Dear TWIG Readers,
You might have seen images of the cherry blossom trees that blanket Washington, D.C. every spring. The 3,000 trees around the Tidal Basin were a gift from Japan to the United States in 1912, symbolizing the friendship between the two countries. Once the trees begin to bloom, the city is traditionally filled with festivals, celebratory events and a parade marking the occasion. This year, of course, virtual events replaced physical ones. But events or not, the magic of the blossoms can be felt throughout the city every spring.
Although the District has an abundance of cherry blossom trees, Japan has gifted its prized sakura trees to several other countries, including Brazil, China, Turkey and ... you guessed it! Germany. And in Germany, the blossoming trees have been growing in popularity, especially among photography enthusiasts! In Germany, the trees typically bloom a few weeks later than in the US, due to differences in climate.
One of the most popular cities for cherry blossom viewing is Hamburg, which is home to about 2,000 Japanese residents and 100 Japanese companies. The city received approximately 5,000 cherry blossom trees from Japan in the 1960s, which were planted along the city's riverbanks. However, some cherry blossom trees have already existed in the Hamburg area for hundreds of years. A popular blossom destination is located across the Elbe River at the so-called “Altes Land” (“old land”), which is the largest continuous fruit-producing region in Northern Europe.
Other German cities have equally beautiful cherry blossom displays. In Bonn, the cherry blossoms have become a major tourist attraction in recent years. In the mid-1980s, the city decided to plant cherry blossom trees all throughout Bonn's Altstadt ("old town") in order to make it a nicer place to live. The plan worked: Bonn's Heerstraße is now one of the most attractive springtime destinations. Photographs depicting Bonn's "tunnel of pink" have become an internet sensation, bringing tourists from around the world to visit the city during peak bloom.
But during a pandemic, it's always wise to avoid crowds - and the good thing is that cherry blossom trees can be found all over Germany in the springtime. Japan's gifts have brought beauty to countless cities across the world, including Germany!
Editor, The Week in Germany