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The Week in Germany - April 10, 2021
April 10, 2021
Cherry blossoms bring spring magic to both sides of the Atlantic

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!

Nicole Glass
Editor, The Week in Germany

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the supply of vaccines to the 100th country via the COVAX platform:

"The fact that St. Lucia yesterday became the 100th country to be supplied with vaccines via the COVAX platform supported by Germany and the EU, is a milestone on the way out of the pandemic. This progress gives us hope, for we too will only be safe when everyone around the world is safe. Access to vaccines, medicines and tests must not become a geopolitical pawn. Rather, they must be available to all countries in a fair and transparent manner. That’s why we’re committed to COVAX, to a multilateral approach."

Chancellor Angela Merkel on the death of Prince Philip:

"I was deeply saddened to learn of Prince Philip's death. His friendship with Germany, his directness and his sense of duty will not be forgotten. All our thoughts are with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the royal family."

International solidarity against antisemitism and antigypsyism – Germany’s IHRA Chairmanship in 2020/2021
International solidarity against antisemitism and antigypsyism – Germany’s IHRA Chairmanship in 2020/2021
Germany took over the chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) for the first time at the beginning of March 2020. Today, as the chairmanship passes to Greece, we look back on the last year.
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"Germany's Responsibility in Fighting Antisemitism Today" with American University’s Center for Israel Studies
"Germany's Responsibility in Fighting Antisemitism Today" with American University’s Center for Israel Studies
American University's Center for Israel Studies and Jewish Studies Program will feature an online conversation between German Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Emily Haber and CIS director Professor Michael Brenner on "Germany’s Responsibility in Facing the Past and Fighting Antisemitism Today."
Register to attend
German efficiency: The roots of a stereotype
German efficiency: The roots of a stereotype
Germany has a reputation for getting things done in an efficient manner, even despite evidence to the contrary. Efficiency has played an important historic role in Germany — though not always a positive one.
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Germany remembers dawn of democracy in Reichstag
Germany remembers dawn of democracy in Reichstag
On March 21, 1871, the German parliament convened in the Reichstag for the first time, exactly 150 years ago. It was an important step to democracy, though the chamber did not hold the German Empire's real power.
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'Wind of Change': Germany's history in songs
'Wind of Change': Germany's history in songs
Music makes people happy, it has the power to move the masses. But some pop and rock songs have also made history, as a new exhibition in Bonn shows.
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Reckoning at the German International School
Reckoning at the German International School
"When my rabbi nominated me to be part of a peer-education program that connects Jewish and non-Jewish students across Greater Washington, combats anti-Semitism and educates teens about Judaism, I jumped at the chance. "
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History Of Quiche: French? German? It’s Complicated
History Of Quiche: French? German? It’s Complicated
Although "quiche" is a French word, this dish does have German roots. Check out the history.
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Seven must-attend online events in Germany in April
Seven must-attend online events in Germany in April
Most cultural institutions remain closed in April, but there's plenty of activity happening online. Here's a list of online events for you to attend in Germany in April from the safety of your own home.
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Word of the Week: Eiertanz
Word of the Week: Eiertanz
Have you ever wondered what to do with any leftover colored Easter eggs you don’t plan on keeping for next year or are unable to eat anytime soon? How about conducting an “Eiertanz” (egg dance) with them, an expression that once was taken literally but today has an altogether different meaning.
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