I don't understand Germans seem to run piping above ground rather than under it.
Notice the police cars seem to be either blue or green. This is true of everywhere I went in Germany. I assume one is maybe local and the other national or something but I don't really know the distinction.
1) Germans usually don't run their pipes above ground. These pipes are temporary ones, to run cables or ground water, when there is a construction site nearby. Especially Berlin is known for blue and pink pipes running above ground virtually everywhere through the city. That's because there is virtually everywhere a construction site, and Berlin's groundwater stands really high, as it was built on marshes.

2) No, Germany, as most other EU-countries, switched what ever color their police cars were, to blue ones in the last years. Germany's used to be all green. As this costs lots of money, it all changes gradually over the years. So next to brand new blue/white ones, you will still find some old, green police cars around.

Nice gallery! I am really amazed, that someone is interested in Germany's industrial sites...
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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:43 PM   #11
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Whoohoo a new 600west thread! Love your industrial stories!! I always wondered why you never finished the thread about the Albany region
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Old October 8th, 2013, 08:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiaren View Post
2) No, Germany, as most other EU-countries, switched what ever color their police cars were, to blue ones in the last years. Germany's used to be all green. As this costs lots of money, it all changes gradually over the years. So next to brand new blue/white ones, you will still find some old, green police cars around.
You probably know it better then me, but I want to clarify that the Länder (German states) decide on this, which means that there are differences in police uniforms and colours within Germany. Most states switchced to blue, but not always in the same way (eg. Hamburg police uniforms look quite American). I think that Bavaria decided to keep the green and beige colours.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 09:37 PM   #13
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That's correct. As you can see here (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streifenwagen#Farbgebung; although this table doesn't seem to be quite up to date) Bavaria and Saarland are keeping the old colour scheme.

Very nice pics, btw!
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Old October 8th, 2013, 10:33 PM   #14
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great thread, thanks for the pics

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Old October 9th, 2013, 01:18 AM   #15
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wonderful threat

what a luck someone helped you with the train ticket. Train-staff in Germany is not known for its kindness if you show them a wrong ticket
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Old October 9th, 2013, 03:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiaren View Post
1) Germans usually don't run their pipes above ground. These pipes are temporary ones, to run cables or ground water, when there is a construction site nearby. Especially Berlin is known for blue and pink pipes running above ground virtually everywhere through the city. That's because there is virtually everywhere a construction site, and Berlin's groundwater stands really high, as it was built on marshes.
This is interesting. I did indeed see LOTS of overground piping in Berlin and there is lots of construction everywhere.

What is curious though is that I never see piping put above ground in New York City even though there is clearly lots of pipes and lots of construction.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 03:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SputnikBooster View Post
That's correct. As you can see here (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streifenwagen#Farbgebung; although this table doesn't seem to be quite up to date) Bavaria and Saarland are keeping the old colour scheme.

Very nice pics, btw!
My god, an entire Wiki page on German police cars and colors. They are quite nice though and now I know why the VW Bug police car was dark green.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 05:39 AM   #18
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a different idea of a thread - I like it and please keep on posting.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 05:50 AM   #19
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Once down off the tower I set off to explore a bit of what I had seen from on high. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time but I did what I could...

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

As it turns out I was in Germany in the run up to their national elections. So there were a fair amount of posters, some of them a bit strange like the one above, about.

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I thought this was a joke but it turns out there really is some sort of Pirate Party and it really has received a fair amount of votes in some previous elections.

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Modern architecture isn't really my thing but I have to say I did find this appealing.

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There were three of these buildings - all the same style but with different cladding.

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This was part of the old inland harbor. There were actually old cranes there. But it was now full of modern, if a bit sterile, office and residential buildings.

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Well, that is one way to make a building interesting.

And with that it was off to Dortmund to bed down for the night. I only had a few hours in Dusseldorf so obviously I can't say I saw a lot there, but better a little than nothing.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 06:07 AM   #20
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The next day it was off to Essen to see the Unesco Heritage sight, Zollverein coal mine and coking plant.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

An ambulance on the way. Not too thrilled with this one.

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This wheels raised and lowered the elevators taking people and coal in and out of the mine. by 600West218, on Flickr

This is the pulley system of the mine used to lift and lower coal and miners.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Note the railroad tracks. by 600West218, on Flickr

Most of this structure is the coal washing plant. That is where the coal is seperated from non-coal items, washed, and sorted by size. It is then loaded on to trains (note the tracks going beneath the buildings) and taken to its end user.

This was built in the 20s and 30s and I found it sort of an appealing industrial art deco style.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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This big shower of water was an art display they had going on. by 600West218, on Flickr

This was some modern art. Essentially it was a shower of water turned on every few minutes. They had raincoats to give to people who could then stand in the shower while their picture was taken. To each their own.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

I like the red metal and dark brown brick. I also like the square shapes and clean lines. Functional but still very appealing to the eye.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

There is still some underground coal mining in Germany, but very little. Merkel has apparently already agreed to end subsidies and shut it all down in a few years. Then there will only be strip mining of brown coal left in Germany.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

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They seemed quite proud that their mine was larger than the capital city of the United States.

The impact of mining in the Ruhr region was amazing. First, coal was one of the primary reasons that the Ruhr industrialized and why Germany's steel industry was centered there. Steel making requires much more coal than iron so you locate the steel mills near the coal mines, not the ire mines. Hence the steel industry in the Ruhr. Further, they had good river transportation and later canals and railroads.

This mine is entirely shut except for one thing. They have people go down to operate huge pumps to pump out ground water that if left alone will travel and flood other mines that are still active.

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Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr


But there is something even more amazing. There has been so much coal removed under the Ruhr that the entire region has sunk between 10 and 20 feet. This really messes up some rivers and canals and they have had to build levees and pumping stations to deal with the consequences.

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