Mystery Places: The Waldenburg-Remse Canal and Bridges


This mystery article takes us back to western Saxony and a village northeast of Glauchau called Waldenburg. With a population of close to 5,000 inhabitants, the town is located on the western bank of the Zwickauer Mulde, has a beautiful castle and historic city center, as well as an international European School. A link to the city’s homepage will show you what the town looks like and some of the things you can do there.

Aside from a 1940s style bridge that is the primary crossing in Waldenburg, the mystery lies behind a canal located between Waldenburg and a neighboring village Remse. There, two bridges- an arch bridge and a steel pony through girder bridge span this canal, which appears to be at least 60 years old, if not, older. The canal was built along the right-hand side of the Mulde, and it is unknown what its use was. One can make one of two conclusions:


  1. The canal was built as a diversion canal, similar to the one built in Glauchau that encircled the western part of the city to alleviate the flooding. There, Heinrich Carl Hedrich had already established himself as the inventor of the city drainage system and may have been involved in the designing and construction of the Flutgraben. He had been the city engineer prior to the flooding of 1858 which caused considerable damage to Glauchau and all places to the northeast, including Waldenburg. It is possible that the canal at Waldenburg dates back to the timespan between 1860 and 1900, the time when Glauchau’s diversion canal was being built. As low as the two crossings were, it would be the most logical conclusion as it passage underneath was (and is still is) next to impossible. Yet having a concrete tiling at the bottom of the canal, plus the proximity of the canal to Waldenburg and the palace could lead to conclusion number…..


  1. The canal provided passage for boats between Remse and Waldenburg. The Mulde is notorious for being shallow but also very muddy, thus making transportation almost impossible. Even water was transported over the river via pipes, thanks to the Röhrensteg in Zwickau, located south of Glauchau and Waldenburg. Therefore diversion canals were the easiest way to go for transporting boats between Glauchau and Waldenburg, having been built in places where the river made boat passage impossible. If this theory is true, then the bridges that exist today were built many years later, between the 1930s and 1950s, when boat traffic ceased because of the coming of the automobile, combined with World War II and its after-effects. However……


  1. The canal may have been used for transporting drinking water between Glauchau and Waldenburg. The evidence behind this lies with the aquifers that exist at the dam where the canal starts in Remse combined with the water treatment station located west of Waldenburg, where highways 180 and 175 meet. As dirty as the river was (and still is to a degree today), the filtering complex was built in 1899 by the city of Meerane (west of Glauchau but owns Remse) where the dirt and other debris were filtered out and the water was cleaned of all harmful bacteria.


To sum up, the canal with the two bridges may have been used as a diversion canal, like the one in Glauchau, for boat passage between Glauchau and Waldenburg or for allowing the flow of drinking water to Waldenburg. The question is which one was used for what. When that is answered, then the question is who was behind both the canal and the two bridges and why?


You have the answers? You know what to do. For reference purposes, check out the Bridges of Glauchau and Zwickau (links highlighted) where you can read more about the Mulde and how it was tamed by crossings that transported water and diversion canals that protected at least Glauchau from further flooding.

Note: This is both a mystery bridge as well as a mystery infrastructure, hence its post in sister column, The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles.

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Germany Quiz Nr. 7: What you need to know about Saxony-Anhalt


Saxony-Anhalt-the state with two faces, but loaded with some interesting facts and friendly faces. With a population of 2.37 million inhabitants and a land area of 20,452 squared kilometers it is the most sparsely populated region in Germany and one of the most sparsely populated areas in Europe, with over 70% of the people living in cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, including Dessau-Rosslau, Weissenfels, Halle(Saale) and its capital, Magdeburg. The rural areas, once laden with industry from the days of East Germany, are now places dominated by nature and agriculture. Yet despite this, Saxony-Anhalt has some jewels that are worth mentioning. Cities and towns pride themselves on their history and heritage; despite being landlocked by four states, the landscapes vary between hills and mountains in the western half and plains in the northern and eastern areas, thus encouraging tourism in the region. And thanks to the new ICE line through Halle (Saale), train connections are enabling the establishment of new commerce and business partnerships with nearby cities, such as Leipzig, Hanover, Jena, Erfurt and even Berlin, thus helping keep much of the population from emigrating to the western and southern parts of Germany and beyond.

But what do we know about Saxony-Anhalt in reality? This is where the seventh quiz on the Germany series on this state comes into play. Like in the first six, the object is to test yourself on the knowledge of the state, with the answer key to come before the end of June. Both of which will appear in the Files under the page Interesting Facts about Germany. 

So quiz yourselves and knock yourselves out with these Guessing Quiz questions about Saxony Anhalt 🙂  :

  1. Which of the four states does Saxony-Anhalt border?

a. Thuringia   b. Brandenburg   c. Lower Saxony   d. Saxony   e. all of them


2. List the following cities in Saxony-Anhalt in order of population, beginning with the largest:

Quedlinburg     Zeitz     Halle(Saale)   Halberstadt   Naumburg (Saale)   Weissenfels    Magdeburg    Lutherstadt- Wittenberge   Dessau-Rosslau   Bernburg   Merseburg       Sangerhausen


3. Match the following photos with the cities listed in Nr. 2. (Hint: Two of these belong to one city.)


The cathedral churches and the statue of George Friedrich Handel at Halle (Saale)'s city center. Photo taken in 2012





4. True or False: No police commissioners from the German mystery series Tatort has ever covered Saxony-Anhalt.


5. True or False (2 answers): The slogan for Saxony-Anhalt is Frühaufsteher, which stands for people going to work early in the morning (_____).  The people who do that (mainly farmers) are proud of that heritage (_______). 

6. True or False (3 answers) Martin Luther, the Protestant who presented the 95 Thesis harshly criticizing the Catholic Church, was born in and died in the same city (_______). His wife Katherina von Bora was not from Saxony-Anhalt originally (_______). She crafted the first champaign for him as a refresher for the brain (________).

7. Walter Gropius is famous for this (choose one):

_The founding of Bauhaus Dessau-Rosslau

_The creation of Worlitz Park near Dessau-Rosslau

_ The Nebra Arch

_The creation of the East German Museum in Bernburg


8. Which of the following concertos was written by George Friedrich Handel, a composer originating from Saxony-Anhalt in the city of (____________)?


9. True or False: Johann Sebastian Bach originated from Magdeburg.


10. True or False: The late Hans Diedrich Genscher, one of the founding fathers of the Free Democratic Party of Germany originated from Halle (Saale).


11. True or False: Sven Köhler, one of the longest tenured soccer head coaches from Halle FC, grew up in and played for the team in Halle.


12. True or False: Halle FC and FC Magdeburg are the only two teams in Saxony Anhalt which marched through the regional soccer league in one season enroute to the national stage (counting the 3rd tier of the German Bundesliga).


13. True or False: The handball teams of SC Magdeburg (men) and the Halle Lions (women) compete in the premere league.


14. Which of the following beers originate from Saxony-Anhalt?

Porter              Hasseröder                 Gessener                     St. Moritz                   Glauchauer


15. Which of the following specialties are NOT considered a pastry?

Bienenstich                Nähstänge                  Garley             Baumkuchen            Streuselkuchen


16. True or False: The Nähstänge is a pastry that originate from  Tangermünde.

17. What constitutes a typical Bauernfrühstück in Saxony-Anhalt?

18. The Weinmeile is an annual event that takes place in ___________________________, (region or city will suffice)  famous for the production of ________________ and ___________________ (pick two from the selection below)

champaign           brandy            wine                sherry             sect                 champaign            beer


19. What is a Feuerstein from Schierke?

20. If legend is true (and it still is), salt is the most priceless commodity that exist in Saxony-Anhalt. Which areas can you find salt production?


21. Salt is used for what purposes?


22. Which of the cities in Saxony-Anhalt does NOT have a castle?

Halle (Saale), Naumburg (Saale), Magdeburg, Sangerhausen, Quedlinburg, Dessau-Rosslau, Tangermünde


23. Which of the following cities have a cathedral?

Naumburg (Saale),  Magdeburg,  Halle (Saale), Havelberg, Lutherstadt Wittenberge, Arendsee


24. How many churches and “klosters” does Magdeburg have?


25.  How many bridges do the following cities have? Name two of them per city you know.

Magdeburg: ________

Halle (Saale): _______

Quedlinburg: _________

Zeitz: __________

Merseburg: __________


26. Match the pictures of the bridges with that of the locations below.  Name the bridge if you know it.

Halle (Saale)    Magdeburg    Zeitz    Bad Kösen    Saale-Unstrut Region    Merseburg   Quedlinburg    Tangermünde    Köthen



The Answer Key to this Quiz you will find here.



Germany Quiz Nr. 5: The Answers to the Questions on Mecklenburg Pommerania

The Baltic Sea Coast at Zinnowitz at sundown. Photo taken in 2011
The Baltic Sea Coast at Zinnowitz at sundown. Photo taken in 2011

And now the answers to the Germany Quiz on Mecklenburg-Pommerania. There are many reasons why the state is so special to Germans. It is the state where many people growing up before and after 1990 went to for their vacation, both while growing up as well as while having families. For many foreigners and expatriates, it is a jewel where nature and history go hand in hand. Much of the state was not affected by World War II and the bombings that devastated much of Germany. And lastly, as you will see in the answer sheet to this quiz, there are many places to visit if you have not been there yet.  So without further ado, lets look at the reasons why we should visit the northeastern most state in the Bundesrepublik, shall we?


MV Cities

1. What is the capital of Mecklenburg-Pommerania?      ANS: Schwerin

2. What is the largest city in Meck-Pomm?       ANS: Rostock

3. Which of the places in the matrix are islands?     ANS: Usedom and Rügen

4. Which of the places in the matrix is a lake?  ANS: Müritz

5. Name two cities whose respective universities are among the oldest in Europe.   ANS: Rostock and Greifswald   FAQ: The University of Rostock was founded in 1419, while the university in Greifswald was established 37 years later. 

5a. Which other cities have colleges?   ANS: Güstrow, Schwerin, Stralsund, Neubrandenburg and Wismar

6. Prior to 1945, Pommerania was considered one of the states belonging to first the Prussian kingdom and later the German Empire. The eastern half was given to Poland through the usage of the Oder-Neisse border implemented by the Soviets in 1946 and respected by Helmut Kohl in 1990 at the time of German Reunification. There are six former German cities that belong to the Polish part of  Pommerania. Which ones are they?

ANS: Stettin, Swinemünde, Pyritz, Bütow, Rummelsberg and Greifenberg

7. Which town (mythical, according to sources) sank to the bottom of the Baltic Sea because of a major tide?

ANS: Vineta  (Note: A separate article is in the works…..)

8. The Störtebeker Festival, the largest and most popular open-air action festival in Germany, can be found on which island?

ANS: Rügen

9. The Ozeanum, a large maritime museum that also engages in marine reasearch, can be found in this city?

ANS: Stralsund

10. A museum, devoted to the works of Caspar David Friedrich, can be found in which city?  

ANS: Greifswald

11. Which two  towns on Usedom Island are known for its mass tourism? Hint: One are located close to the Polish border.

ANS: Ahlbeck and Heringsdorf. Ahlbeck is at the Polish Border and is known for its border shops. Wild card is Trassenheide, but it is located on the western end of the island. 

12. The _______________, Germany’s lone narrow-gauge railroad, can be found on this island?

ANS1: Rasender Roland   ANS2: Rügen

13. Which two places in Meck-Pomm can you experience the Slavic way of life? (Note: The Slavic tribes settled in the eastern part of Germany between the 9th and 12th Centuries before being driven away by Germanic tribes).

ANS: Arkona and Neustrelitz

14. Mecklenburg Pommerania is the only state in Germany (and one of only a handful of states left in the world) that has all three types of movable bridges left standing (Swing Bridge, Vertical Lift, and Bascule). Where are they located? (Hint: please click on the highlighted links to know more about what they are and what they look like)


The Peenebrücke in Wolgast, built in 2000 and nicknamed the Blue Wonder, is a single leaf bascule bridge that serves rail and road traffic between the main land and the island of Usedom. It replaced a draw bridge that was destroyed in World War II.

The Hubbrücke at Karnin was built in 1908 and featured a vertical lift main span and several through truss spans. The bridge was substantially damaged in World War II resulting in all but the vertical lift span to be removed by the 1960s. That remaining span still exists today and is considered a historic monument. Plans are in the making to revive the rail line which also goes to Usedom from Ducherow. This includes either restoring or replacing the bridge.

The Hubbrücke at Plaue is another vertical lift bridge that is in service. Built in 1916, this bridge, which features a deck plate girder span, can rise to 1.86 meters above the street, making it the highest functioning vertical lift bridge in the state. Prior to its construction in 1916, a double leaf bascule bridge once existed.

The Wieck Bridge in Greifswald, built in 1887, is one of the oldest functioning double leaf bascule bridges in Germany and the oldest in Mecklenburg Pommerania

Meiningen Swing Bridge, built in 1912, is located in Bresewitz. It is the lone functioning swing bridge in the state and features several Warren pony truss approach spans, a polygonal Warren through truss span and a swing span resembling a cantilever Warren through truss span.

15. Which town in Meck-Pomm once had the longest multiple span bridge in Germany, with 20+ spans? (Today, only eight of these spans exist along the River Elbe)

ANS: Dömitz.  The Dömitz Bridge spanned the Elbe River and was once owned by the German Railways. Five of the spans were either damaged or destroyed in World War II.  During the Cold War, in an attempt to halt any attempts of escaping to the west, the East German government tore down their half of the remaining spans leaving the western half under jurisdiction of Lower Saxony, which preserved it as a historical monument. The remains of the bridge is now privately owned. 

16. One of the major attractions that is a must-see is one of the largest submarines ever built in Germany. This exhibit and museum is located in this city?

ANS: Sassnitz

17. The Mecklenburg Festival, which is devoted to classic music, can be found in this city?

ANS: Schwerin (as its main location), yet other concerts take place in churches and castles throughout the state.

18. The Swedish Festival, which commemorates the conquest of the Swedes in the 1700s, can be found in which city?

ANS: Wismar.  

FAQ: The city was taken by the Swedish kingdom twice: 1632 and held until 1648 and through the war with the Danish Kingdom in 1712. The kingdom held control of the city until 1903, when it was returned to the German empire. 

19.  The widest beach in Germany (measured as 3 km from the sea to land) can be found in the area of this city? Hint: You can see the teapot lighthouse as well as one of the oldest active lighthouses along the Baltic Sea in Germany.

ANS: Rostock- specifically in Warnemünde.

20. You can enjoy a fish sandwich and cheer for your favorite soccer Bundesliga team in this city?  (Also identify name of the soccer team).  ANS: Rostock and the team: FC Hansa Rostock



1. How many castles does Mecklenburg-Pommerania have? Can you name at least three of them? 

ANS: You won’t believe this but: nearly 2000 castles, palaces and manors exist in the state. There are too many to name, but one can find palaces in Rostock, Wismar, Schwerin, Greifswald, Neustrelitz, Neubrandenburg and the Island of Rügen

2. Schwerin is located in the area known as the Seven Seas. True or False?

ANS: True. Seven lakes can be found in and around Schwerin, three of which surround Schwerin Castle, a popular tourist attraction and the place where the state government carries out their daily duties.

3. Which cities in Meck-Pomm have zoos and other animal parks and can you name at least one of them?

ANS: There are plenty of possibilities to visit the animals at zoos in Stralsund (3x), Schwerin, Neustrelitz, Rostock and Wismar.

4. Rote Grütze is the German version of Jello and is the main desert in Meck-Pomm. True or False?  

ANS: False.

FAQ:Jello is an American form of gelatin that is wobbly when made. You don’t find that in Rote Grütze as it features fruit pudding (that is NOT wobbly) coated in vanilla creme. 

5. The main delicacy in Meck-Pomm is fish.  True or False?   ANS: If someone says FALSE, then he doesn’t know the state. 😉   FISH is the flagship of the state’s delicacy- regardless of type and how they are fried, smoked, or cooked. Answer is TRUE!

6. The main fruit in the state, with which you can make juice or marmalade is….

a. Strawberry    b. Sandorn      c. Peach       d. Wildberries       e. Gooseberry      

CAN YOU SPEAK PLATTDEUTSCH?  Guess which word is Plattdeutsch, the local language of Meck-Pomm and other parts of northern Germany. An English equivalent is provided.   NOTE: Answers are in bold and italicized print

1. Frau (EN: Lady/Woman)

a. Fräulein            b. Fru                c. Frilein          d. Free

2. Zeit (EN: Time)

a. Tied                  b. tiid                c. tea               d. tut

3. Haus (EN: House)

a. Houd                b. Hiess          c. Huus              d. Hoose

4. Freund (-in) (EN: Partner)

a. Uhiesscher      b. Macker       c. Freon           d. Froin

To close things off with this quiz, I would like to finish the quiz with a song sung in low German (Plattdeutsch) entitled Mein Heimat. Sung near Warnemünde near Rostock, the a group of sailors provide you with an example of how Platdeutsch is spoken. You can find the lyrics here. Enjoy! 🙂

Blackheaded Seagull, typical bird to be found along the coast of Mecklenburg-Pommerania.
Blackheaded Seagull, typical bird to be found along the coast of Mecklenburg-Pommerania.

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In School in Germany: Teaching Infrastructure History in School


Article written for sister Column 

History- a subject that goes beyond borders and looks at things that we never knew about, getting us to think about them, putting them in the context of our own lives and the environment we are living in. It goes beyond the borders of geography and how the countries were developed. It goes beyond arena of sports events and looks at the development of each kind and how the men and women contributed to it. It digs deeper into how the country was mapped out in terms of landscape, networks of infrastructure and the social aspects which led to revolution and redesign by reformists and those who wanted to make their place better than before.  In other words, one has to dig deeper to find the truth and challenge what had been written in the past but was now rebuked because of new evidence.

In school, especially on the secondary level, history is a must, and it is important that students know about the history of their country and the rest of the world for two reasons:

1. To help them become acquainted with their own region and country and discover who they are and where they came from and

2. To encourage them to find out more about themselves and where they live, by looking and exploiting the aspects that are seldom mentioned.

As there are certain requirements written by law and because of certain time constraints, only a peck of the history that exists is even taught in the schools, and when it is taught, it is with the traditional social form of teaching: the book and frontal teaching (German: Frontal Unterricht). It is not surprising that the interest in history among youngsters up to 18 is near the bottom of the food chain, in both countries- more so in the US than in Germany because of the strive of educators to have the students achieve high results in the international tests for math, reading and sciences. But as we see in the PISA studies, and which will be discussed in the Files’ article about Frontal Teaching, sometimes student involvement and allowing them to discover something new can encourage a positive education result, even better than the recent studies.

But even with these constraints, the teacher can make some space for some new things that cannot be found in books themselves- at least not yet, that is. And when students are encouraged to do some work on their own, whether it is analysing a text and writing a review about it or presenting about it, then they will benefit from it in a way that they can add the knowledge to what was taught in the past and have fun doing it. This is where the topic of Industrialization and Infrastructure enters the picture.

During my internship at a Gymnasium in Germany, I had an opportunity to dig deeper into the history of the development of Germany in the 1800s by looking at aspects like the creation of democracy, Otto von Bismarck’s creation of the German state in 1871 and how Germany became a super power and remained so until the end of World War I. At the present time the students are talking about Germany, Europe and the age of industrialization between 1871 and 1914, where several aspects, such as imperialism, socialism, worker’s union and environment are being introduced. Even the expansion of the transportation infrastructure and the landscape made of steel will be mentioned. Believe it or not, this is the topic the author of the Chronicles and Files is about to do.

Talking about the infrastructure and comparing it between Germany and the US does produce their similarities in terms of inventions and the development of materials for the construction of buildings, railroads and bridges, yet how does a teacher present these aspects to the students without boring them.  Let’s look at the topic of bridges, for example. There are two different arguments for and against presenting this topic. The contra part would be the simple fact that a bridge is a bridge, crossing a ravine connecting point A and point B. If it fails or is too old, then it is replaced. The pro part to this topic feature the arguments about unique bridge designs, bridge builders that were common, including those who immigrated to the States from Germany, like Ralph Mojeski, Lawrence Johnson, Albert Fink, and Gustav Lindenthal, to name a few. Then there is the switch from iron to steel mainly because of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and lastly the consolidation of 28 bridge builders into the American Bridge Company in 1901 and its competition from other bridge builders in the west, as well as outside the country.

Nathan Holth once presented this topic as a whole during his time as a student teacher (his PPT presentation can be seen here). Some of the unique features, include the builder’s plaque, portal bracing of the truss bridge and ornamental features can enable historians to determine how the development of bridges came about in the US between 1871 and 1914. As I will be the second pontist to present this in a couple weeks time, the topic will be on a wider scale as Germany and US have some similarities with regard to bridge construction. The difference is with regards to the fact that the German concentration seems to be more on canals and railways than with highways, like in the US. Also the full establishment of steel companies, like Thuyssen-Krupp before 1871 enabled Germany to expand the steel-building landscape, constructing bridges and high-rise buildings in large cities, like Berlin and Hamburg, in addition to its fleet of ships.

The question is if one wants to present bridge building in connection with the industrialization- be it in the US, Germany, Europe or when comparing between two countries, what aspects are important and should be presented to the students, keeping in mind that the topic is industrialization, and the time frame is betweenthe 1870s and 1914, the time of World War I?  Which aspects should the students research on in their own spare time? And lastly how should it be taught in high school in comparison to college?

Put your comments here or on the Files’ or Chronicles’ facebook pages as to how you would approach an exotic topic like this, while keeping the topic of Industrialization in mind.  The results of the session, which will be in a couple weeks, will be presented in the Files and sister column the Chronicles.