Stuttgart is the 6th largest city in Germany and has a population of over 600,000 people. The name Stuttgart comes from Stutengarden which was the name of a stud farm belonging to Herzog Luidolf dating back to the mid 10th century where he bred his horses.
This once unknown settlement soon grew into the town known as Stutkarten. Thereafter it gained popularity following the building of a castle and moat in the 13th century for the Count of Württemberg and other succeeding counts and dukes throughout the medieval period.
The resultant increased population during this period soon provided Stuttgart with a city status first mentioned in 1229. The castle was then converted into the Renaissance style in the 1500s. Following the industrial revolution in the 19th century Stuttgart became a boom town and a hub for major industry and commerce.
Stuttgart lies in the south west of Germany and is beautifully situated in the flat Neckar Valley between thickly forested hills, surrounded by vineyards and several parklands, making it one of Germany’s greenest cities to enjoy. This lovely location is also famous for the largest mineral water fountains found in Western Europe.
During World War II, Stuttgart was heavily bombed and devastated by massive air raids, however the city was rebuilt after the war, and in 1952 became the state capital of Baden- Württemberg.
Its most famous industry is motor vehicles. Here you will find the headquarters of Germany’s upmarket vehicles – Mercedes Benz and the exclusive Porsche cars. Both of these companies have their own car museums in the city. Besides being an industrial city Stuttgart is also known as the cultural city best known for its ballet, art and opera.
Another important industry is of course, its local wine. The vast vineyards spread around Stuttgart makes this region a commercially success.
Best time to go
Due to its geographical position Stuttgart is in one of the warmest regions in Germany and has a relatively mild climate throughout the year thanks to Stuttgart being located in a wide valley and protected from all sides by the Stromberg and Heuchelberg regions to the northwest, the Swabian Alb to the south, the Black Forest to the west and the Schurwald to the east. It’s therefore thanks to all these combined elements that the wine industry is able to thrive so well here.
The best time to visit Stuttgart is undoubtedly from May to October as these are the warmest months, with July being the hottest having an average temperature of approximately 19°C (66°F). The temperatures are pleasant and never get too hot unlike southern Europe where the extreme heat can become unbearably unpleasant. The air is clear and bright and perfect for sightseeing. The evenings can be cool, but generally very calm.
The winter months can get rather cold with large snowfalls, although these do not last for any length of time. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of 1.3°C (34°F).
Getting Around in Stuttgart
Stuttgart Airport is an international airport and is situated 13 km south of the city center. It has four main terminals, all of which are easily accessible to each other. Major airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France, and British Airways serve this airport from major cities throughout Europe. There are also regular local airline flights such as HLX, Air Berlin and LGW Airline connecting Stuttgart with various airports across Germany.
The S-Bahn train is frequently run from Terminal 1 and will take about 30 minutes to reach the city center. Tickets can be bought from machines above the railway platform as well underneath the airport but these tickets must be validated at one of the orange boxes located on the platform before you are able to board the train.
Alternatively, there is a regular bus service linking the airport to various points all over the city. The buses depart from the airport at Terminal 1 Arrivals.
Taxis from Terminal 1 (Level 3) in Departures will get you into the city in about 20 minutes and are in operation throughout the day and night.
If you do not wish to rely on public transport or taxis while staying in Stuttgart then hiring a car will give you the freedom of travel. Car hire companies can be found at Terminal 3 Level 2.
Major Attractions and Sights
As previously mentioned, Stuttgart boasts two car museums. At the entrance of the Mercedes Benz Museum shuttle will convey you inside to where you will be transported through the ages and 1500 exhibits on display – from the world’s first car to the latest in vehicle design technology. Also on display are the cars produced by Daimler-Benz, as well as their other vehicles such as buses, airplanes and motorboats. You will be entranced throughout your journey taken back in time, even those who are not particularly enthusiastic about cars. It is open every day except Mondays and entry is free.
The Porsche Museum is not quite as popular but is still worth a visit. Inside you will find all the Porsche models from its earliest built vehicles to their latest models, including Hitler’s ‘people’s car’ that he famously commissioned the company to build – the Volkswagen. Visitors are able to join the daily guided tours as well as watching the workers as they work on their production lines.
Another point of local interest is the Stiftskirche which is famed for its beautiful Renaissance sculpture works. The walls around the choir have a ‘portrait gallery’ of many of the past counts and dukes of Württemberg. The church can be found in the medieval town square of Shillerplatz.
For those requiring more of a cultural activity then a visit to the architecturally beautiful Landesmuseum is an excellent choice. The highlight is certainly the spectacular treasure trove of the Württemberg royal family‘s crown jewels. And also on display are the many fascinating exhibits and sculptures from various ages of the region especially from the Bronze, Trojan, Roman, Celtic and Frankish periods.
Staying with culture, perhaps a visit to the famous Staatsgalerie where some of Germany’s best artwork is housed. Paintings range from the modern and avant-garde, to many of the old Renaissance masters such as Rembrandt; one of which is his ‘Tobit Healing his Father’s Blindness’. There is also a very large collection of Picasso’s artworks on display. A section of the Staatsgalerie has been set aside for a magnificent collection of the history of German art.
Despite the wartime destruction, a number of significant architectural features survived. A walking tour of the city will show you places of interest such as the Wilhelmpalais (King William’s Palace), Alte Kanzlei (Old Chancellery),Markthalle (Market Hall), Schloss Solitude, Stiftfruckasten (Collegiate Storehouse) and Grabkapelle Württemberg (burial chapel).
The best open spaces include the Schlossplatz and Marktplatz, and there are also the pretty gardens of Akademiegarten (Academy Gardens) and Schlossgarten( Palace Gardens).
For a unique way to view Stuttgart, take a trip to the Birenkopf. It is the highest point in the city and is a memorial to those casualties of the war, built from 15 million cubic meters of rubble.
On the northern outskirts of Stuttgart is the wonderful Zoo Wilhelmina. The building was originally built as a palace for the royals but has now been converted into a home for many of the world’s animals and reptiles, ranging from the exotic to the most common of our creatures. The zoo is well known for its magnificent magnolia trees. As this zoo is extremely popular with locals and tourists it does tend to get very crowded at weekends and holiday time. For easy convenience to zoo take the U12 tram from the city centre.
Shopping in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is one of the busiest shopping cities in Europe. Konigstrasse which is the longest street is over a kilometer long and has been made a pedestrian only zone. This busy street is a shoppers’ paradise with its many department stores and variety of top branded stores as well as everything in fashion from the stylish to the trendy chic and created by top notch designers.
Other great streets for shopping are Schulstrasse connecting to Konigstrasse as well as Klett Passage and Calwerstrasse, again many fashion boutiques, jewelry, leather goods and various art and craft shops
Stuttgart’s old town quarter known as the Bohnenviertel district is well known for its international restaurants, wine bars, stylish boutiques and other unique local shops.
There is a flea market held each Saturday morning located on Karlsplatz where you will find all sorts of arts, crafts and other goods to buy usually at bargain prices.
And, of course, not to forget the delightful Christmas markets which are a festive draw card for visitors from all over Europe.
Eating Out in Stuttgart
As Stuttgart is Germany’s largest wine producing region, it goes without saying that wine bars are plentiful and therefore no visit would be complete without a visit to one of the city’s Weinstuben. You will find many of the wine bars serving food, in particular the local Swabian dishes.
There are many fine restaurants both sophisticated and inexpensive to choose from and the majority offer excellent cuisine. However you will find that most of the dishes served are either traditional, local or Continental such as various sausages, schnitzel, maultaschen and spatzle.
For a more casual eating place with lighter snacks and drinks then cafès are always a very popular choice. They offer specialty sandwiches made with a variety of breads, especially their black and rye breads, and the mouth watering gateaux, cakes, pastries and strudels all temptingly displayed in the café windows.
Asian Restaurants are plently available including some good Thai restaurants.
Nightlife in Stuttgart
The nightlife in Stuttgart is very vibrant and fun and full of life. There are many venues to choose depending on your mood and cater for all manner of tastes. They range from discos, bars, cafès, fine dining, live music, dancing, nightclubs as well as striptease clubs, etc, but wherever you decide to go you will be assured of a great fun evening out.
To join in the revelry with the locals for a night of noisy fun then there is no better venue than one of the many traditional German pubs dotted throughout the city with many of them in the Steinstrasse area. An alternative to the traditional pub scene, you can be assured there will always be the old time favorite found virtually anywhere in Europe – O’Reilly’s Irish pub. Otherwise lounge bars are also hugely popular.
On the cultural and classical side the Staatstheater Stuttgart offers a wide variety of excellent performances with opera, plays and ballets. These are highly popular performances and the theatre has won many awards such as Germany’s Opera House of the Year 2006 and the Theatre of the Year 2006. There are many other venues found throughout the city which hold various live concerts especially the traditional jazz bands.
Of local interest
Throughout the year several large trade fairs, expositions and various festivals are held in Stuttgart. The most well-known festival is the Stuttgart Frülingsfest held over a couple of weeks from end September to first week of October. This huge festival attracts a vast number of visitors who descend on the city in droves to sample the many wines and alcohol produced in this region.
Undoubtedly, one of the liveliest annual festivals is the Stuttgart Beer Festival which takes place at the end of September. Although, this is not as well known as the Munich Oktoberfest it is still a festival to remember. So if you happen to be in Stuttgart at that time of the year then why not join in with the thousands upon thousands of locals and visitors who flock to this festival. The city’s mayor starts the festival with the tapping of barrels and for the next two weeks the city comes electric and alive with music, dancing, fairs and many other cultural activities – and at the end of the day the noisy festival tents are filled to capacity with virtually 5,000 revelers packed into each tent as they join in with the traditional music, singing and the downing of their beer.
For other excellent events there are for example the annual Automobile Exposition, the Stuttgart Book Fair as well as the Folk Festival which is also held later in the year and incorporates food, dancing, music and various craft fairs.
Lufthansa Plans Job Cuts, More COVID Testing to Boost Customer Confidence
With the outlook for international air travel dim due to the coronavirus pandemic, the German airline Lufthansa this week said it expects to operate at 20%-30% of capacity for the remainder of the year and plans to make more staff cuts in addition to the 22,000 full-time positions previously announced.
The move by the airline group comes as a surprise to retired United Airlines pilot and expert, Ross Aimer.
"Lufthansa is one of the strongest airlines in terms of finances and passenger satisfaction, route structure," Aimer told IsaanLive. "So that comes as kind of a surprise. But you can imagine if Lufthansa is facing this horrific dilemma, other airlines that don't have Lufthansa's strengths, can you imagine what happens to them."
One of the unions representing Lufthansa employees criticized plans to cut staff and said it's open for more talks with the airline, which in June received a $10.5 billion (9 billion euro) state bailout.
The airline group says it is spending nearly $584 million in cash every month, and it wants to reduce that amount.
University of Reading Law School's Jorge Guira says it costs that much because it has "to do with the amount of staff, you also have to pay airports to have space in which you can land and you have preferable landing rights, you also have to pay for airplanes."
With fewer people flying, the airline, which also owns Austrian Airlines and Eurowings, said it would put some of its fleet into long-term storage and permanently decommission its seven remaining Airbus A340-600s.
"If you are looking at it pre-COVID, you would see that it's a strong company … the problem is when you have this level of shock … what do you do?" Guira said.
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But cutting costs still leaves at least one dilemma, experts such as Aimer say: What happens after the pandemic when people start traveling again?
"If and when this nightmare is over and passengers have enough confidence coming back, the airlines will find themselves without pilots," he said. "That's one of the hardest things to bring back. … It takes a long time and it's very expensive."
The lack of demand for travel isn't likely to end anytime soon, Guira said.
"There's an expectation in England, for example, that we're in for six hard months. I think most people feel that with the twin-demic, because they expect flu and COVID to rise at the same time," he said.
On Tuesday, global airlines called for airport COVID-19 tests for all departing international passengers to replace the mandatory quarantines, which are blamed for exacerbating the travel slump.
"A systematic testing of all passengers at departure would guarantee that you fly people who are not infected by the virus, or with the risk of being infected which is very, very limited by the sensitivity of the test," said International Air Transport Association head, Alexandre de Juniac.
On Wednesday, Lufthansa announced it plans to expand coronavirus on-the-spot tests for passengers before boarding – a measure it deems essential to reviving global air travel.
EU-China Summit Has Some Germans Rethinking Relations With Beijing
A high-profile virtual summit among Chinese and EU leaders this week has spurred some influential Europeans to rethink their continent’s relationship with Beijing, and especially whether economic considerations have been overemphasized at the expense of human rights.
Monday’s digital get-together — led by Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor and current EU President Angela Merkel — concluded with several vague commitments to “enhance mutual trust, seek mutual benefits on a win-win basis and uphold multilateralism,” according to China’s Xinhua news agency.
But German politicians and news organizations were asking hard questions about Europe’s relationship with China even before the start of the talks, which had been planned pre-pandemic as a gala affair in the German city of Leipzig. The summit also included European Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“How do we position ourselves towards #China? Is China only a huge market or do we as the EU want to play a role in shaping the world order?” Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee, asked in a tweet hours before the meeting began.
Today the #EUChinaSummit takes place. At its centre sits the question: How do we position ourselves towards #China? Is China only a huge market or do we as the EU want to play a role in shaping the world order? Most important signal towards China would be: We won't be divided.
— Norbert Röttgen (@n_roettgen) September 14, 2020
“Did Germany get too friendly with China?” headlined a feature story published by Deutsche Welle.
While there is a growing consensus in the United States that the policy of “engagement” with China has largely failed, the question is still intensely debated in Germany. Calls for soul-searching — in some cases even a complete overhaul of status quo — appear to be getting louder.
“There are at least as many German lawmakers, German members of parliament that are strongly supportive of human rights, in particular human rights in China, as you’ll find in the U.S. Congress,” said German Green Party legislator Reinhard Buetikofer, head of the EU’s Delegation for Relations with the People’s Republic of China, in a telephone interview.
Gyde Jensen, representing Germany’s northernmost region in the Bundestag, is just such a lawmaker. Considered a rising star, the 31-year-old chair of the parliament’s human rights committee proudly pins a photo of herself with a Hong Kong activist on her Twitter account and believes Germany should keep Huawei out in its 5G plans.
Seit über eineinhalb Jahren fordert die @fdpbt stärkere Einhaltung von Völkerrecht und #Menschenrechten in #Hongkong.
Gestern habe ich @nathanlawkc getroffen und die Auslandsreise von #WangYi Revue passieren lassen.
Unser Fazit: #CCP hat falsch gepokert – 🇪🇺 steht zusammen. pic.twitter.com/gEhXuBlD4P
— Gyde Jensen (@GydeJ) September 3, 2020
Prominent members of the academic community have lent their voices to the cause.
“German governments, both past and present, have consistently prioritized trade with China over other enlightened German national interests, for example democracy and human rights,” said Andreas Fulda, a German social and political scientist who launched a petition in May calling for a reappraisal.
We need to talk about Germany. Let's start with an inconvenient truth: German governments, both past and present, have consistently prioritized trade with China over other enlightened German national interests, for example democracy and human rights. 1/16https://t.co/NcuRAAXGAH
— Andreas Fulda (@AMFChina) May 26, 2020
For too long, foreign trade promotion has topped Germany’s policy configurations toward China, Fulda said in an email interview. Corporate voices have been over-amplified in public discourse while “for decades hyp[ing] the significance of the Chinese market” in order to justify trade and investment “with an authoritarian China.”
China, for its part, likes to remind Europeans of the economic advantages of the relationship. Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Beijing conspicuously announced that the German auto industry continued to reap profits in China, while business interests elsewhere have been pummeled by the coronavirus pandemic.
“German car giants increased their sales in China, with Mercedes-Benz seeing a 21.6 percent increase in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, even as its sales in Europe dropped by 31.5 percent during the first half of the year,” said a September 9 article published in the Global Times, an arm of Chinese state media.
Germany, for its part, declared China as its top single-country export destination in the second quarter of this year, surpassing the United States.
Some Chinese netizens suggested that Beijing’s increased purchases from Germany were part of a strategic move to secure Berlin’s friendship. Otherwise, one wrote, European nations “would all follow the footsteps of the Czech Senate leader” who recently led a delegation to Taiwan.
Senate President Miloš Vystrčil led an 89-member Czech delegation to Taipei on a trip described as honoring the spirit of Vaclav Havel, the first democratically elected Czech president following the disintegration of the Soviet bloc 30 years ago.
“My view is that if we focus on money, we will lose [both] our values and money,” Vystrčil said prior to embarking on the journey.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen increases Corona Measures
Because the number of corona infections in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district has exceeded a critical mark, the Corona measures for the community have been increased for seven days. As the district office announced, people who have visited certain bars on Tuesday evening will be asked to report and be tested. On that evening, according to news reports, infected people had visited the bars, but not all contact persons could be traced.
The number of confirmed new infections with the coronavirus exceeded the critical mark of 50 people per 100,000 population within the last seven days. Due to the current situation, the test center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also open on Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m.
Young people in particular are called upon to be tested, local news reported.
As of today, all restaurants in the Bavarian municipality of Garmisch-Partenkirchen have to close daily at 10 p.m., as it was said. Only a maximum of five people are allowed to meet in public space – this also applies to all restaurants. For private events, the number of participants is limited to a maximum of 50 people in closed rooms or up to 100 people in open air.
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