You may be surprised that being a German site we make our country the subject of an article, but now we have more foreign visitors than German ones, for example over 25 per cent from North America. They could be interested in our not quite uncritical view on our country. After all, our motor vehicle industry is among the most respected in the world.
Of course, our area and especially our state of North Rhine-Westphalia do have some problems. We have about as many inhabitants as the Netherlands and even more than the five new, added after the reunification, states together. As the most populous state in Germany, we struggle against the largest, in terms of area, state of Bavaria and also against Baden-Württemberg. There, the destruction by war was not so extensive.
Not without reason is the company Daimler an important part of Baden-Württemberg. Bavaria even landed two car companies, BMW and Audi. Well, in North Rhine-Westphalia we have Ford in Cologne, Mercedes in Dusseldorf and this Opel factory in Bochum that currently has some difficulties. With that said we touch upon another problem in this country, the almost perpetual structural change.
After World War II, coal and steel was in demand and hence the Ruhr Valley was of some interest. Beginning already before the war, there were several immigration waves of Polish and at the time of the economic miracle successively Italian, Greek and Turkish immigrants. They were not even proper immigrants, they wanted to make money and to return home. In most cases, it turned out differently. Now, more than 4 million Muslims live in Germany.
Then the interest in heavy industry decreased, which has led to that Opel factory in Bochum. Unfortunately, it is now also already on the rocks. It would be best for us if we continued to develop tourism. Take a boat trip on the Rhine, from the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen to the open landscapes of the Netherlands. Or a cruise on the Moselle, with pauses for wine tasting. Or a trip to Heidelberg, cosy atmosphere cast in timber-framed houses.
While there is some rivalry between the north/west and the south, still, we are secretly envious of them down there about their environment. Certainly, there will never be another Bavarian as crazy as the King Ludwig II, who built the Neuschwanstein. A castle that occupies the entire top of a mountain, at the edge of the High Alps.
Generally Bavaria still feels like a foreigner in Germany. The Free State of Bavaria is there not only on the flag, but also in the hearts of many citizens. If the globalization would not require the exact opposite, they would leave the federal state of Germany and would keep the money for themselves, especially since so much of it flows into the former GDR. Have the East Germans already settled in the united Germany better than the Bavarians?
Here, the history shimmers through. Germany has not been united by the Bavarians, but by the Prussians, the favourite foes of Bavaria. Ludwig II was too busy with its castles, he constantly needed money and put himself up for sale. Well, so they are, the Bavarians, they take the money and still consider themselves independent.
But at least King Ludwig avoided another war. There was already enough of those before the final establishment of the German Empire. One against the Danes (1864), one against the Austrians (1866) and finally one against the French (1870), all conducted by Prussia and its 'iron' Chancellor Bismarck. Yes, Germany was established much later than for instance France. Perhaps the scattered regionalism is still in our genes. 10/12