AEGEE-EUROPE HERITAGE BLOG

Here you find local stories of AEGEEans around Europe!


Route #2 at sLOVEnia at first sight II. aka The green adventure

 

written by Marta (AEGEE-Warszawa)

 

#Pivapčići #30yearsofSU #EuropeForCulture #AEGEE #FromOneSUmmerToAnother

 

Slovenia may be one of the smallest countries in Central Europe, but there is no other one that contains within its borders Alpine mountains, thick forests, historic cities and a (short but still) Adriatic coastline. Thanks to its picturesque location  and numerous breathtaking places, such as Lake Bled, Triglav National Park or Postojna Cave, more and more tourists choose Slovenia as a holiday destination. No wonder, each year the Summer University organized by AGEE-Maribor and AEGEE-Ljubljana enjoys one of the highest number of applicants. This year over 35 young Europeans had the pleasure to spend the summer of their lifetimes in lovely Slovenia.Even though, the number of tourists visiting Slovenia is constantly growing, there are still numerous cases of confusion between Slovenia and Slovakia. Sometimes it might be funny for both nationalities, but an example of Slovenian anthem played before Slovakia - Italy game during  Ice Hockey World Championships in Germany last year proves that there is a problem with distinguishing those two countries. So dear reader, if having read the headline of this article you thought about the republic that was formed in 1993, after the Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Divorce, believe me, you’re not alone. But just to make it clear, this time the focus is on the Republic of Slovenia, one of seven (including Kosovo) post-Yugoslav states, known mostly for its beautiful nature.Slovenian nature is one and only - anybody who has been to the country will for sure agree with me. So do locals and that’s why AEGEE-Ljubljana and AEGEE-Maribor have decided to organize a Green SU. Participants from all over Europe attended numerous workshops provided by two trainers from the Society and the Environment Interest Group of European Students’ Forum. But the activities on the subject of sustainability were just one part of the agenda - young Europeans had also a chance to discover the diversity of Slovenian nature by visiting places such as Velika Planina, Tolmin or Bled. Route#2 has joined the (quite huge) group of Slovenian SU participants and organizers for two days in Maribor, the second biggest city of Slovenia. We also had the pleasure to hike in Pohorje, which was definitely the highlight of our stay in Maribor (and also a bit of a challenge taking into account the really hot weather conditions that day). But each Summer University is also about the local culture. Depending on the organizers, participants can get acquainted with national dances, songs, local cuisine or language. Me and Alberto managed not only to enjoy beautiful Maribor and provide a quiz about the SU Project’s history but also to join the group during a Slovenian language workshop. And honestly, we couldn't be more lucky! From that moment on, neither me nor any other participant will confuse Slovenia with Slovakia. Why? Well, can you think of any language that is spoken by less than 2.5 mln but has almost 50 dialects? Do you know what the oldest Slavic language is? Have you heard about a few lovers’ languages that use dual grammatical forms in addition to the singular and the plural while referring to couples? The answer to all those question is simple - SLOVENIAN language (also known as Slovene). 

What is more, (at least in my humble opinion) no other nationality can curse in such a lovely way. That’s because traditional Slovenian swear words are mild by nature and saying them loud you don’t sound offensive or vulgar at all. Just imagine using expressions like: Let the hen kick you! (Naj te koklja brcne!), Go salt yourself! (Pojdi se solit!), Even your dog doesn't like you! (Pes te nima rad!) or Jesus Christ´s underwear! (Kristusove gate!) when you lose your temper. Possible only in Slovenia! Taking into account the dual form used in Slovene as well as those delightfully sounding curse words, I finally understand why it’s SLOVEnia (and not to be mistaken with Slovakia!)

 

hosted by AEGEE-Maribor & AEGEE-Ljubljana


Route #3 at León 1988 "Sol, Playa y Olé"

 

Written by Lila (AEGEE-Paris) & Diego (AEGEE-Brescia)

#calimocho #30yearsofSU #EuropeForCulture #AEGEE #FromOneSUmmerToAnother

 

 The second stop of route 3 was León. León is a small, student city in the Nothern part of Spain. It is located next to Portugal. León was part of the project Summer Break with 3 other antennae this year, meaning that the event lasted only one week. We arrived right in the middle of it. The accomodation of León was a gym, in the middle of the city, not so far from the University.

While wandering in the city you can admire its beautiful cathedral, symbol of the town and AEGEE-León.

The first day we had the chance to attend different workshops. The first one was about Equal Rights within the Summer University project, how it was at the beginning, how it is now and how it should be in 30 years. The second workshop was a “Cheese and Wine Tasting”, participants tried different Spanish cheese from the region and learnt how to taste wine like a professional. And the night, we did our first and only European Night of the trip! The idea behind European Night is to share a part of our local culture, food and drinks. The group was made of different nationalities and everyone brought something. We had a great time!  

During our stay in León we delivered two different workshops: one about the Summer University Project and its anniversary, and the other about the European Institutions. We decided to provide a workshop about the functioning of the EU and its history. It was really interesting to see how much the participants knew about our Union and how much they learnt thanks to our workshop.

During the second night, we did something different from what we can expect to do in an AEGEE event. We went to an observatory to watch the stars and the moon. Thanks to a telescope we saw Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the moon.

 

Hosted by AEGEE-León


Route #5 at 505 Unknown Pleasures of Britain

 

#route5 #30yearsofSU #EuropeForCulture #AEGEE #FromOneSUmmerToAnother

 

Some of you may be asking: has a SU ever taken place in England, in the history of AEGEE?

You may be surprised to know that there was actually a SU organised in Glasgow more than 10 years ago.

And maybe you thought that there would have never been again a SU in the UK?

AEGEE-Sheffield and AEGEE-Manchester showed us that nothing is so far from the truth, and they strongly want to come back on track. A surprising result considering that AEGEE-Sheffield was promoted as Antenna only during the Spring Agora Krakow 2018.

Actually some of the more experienced members inside the two locals had this dream of making a SU for a long time: there was even an existing document with sleeping ideas, workshop about British culture and possible activities to witness how much they wanted this project to become real.

AEGEE-Manchester and Sheffield have already worked together the last year, the team was really motivated, then just a pinch of courage and craziness and the SU 505 Unknown Pleasures of Britain finally started.

The event was really unique so how could we miss the chance to visit them and to report our experience?

 

So while I was still struggling with an adventurous journey from Vilnius to Sheffield (and could it be otherwise?) trying to join the rest of the team, Tori and Alberto catched a flight from their first stop in Delft to Manchester, and they delivered a workshop about democracy and participation in Sheffield.

The morning after, finally together, we woke up at 7.30 to spend a sunny and healthy Sunday hiking. And how can a truly British SU start without the smell of the toasted bread, a hot cup of tea and the soundtrack of Harry Potter? - By the way later on I learnt that all the participants received a magic stick in their welcome pack, and I couldn’t hide my jealousy about that.

We took a double decker bus and the group had an interesting meeting with the local people that seemed quite surprised and amused to see a chaotic crowd invading their lazy Sunday morning. Then we ended in the countryside with purple hills painted by heather and lavender.

But as you all know a true AEGEE group can’t stand the idea of spending a relaxing day hiking, so we ‘decided’ to leave the regular path and to follow our free spirit through the British jungle, jumping over a fence with a barbed wire, rolling down the stony road, doing races with the sheeps and finally swimming and resting at the lake.

Never mind, we enjoyed every moment of the day, we had the chance to sleep, eat and chat with many different people and even to look at their gossip box, also filled with some true piece of engineering. It’s sad to leave so soon but Osnabrück is waiting for us!

Our motivation to wake up at 5.30 tomorrow in order to catch the flight?

Only 1017 kilometres between us and the next shower.

 

A special thank you to Oksana and Bryn that made us feel at home and took care of us before and during our stay.

 

hosted by AEGEE-Sheffield & AEGEE-Manchester

written by Martina (AEGEE-Bologna)

 



Route #2 at The Legend of the Czech Grail

#Pivapčići #30yearsofSU #EuropeForCulture #AEGEE #FromOneSUmmerToAnother

 

17 hours and 5 different trains - that’s how the second part of Route#2 adventure has begun. A long afternoon and night travel from Gdańsk to Prague may be a bit exhausting, but the Polish-Italian team knew that they have less than 24h to enjoy the Czech capital, so the schedule was really tight. Starting with joining the participants’ group during the morning city tour, having lunch in a typical Czech canteen and then visiting Staropramen beer museum with a degustation of a local pivo.

 

Beer, knedlíky and smažený sýr - those are definitely my first connotations with Czech Republic. I know, sounds so stereotypical but can you blame me if I tell you that first time I have ever drunk beer was nowhere else but in one of the lovely Bohemian cities? Nevertheless, if you have been to Czech Republic but haven’t tried those three delicacies - shame on you! But more to the point, the fact that Czechs love beer is probably not a surprise to anybody, but were you aware that their yearly consumption per person is the highest in the world? And they are world’s biggest beer drinkers for over 20 consecutive years! Statistically an average Czech drinks more or less a pint of beer every 35 h. By the way, I’m pretty sure during The Legend of the Czech Grail Summer University organized by AEGEE-Praha & AEGEE-Plzeň participants did their best to act like the locals, at least when it comes to the amount of this amber beverage drunk.

But all jokes aside, AEGEE-Praha and AEGEE-Plzeň are totally aware that pivo is an important part of Czech culture. Therefore, they have decided to include a visit in the Pivovar Staropramen in their programme. Thanks to that, young Europeans from all around Europe, from Las Palmas to Russia, had an opportunity to not only taste the original Czekish beverage, but actually experience an interactive tour through time that presents the history of one of the oldest European brewery.

 

Although the walk through the historic brewery building was nothing like a typical museum tour - the actual guide was replaced by the “voice guide” and holographic of the brewery founder, it was a modern version of presenting rich history of Czech beer production. Participants got acquainted with the history of Staropramen brand, saw a mocked-up office of the first brewery owner and the laboratory where the original recipe was invented, but also found out how the whole process of production, bottling and worldwide distribution looks like. Not mentioning the smell of fresh hop wafting throughout the whole tour that made all of us even more thirsty. So finally, as the last ‘station’ of the visit we could enjoy the taste of one chosen type of beverage produced in one of the world’s most famous Czech brewery. And believe me, thanks to the beer degustation both beer gourmets and those, who just like me, usually prefer numerous different drinks felt a burst of energy needed for the remaining activities planned for that day.

 

Yes, that was not the end of attractions that day! Even though it was already late afternoon when we came back to hostel, there was not much time to rest. The agenda was very strict - evening workshop on Summer University Project and quiz concerning its history. However, to make the tough day more bearable organisers and us, Adventurers, joined forces and prepared a surprise SU birthday party. That long day in Prague couldn’t end in better way - birthday cake and champagne were the perfect icing of the cake!

 

hosted by AEGEE-Praha & AEGEE-Plzeň

written by Marta (AEGEE-Warszawa)

 

PS Don’t forget to celebrate International Beer Day on August 3rd!


Route #1 at Living the green age: Battle of the lowlands

 

#germanic #30yearsofSU #EuropeForCulture #AEGEE #FromOneSUmmerToAnother

 

I arrived to Leuven in the afternoon. I took some pictures of the city, and grabbed my first waffles of the day on the way to the accommodation.

 

Bence, the other adventurer, arrived earlier to take some video material while I was doing the WS in Aachen, so I was going to meet up with him and the rest of the SU. Upon arriving, I introduced myself to everyone, and then it was time for some sports activities by the group.

 

After that, we had a brief WS about hitchhiking, which we were going to do the next day, and dinner. I tried to do my best to talk to everyone I could before the 30 Years of SU  workshop. For the workshops, the setup was that Bence would take pictures and videos, and I would do the actual WS. The first activity was speed-dating, followed by an agree-disagree game. People seemed engaged, which I was really happy about. After that, participants from each nationality had to draw a map of how they perceive the borders of Europe. It was really interesting to see how participants from similar regions see things the same way, especially when it came to the differences between Western and Eastern Europe.

 

The next morning started out with making signs for hitchhiking.

 

Bence and I started out at a gas station, just holding up our sign and trying to make eye contact with the passing drivers. We did not succeed for a long time, so we moved to the road leading to Eindhoven and tried to find a spot where a car could park easily. We had to wait there for a while, but most drivers had a reaction to us, which was nice. In the end a nice Belgian gentleman picked us up and took us to our destination.

 

We arrived to Eindhoven late in the afternoon. The participants that already arrived were in the middle of a Stroopwafel making workshop, and as someone who LOVES stroopwafels, this was heaven for me. Unfortunately we did not have time to make any for ourselves as we had to bike and leave for the accommodation, but one of the organizers made some for us later.

In the evening the organisers from Eindhoven gave a really nice WS about biking in the Netherlands, which later turned out to be very useful for us. Most people were too tired to party so we tried to get as much sleep as we could. We were off to Tilburg the next morning!

 

hosted by AEGEE-Leuven, AEGEE-Eindhoven, AEGEE-Utrecht

written by Zita (AEGEE-Budapest)


Route #2 at be CuRious, bE originAl, invenT, imaginE -CREATE

#Pivapčići #30yearsofSU #EuropeForCulture #AEGEE #FromOneSUmmerToAnother

 

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Poland? Is it pierogi, some alcoholic beverage, Robert Lewandowski, Lech Wałęsa or maybe Jean Paul II? There are plenty of possibilities but either way you won’t probably say Poles are one of the most creative European nationalities. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. And it’s exactly one of the stereotype AEGEE-Warszawa along with AEGEE-Gdańsk tried to break by organizing a Travelling Summer University with a focus on developing the participants’ creativity skills.

 

The same question as stated before has been asked to the young Europeans who decided to go this summer to Poland. And guess what? Turned out that having spent 14 days in the country they can already name numerous Polish personalities, whose creativity makes them worldwide known.

 

Let’s begin for instance with Friderick Chopin. Sounds Polish? Maybe not to all of you, but actually this composer and virtuoso pianist comes from Poland. That is one of the numerous things that 26 young people from all over Europe have found out during the SUmmer of their lifetime in Poland. And what is the best way to learn about music master and his art then actually hear it? You may not find it in most of travel guides concerning Warsaw but an openair Chopin Concert that takes place in Royal Łazienki Park in the Polish capital is something really worth seeing (and listening to, of course). Believe us! A little birdie told us that even those participants of the Summer University who admitted classical music is not their cup of tea, have found the Chopin art played live really inspiring.

 

Need more example of Polish creativity? Let’s think out of the box - creativity can be found not only in art. It’s a value added in almost every area of life. It relates to any work you do, no matter if you’re a cook, teacher, marketing specialist or …. an astronomer like Nicolaus Copernicus. That’s the next Polish person Poles can be proud of. If not him, would we still believe that it’s the Earth that is the centre of universe? Definitely not, but thanks to him we became aware of the matter of fact much sooner. Still wonder whether Copernicus was creative? In 16th century his way of thinking makes him a crazy man, whereas nowadays such a personality for sure will be described as an innovator. But how can you describe innovation if not as a derivative of creativity?  That’s the reason AEGEE-Warszawa and AEGEE-Gdańsk decided to show their European guests Toruń - the city where Nicolaus Copernicus was born and raised.

The final stop of the SU was Gdańsk - the city known mostly for being the Polish principal seaport and the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, that has an influence on spreading anti-communist ideals and movements throughout the countries of the Eastern Bloc.

 

Those facts cannot be omitted while talking about Gdańsk. However, AEGEE-Gdańsk wanted to present its city in a slightly different and more creative way. Therefore, the last days of Summer University were full of workshops conducted by Public Relations Committee as well as Adventurers of 30 years of Summer University, who had a pleasure to join the event for 3 days. Staying in Gdańsk was a perfect conclusion of a 2-weeks-long SU in Poland. After all the knowledge gained during previous stops as well as Polish language and culture workshops provided in Gdańsk, participants finally got a chance to prove how their creativity skills and knowledge of Poland have been improved. Final outcome? You will be surprised, how much do they develop their public speaking and video making skills (not mentioning how delicious were pierogi they have prepared). Does the Visual Identity sounds like something foreign or incredibly complicated? Not anymore! Can they name several Poles who were or are important cultural figures for Polish heritage?

 

Sure, even in one breath! And all that happened while having the SUmmer of the lifetime!

 

hosted by AEGEE-Gdańsk and AEGEE-Warszawa

written by Marta (AEGEE-Warszawa)


Route #1 at Extremer Deutsch: Der, Die, Das - was soll der Scheiß?!

 #germanic #30yearsofSU #EuropeForCulture #AEGEE #FromOneSUmmerToAnother

 

I woke up on the first day full of excitement. I caught my plane to Düsseldorf, and did some sightseeing while I waited for Bence, the other adventurer. At around 4, we met up with Angi from AEGEE-Aachen, who was the main organizer of the SU. We went to greet the participants, who were doing some team activities in a park nearby. Bence and I did an interview with 3 organizers right away, which gave us great insight into what the SU was like. Shortly after, we headed to our partying and sleeping location in Düsseldorf: a church!

Apparently, because churches are underused, it is common that church officials rent the church buildings to local organizations for free. When we got there, we played some games and had dinner. The SU had a rule, as it was a German language course as well, that participants can only talk in German to the organizers and to each other. Bence’s and my German was quite rusty, so luckily they made and exception for us. As they had been there for 9 days already, we had to try extra hard to fit in and get to know everyone. The organizers held a 30 years of SU Birthday Celebration with cake and then everybody partied until the early morning.

 

The next morning, we said goodbye to the organizers from AEGEE-Düsseldorf and headed to Cologne. There, after some sightseeing and group pictures, we had free time in Cologne. Most of the participants and the organizers headed to Pride, and we decided to join them. The parade was really fun and colourful, and it was a great opportunity to take pictures.

We lingered around the event area for a while, and then headed to the riverbank to chill. We headed to Aachen that evening and stayed with an organizer that night (shoutout to Maya!).

 

The next morning, Bence left early for Leuven to record their events, while I remained in Aachen a bit longer to do a YEP workshop for the participants. The topic was ‘No democracy without participation’ and I was a bit nervous to do it, but the participants were really nice and active, and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

 

hosted by AEGEE-Aachen

written by Zita (AEGEE-Budapest)


Nîmes : Comment être née et élevée dans une ville française, construite par les italiens mais aux influences espagnoles ?

+++ English version beneath +++

 

Je suis arrivée à Paris en Septembre 2013, après avoir vécu 18 ans dans le sud de la France. Paris était mon rêve. Depuis mes 4 ans, j’ai toujours imaginé le jour où je déménagerai à Paris. Et finalement il est arrivé. Tout était nouveau pour moi, je vivais seule, dans une métropole, je rencontrais de nouvelles personnes et profitais de la vie étudiante. Mais quelque chose me manquait, ma ville natale me manquait, son soleil, ses habitants, son atmosphère unique.

 

Nîmes, petite ville de 150 000 habitants, est située dans le sud de la France, entre la Mer Méditerranée et la région des Cévennes. Connue comme la petite Rome française à cause  des 7 collines encerclant la ville. L’histoire raconte que l’Empereur August tomba amoureux de Nemausus (ancien nom donnée à la ville) à cause des 7 collines, lui rappelant Rome. Il y installa une colonie romaine, autour de la source d’eau Nemausus. Il y construit de nouveaux monuments, dont certains sont encore visibles aujourd’hui : la Tour Magne, le Jardin de la Fontaine (thermes romains), la Maison Carré (Forum), les Arènes (l’amphithéâtre). Les visiteurs peuvent aussi encore admirer les deux portes (Porte de France et Porte August), historiquement utilisées pour entrer dans la ville, et le Castellum, un vestige gallo-romain très rare qui permettait d’acheminer l’eau de l’aqueduc directement dans la ville. Le symbole Nîmes est le crocodile enchaîné à un palmier, symbolisant la victoire des Romains en Egypte.

 

En se baladant, les visiteurs peuvent admirer aux détours des rues différents crocodiles, symbole de la ville et de son passé romain. Nîmes est une ville remplie d’histoires et aime le rappeler : la ville concours cette année pour être labellisée patrimoine mondiale de l’Unesco.

Pile au milieu de la France, à 5 heures de Turin et 5 heures de Barcelone, Nîmes a largement été influencée par la culture espagnole au fil des ans. En 1951, la ville organisa sa première Féria, un festival très populaire autour de la tauromachie. J’avais 3 ans lorsque j’ai assisté à ma première corrida. Les premières corridas ont été organisées dès le XIXème siècle en France, et même avant que cela ne devienne officiellement reconnu en 1951, la ville avait déjà accueilli plusieurs corridas grâce au soutien de la population locale et de certains élus locaux, transgressant l’interdiction. Aujourd’hui, les corridas sont interdites mais exceptionnellement autorisées dans certaines régions du sud de la France.

 

Tous les ans pour chaque Féria, les écoles ferment et les habitants s’arrêtent de travailler. Pendant 5 jours, la ville ne fonctionne plus et vit autour de la féria, tout le monde se rassemble dans le centre-ville afin de célébrer ces festivités : partageant des verres, écoutant les fanfares jouer dans la rues, regardant la Pégoulade ou l’abrivado.

 

Journée basique d’un Nîmois à la Féria :

11 heure : Corrida du matin

14 heure : Paella ou viande de taureau de corrida dans l’un des restaurants de rue

18 heure : Corrida du soir

21 heure : Bodega

6 heure : Rentrer chez-soi

Et cela pendant 5 jours !

 

Dernière anecdote sur la ville : la toile des jeans a été inventée à Nîmes, c’est pour cela que l’on les appelle les Jeans Denim (Jeans de Nîmes). Et ceci n’est pas une blague !

Nîmes est une ville méditerranéo-européenne : situé en France, italienne par son histoire mais espagnole par sa culture. Cela rend la ville unique. J’ai grandi en étant nourrie par les olives, la viande de taureau, la paella, les férias, les corridas et les monuments romains.

 

Par Lila Quaile (AEGEE-Paris)

Nîmes : How is it to be born and raised in a French city built by Italians and influenced by Spanish culture?

I arrived in Paris in September 2013 after eighteen years in the South of France. Paris was my dream. Since I was 4 years old I was dreaming about the day I would move to Paris. And finally this day came. Everything was new for me, I was living alone, in a big city, meeting hundreds of new people and enjoying the student life. But something was missing, I was missing my hometown, my beloved Nîmes, its sun, its people, but most of it, its unique atmosphere.

 

Nîmes, a little town of 150 000 inhabitants, is situated in the south of France, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Cevènnes region. It’s known as the little French Rome here because of the 7 hills surrounding the city. Legends says that the Emperor Augustus fell in love with Nemausus (ancient name of the city) because of its 7 hills, reminding him of Rome. He set up a Roman colony there, around the water source water source Nemausus. He built hundreds of monuments and some of them are still visible today : La Tour Magne, Le Jardin de la Fontaine (ancient baths), La Maison Carré (forum), Les Arènes (amphitheater). Visitors can also still admire the two doors (Porte de France and Porte August) historically used to enter in the city, and the Castellum, a very rare Gallo-roman vestige used to bring the water from the aqueduct directly to the city. Its symbol is the crocodile and the palm tree, because after the Egyptian campaign, some Romans soldiers established themselves in the city and symbolised their victory in Egypt with a crocodile chained to a palm tree. All around the city, visitors can admire different crocodiles symbolising the city and its Roman past. Nîmes is full of history and likes to remind it to its population : the city is now running for the label of Unesco World Heritage.

 

Right in the middle of France, 5 hours away from Torino and 5 hours from Barcelona, Nîmes has been largely influenced by Spain through the years. In 1951, the city decided to organise its first “Feria”, which is a very popular festival around bullfighting. I was 3 years old the first time I saw my first Corrida. The first corridas have been organised during the XIXth century, and before becoming official in 1951, Nîmes organised several corridas supported by the local population and some local representatives transgressing the prohibition. Nowadays, corrida are allowed in France only in some specific regions from the south.

 

Every year for each Feria, the schools are closed, nobody is going to work. For 5 days the city just stop working and everyone is partying in all the center, all together, from 5 to 85 years old. Sharing drinks, listening to the bands playing musics, looking at ‘La Pégoulade’ and ‘l’abrivado’.

 

Basic day of one ‘Nîmois’ during the Feria :

11am: Going to the Morning Corrida

2pm: Eating Paella or Corrida’s Bull meat in one of the stand on the main street.

6pm: Going to the Evening Corrida

9pm: Partying into ‘Bodega’

6am: Going to bed

And start over for 5 days long!

 

Last funny fact : The canvas of jeans have been created in Nîmes, that’s why it is called Jeans Denim (Jeans De Nîmes), and this is not a joke!

Nîmes is a Mediterranean-European city : situated in France, Italian by its history but Spanish by its culture. This is what makes my city unique. I grew up fed by olives, bull meat, paella, feria, Roman monuments and corrida.

 

By Lila Quaile (AEGEE-Paris)


Wind, Wolken, Meer – Land der Teetrinker: Ostfriesland

Foto: Dirk Vorderstraße/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

+++ English version beneath +++

 

„Ich komme aus Deutschland“. Wenn man diesen Satz zu jemandem sagt, wird man oft mit denselben Stereotypen konfrontiert. Bier. Dirndl. Lederhose. Das mag zwar im Süden alles zur Tradition gehören, aber ich komme aus einer ganz anderen Region: Ostfriesland.

 

Ostfriesland befindet sich im Nord-Westen von Deutschland: am Meer, und ist für ein anderes Getränk bekannt: den Tee.  Allein schon in der Nähe der kleinen Stadt in der ich aufgewachsen bin (Fun Fact: sie heißt Norden, wie die Himmelsrichtung) gibt es drei Teefabriken. Daher gibt es auch eine spezielle Tee-Zeremonie um den Tee richtig zu genießen. Der Kluntje (ein spezielles Zuckerstück) wird in die Tasse gelegt, der Tee wird darüber gegossen und dann wird mit einer kleinen Kelle die Sahne hinzugefügt, die sich von selbst verteilt. Umrühren gehört sich gar nicht. Der Löffel dient lediglich dazu, zu signalisieren, ob man noch Tee möchte oder nicht (wer sich noch mehr für die Tee Regeln interessiert kann hier noch eine detailliertere Beschreibung finden: http://www.ostfriesland.de/mein-ostfriesland/bummeln-und-kulinarik/regionale-spezialitaeten/teetradition/die-teezeremonie.html).

 

Noch eine Spezialität in Ostfriesland ist das Plattdeutsche. Ich spreche es nicht, aber viele ältere Menschen kommunizieren meist nur auf dieser Sprache. Plattdeutsch ist zwar sehr nah am Deutschen, aber doch zu anders, als dass sie nur ein Dialekt wäre. Die älteren Menschen der Region geben diese traditionelle Sprache auch an ihre Kinder und Enkelkinder weiter.

 

„Germany and sea are somehow never connected in my mind“. Diesen Satz habe ich von einem Freund von mir gehört. Eigentlich sehr schade, denn das Meer an der Nordseeküste ist in verschiedener Hinsicht besonders. Es befindet sich nicht Sand auf dem Grund vor der Küste, sondern das Watt. Dieses kann man zweimal am Tag bewundern, da es dort Ebbe und Flut gibt. Das heißt, dass das Wasser  in regelmäßigen Abständen auf- und abläuft, sodass man zur richtigen Zeit sogar von meiner Heimatstadt zur nächsten benachbarten Insel wandern kann (sollte allerdings nur mit einem professionellen Führer gemacht werden, ansonsten kann es sehr gefährlich sein). Und das Beste: Es gibt dort Seehunde, die man ganz leicht bei einer Schiffsfahrt entdecken kann. Manchmal verlieren kleine Seehunde ihre Mutter in einem Sturm und rufen laut nach ihr, daher werden sie „Heuler“ genannt. Dann werden sie oft auch von Menschen gefunden und in der Seehundaufzuchtstation groß gezogen, bis sie stark genug sind um selbst im Meer zu überleben und dorthin zurück gebracht werden. Das Wattenmeer ist übrigens Weltnaturerbe!

 

Von Natascha Jürgens (AEGEE-Passau)

Wind, clouds and sea – Land of tea drinkers: East Frisia

+++ English version +++

  

„I am from Germany“. When saying this to someone, you often get confronted with the same stereotypes. Beer. Dirndl. Lederhose. (check the post by Tonya Stupakova) That may belong to the culture in the South but I come from a completely different region: East Frisia.

 

East Frisia is in the North-West of Germany at the sea and known for a special beverage: tea. Close to the small town where I grew up (fun fact: it is called Norden which translated literally to North like the geographical direction) there are already three tea factories. Therefore there is also a specific tea ceremony to properly enjoy your tea. First a “Kluntje” (a piece of sugar that can only be found in East Frisia to sweeten the tea) is put in the cup, the tea is poured over it and with a small ladle some cream is added that is spreading by itself. You are not supposed to stir, the spoons only purpose is to signalise whether you want more tea or not ( if you are interested in the more detailed description of the tea rules you can find more detailed information here: http://www.ostfriesland-tourism.com/my-ostfriesland/culinary/tealand-ostfriesland.html).

 

Another characteristic of East Frisia is the local traditional language “Plattdeutsch”. I do not speak it myself but a lot of older people only communicate in this language that is very close to German but still too different to be just a dialect. It sometimes sounds like mixture of Dutch, German and English. In some regions there are projects to make sure that the language is passed on to children and grandchildren so it will be maintained as a part of the culture.

 

„Germany and sea are somehow never connected in my mind“. I heard this sentence from a friend once when I told him about my home area. Actually this is very sad since the sea at the North coast is unique. On its ground you will not find sand; but Watt (a kind of mud). This can be admired twice a day, because we have the tides! Tides mean that the water is moving back and forth regularly, so that if you pick the right time of the day you can even hike from my hometown to the closest neighbour island (you should only do this with a professional guide though, since otherwise it can be very dangerous).

 

And the best part of it: There are seals which can easily be spotted when going on a boat tour. Sometimes little seals loose their mother in a storm and are crying for her (which is why they are also called “criers” in German). Then they are often found by humans and nurtured in a seal nurturing station until they are strong enough to survive on their own in the sea and are brought back there. The Wadden Sea is world natural heritage by the way!

 

By Natascha Jürgens (AEGEE-Passau)

 

Check out more photos beneath!


Bayrische Tracht: Wenn Kleidung Signale aussendet

+++ English version below +++

 

Die Bayern sind stolz auf ihre Traditionen und pflegen diese auch in der heutigen modernen Zeit. Ein unentbehrliches Symbol kultureller Identität ist im Freistaat die Tracht.

 

Traditionelle Bayrische Kleidung unterscheidet sich von Region zu Region. Sie ist immer ein kleines bisschen anders und die Erfahrung zeigt, dass sich die modernen Durchschnittsbayern selbst nicht sicher sind, welche als die Richtige gelten soll. Vereinfacht gesagt: Was unverändert bleibt sind die Lederhosen, Haferlschuhe und Trachtenhemd für Männer; Bluse, Dirndlkleid und Schürze für Frauen.

 

Heutzutage wird traditionelle bayerische Bekleidung meist zu besonderen Anlässen getragen, wie zum Beispiel Volksfesten. Offensichtlich darf die Tracht auf dem Oktoberfest auf keinen Fall fehlen. Aber auch an einem ganz normalen Tag wenn noch kein großes Volksfest bevorsteht bzw. längst vorbei ist, ist es völlig in Ordnung, ein paar Bayern in Lederhosen irgendwo Mitten in der Stadt zu begegnen. Es ist dermaßen üblich, dass die Tatsache nur noch Touristen ins Auge springt.

Trachtelemente sind hier überall: Traditionelle Bayrische Gaststätten wären ohne das Bedienungspersonal in Tracht kaum vorstellbar, die Restauranträume werden mit Trachtelementen dekoriert und viele Studierende besorgen sich ein Dirndl oder eine Lederhose, auch wenn sie nur für einige Jahre nach Bayern, also nur zum Studium kommen. Warum? Weil es sich hundertprozentig lohnt!

 

Neben der kulturellen Prägung spielt die Tracht auch bei einer anderen Sache eine bedeutende Rolle. Und zwar soll das Dirndl den Beziehungsstatus einer Frau verraten. Es ist nämlich unheimlich wichtig, an welcher Seite sich die Dirndlschürze bindet, denn das kann durchaus Folgen haben:  Je nachdem, wo sie gebunden wird, versteht der Man, womit er später rechnen kann, wenn er die Frau anspricht. Ist die Schleife rechts, so ist die Dame bereits vergeben, verlobt oder verheiratet wohingegen die Schleife an der linken Seite signalisiert, dass die Frau noch zu haben ist. Die Kommunikation, die auf diese Art während der Feste stattfindet ist einfach genial, denn die Männer brauchen sich nicht den Kopf zu zerbrechen und die Frauen können ggf. ihr Bier in Ruhe genießen. Dazu sollen sie natürlich wissen, wie sie die Schleife richtig binden müssen. Tipps dazu gibt es in diesem Artikel: http://www.bayerische-spezialitaeten.net/wiesn/dirndl-schleife-bedeutung.html

 

Die beliebte Tradition zeigt sich allerdings manchmal kontrovers. So äußern sich einige dafür, dass die Männer mit ihrer Tracht ebenfalls offenbaren sollten, wie es mit dem Beziehungsstatus bei ihnen aussieht. Und wer weiß, vielleicht wird es eines Tages tatsächlich zustande kommen.

Mehr Informationen unter: https://www.focus.de/regional/muenchen/oktoberfest/oktoberfest-2016-mitte-links-oder-rechts-her-mit-der-dirndl-schleife-fuer-die-maennerwelt_id_6017926.html

 

von Tonya Stupakova (AEGEE-Passau)

 

Bavarian Costumes: When clothes send signals

+++ English version +++

 

Bavarians are very proud of their traditions and practice them even up to today. A very well known, unique and essential symbol of cultural identity in the Free State of Bavaria are Bavarian costumes, the so called Tracht.

 

Interestingly traditional Bavarian clothing differs in various regions (or even villages) of the Free State. The differences lie within the details and most of the modern average Bavarian is often confused about the variety to choose from. Put bluntly: for men the only that did not change are the leather trousers (Lederhosen), traditional shoes (Haferlschuhe) and the traditional shirt (Trachtenhemd); whereas women wear a fitting blouse (Bluse), a traditional dress (Dirndlkleid) and an apron (Schürze) over the skirt.

 

Nowadays people put on their Bavarian clothing mostly for special occasions throughout the year, such as a Volksfest (folk festival). Obviously wearing Tracht is a must-do when visiting the Oktoberfest in Munich. However do not be surprised when meeting Bavarians dressed up in their traditional clothing in daily life. It is quite common to wear the outfit even without any special occasion.

 

Moreover are the traditions always present in the day to day life: for example traditional Bavarian inns or pubs (Gasthäuser) cannot be imagined without the waitresses and waiters wearing a Tracht, the dining rooms are usually decorated with traditional accessories, symbols and details.

 

Another interesting fact is that even many students coming to Bavaria only for their studies, hence staying there a limited time, buy themselves a Tracht during their studies. Why is that? Because it is a 100% worth it!

 

Along with its cultural factor the Tracht also plays another important role. It is a sort of indicator for the relationship status of a woman. Hence it is very important on which side the apron is laced. Lacing the apron on the right hand side means that the woman is in a relationship, engaged or married. Lacing it however on the left hand side signals that the woman is single. This creates a unique way of communication. When approaching a woman wearing an apron one knows what to expect. Plus women can enjoy their beer calmly and avoid maybe annoying conversations. For this of course women need to know how to lace their apron correctly. Tips on how to lace your apron and where to lace it can be found here: http://www.bayerische-spezialitaeten.net/wiesn/dirndl-schleife-bedeutung.html

 

However this tradition is recently debated controversy. Some people pledge for men to also indicate their relationship status with their clothing. It is an ongoing debate, who knows maybe it will be established sooner or later. An article on the matter can be found here: https://www.focus.de/regional/muenchen/oktoberfest/oktoberfest-2016-mitte-links-oder-rechts-her-mit-der-dirndl-schleife-fuer-die-maennerwelt_id_6017926.html

 

by Tonya Stupakova (AEGEE-Passau)

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Translated by Jasmin Kaiser & Timo Schaper (European Citizenship Working Group)



The information and views set out in these posts are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of AEGEE-Europe or ESACH. They may portray a particular experience of the individuals writing the posts and are meant to show the variety of views.