Trip to the Free State of Thuringia, 21-22 October 2019

In golden October weather, 35 members of the 16 Federal States group traveled to the Free State of Thuringia at the invitation of Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow and spent 2 eventful days there in Weimar, Erfurt and at the Leuchtenburg. The multi-faceted program started with a reception and a guided tour in the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar to mark the year of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus Museum owns the oldest existing Bauhaus collection together with the Gropius collection.

Passing the Gauforum, which is also part of the cultural center of the city and originates from the Nazi era, we reached the New Museum, built in the style of the Italian High Renaissance. The exhibition Van de Velde, Nietzsche and Modernism around 1900 shows outstanding works of realism, imperialism and art nouveau. Afterwards, the charming Lord Mayor of the city, Peter Kleine, welcomed us to the interim city hall and invited us to a delicious buffet. The Berlin Buddy Bear that we brought as a gift, on whose left hip shows a landmark of the city of Weimar: the German National Theater with the Goethe-Schiller Monument, especially pleased him.

The next highlight was a visit to the legendary Anna Amalia Library, which after a devastating fire in 2004, shines in new splendour since 2007, housing an immense treasure of precious historical books including the oldest Bible (1534) by Martin Luther. This library has three quarters of all contemporary Luther’s prints .

In the evening, State secretary for Culture and Europe Dr. Babette Winter was our host for a festive dinner with stimulating discussions. The second day was spent in Thuringia's capital Erfurt. Our city guides greeted us at the cathedral square for a tour through the beautiful old town. We walked past the Citadel Petersberg, climbed the Domberg with its impressive ensemble of cathedral and Severikirche (the Roman Catholic Church) and finally reached the famous Merchant’s bridge (Krämerbrücke), which spans the Gera River, and is the oldest secular building in the city with its 32 half-timbered houses.

After a visit to the Old Synagogue, our city tour ended at the neo gothic style town hall. Mayor Alexander Hilge welcomed us in the large ballroom where we were surrounded by imposing paintings of Erfurt history and Martin Luther. The last highlight of our trip was the Leuchtenburg, the "Queen of the Saale Valley", which captivated us with its spectacular porcelain exhibition Wishes and Wonders.

The co-operation with the ladies of the protocol department was marked by such great cordiality and consideration that a farewell was really difficult. Our diplomatic members, also as multiplicators for their countries, carry the very positive images of this federal state that our two day trip has created, and will remember Thuringia  as a very special state to come back to. A big thank you to the Prime Minister for his generous hospitality!