Blizzard Buries Flensburg and northern Germany


The Day After Tomorrow: The Roter Strasse near Nordertor after the Blizzard. Photo taken by Yasin Keremoglu

Over 30 centimeters (One foot) snow brings city and region to a standstill turning it into Little Switzerland


FLENSBURG- For the children, it was like in Switzerland- a foot of snow that fell within 48 hours and the end result: instead of time in the classroom at school, it was time to build snowmen and go sledding. For the parents, it was a day off from work only to be spent digging out. For the grandparents, it was the reenactment of the Great Blizzard of 1978/79 that crippled the entire region while others were ringing in the New Year at Times Square in New York.

Over a foot (30 centimeters) of snow fell across much of the northern part of Germany on Thursday and Friday, featuring snow drifts as high as 2 meters, as well as blowing snow, high winds and extremely cold temperatures going as far down as -15°C!!! The hardest hit area was in and around Flensburg and the northern parts of the Frisia region, where the blizzard brought every form of life to a complete standstill. Train and bus services were shut down, thousands of people were stranded on the motorway and roads leading into and out of the region. Schools cancelled classes for the rest of the week and businesses closed down during that timespan as well. Basically everyone was snowed in and could not go anywhere unless they had sleds or could brave the cold on snowshoes.

To give you an idea how bad it was, here are a few photos and clips of the situation in Flensburg:

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The storm was in connection with an even larger system that brought over a foot of snow to Scandanavia and Britain, but also in southern European states. It also brought  extremely cold temperatures to large regions in central Europe including Germany, where regions in the Alps and Ore Mountain regions saw temperatures going no higher than -10°C during the day but dipping as far down as -30°C at night. According to the last report by Deutzsche Welle, 48 people had perished during that time as of 28 February.

The good news is this weekend, much of the system will disappear and much milder temperatures will melt most of the snow away. However it will not come without a price, as ice storms are expected for much of Germany, which will make digging out of the snow masses much more difficult. But come next week, spring will be at our doorsteps and families can plan for Easter, as it will come sooner than expected. 🙂




Flensburg Second


Since Donald Trump has taken office as President of the United States, he has been keeping his promise of ensuring that America goes first before all other countries, thus upsetting not only his counterparts in Europe and Asia, but also his fellow countrymen at home and even some members of his own party, many of whom have close ties with relatives and businesses abroad.  In either case “America First” has become the cliché that has become the norm in a globalized society.

It’s just so funny that other countries, regions and even cities have caught onto the trend and countered the President with their versions of being first.  Coined Being Second, organizers have put together a video, highlighting the best places the countries have to offer to the President, along with the attitudes and culture of people, showing him the dos and don’ts when visiting the country- if he visits a country before being removed from office by the latest, 2020. 😉  Besides Germany (see the video below), videos have been produced by the likes of Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, India, Kazahkstan and Luxembourg. Even the region of Frisia has a video of its own!

But can you imagine a city taking up the task of challenging Trump? The city of Flensburg did just that. A group of residents decided to produce a video about the rum port prided with its history, culture and way of life that “might suit the president,” should he decide to travel to this small but lively town. Here is the official video:

Needless to say, the video has gone viral since its post onto youtube yesterday, thus breaking the ranks and becoming the first city to pride itsself as being the counterpart to this America First trend. 🙂

It makes a person also wonder if other states AND EVEN communities, both in Germany and Europe as well as in the States and elsewhere are willing to step up to challenge to say Community First and not America, or America First and Community Second. In Germany alone, there are enough examples to put together, whether they are states, like Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony, Thuringia, and North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria, Zugspitze and Baden-Wurttemberg have already released their bragging rights. 😉  Cities, like Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden and Hamburg can step up to the plate.

As big as the cities are, they are very diverse and have unique places to visit worth noting. Yet, as small as Flensburg is (it has 100,000 inhabitants minus the city’s neighbors and suburbs, any small community can do it. It’s just a matter of looking at the community’s identity, what it has to offer for places and cultural events and lastly, showing them what to do and not to do.  There are enough examples one can imagine filming, whether it is Fehmarn and its unique places, Halle and its association with Luther and Haydn, Bayreuth and its history with Richard Wagner, Erfurt and its charming historic buildings and its bratwurst. Anything is possible. Just let the imagination go wild. 🙂

And with that in mind, allow the author to end with a Denkfoto, allowing you to sit with a good local beverage in your hand while enjoying the view of Flensburg’s skyline from the now Heimathafen Restaurant at Hafenspitze. Enjoy and good luck with your film project! 😀  Looking forward to seeing more on this.

Remember: This challenge similar to what was presented is open for anyone wishing to beg to differ in Trump’s America First Comment.

Flensburg Sunset

FF new logo1

Year of the Beer Day 25: Jever Pilsener


Day 25 and we head north to the Frisan region of Lower Saxony and the town of Jever, home of this beer. While the brewery, founded by Diedrich König in 1848, is one of many in the region, it did accomplish many feats for a brewery in the northern half of Germany. König found something special about the Jever beer and established his family business and marketed the beer in the region, before he died in 1867. His son Theodor Fetköter took over and converted the family-business into a large brewery, where he was innovative in his craftery. The brewery build a water supply system providing quality water for brewing. Furthermore, he developed special bottles, like this one, to fill with pilseners. And lastly, he spearheaded efforts to advertise the beer, making Jever one of the first beers to do that.  After World War I, the brewery was sold to the St. Pauli-Bavaria Brewing company based in Hamburg, which later allowed the brewery to sell beer under the name, Jever Pilsener. That beer has become very popular in the supermarkets and can still be found today. The brewery itself still operates in Jever but under the umbrella of the Radeberger Group.

I was told that the beer was really good and a great example of a northern pilsener. Therefore, I decided to give it a try. The beer’s appearance was impressive with a clear gold color and a near persistant head. It’s carbination was lively. The aroma was really strong, one of the strongest I’ve seen in a beer so far, with a smell of grain and nut malt as well as herbal malt. While the balance is towards the sharp end, the impression was quite nice because the aroma was typical of a pilsener.

As far as flavor is concerned, this was typical of a northern pilsener with grain malt, earth and herbal hops and some citrus. While the balance was bitter and the intensity of the flavor was strong, the lemony flavor made the pils taste rather nice. Yet if one has not tried a German pilsener and tries this beer, the first sensation can be a combination of bitter, sweet and sour at once, resulting in the taste being spicy and prickly. But it gets better after two or three more sips, and the beer will be one to use for consumption.

Grade: 1,7/ A-  The Jever pilsener is a classic example of a northern pilsener but brewed using innovative methods established by Theodor Fetköter. Because of the special characteristics of the pils, the Jever has continued to craft beer from the Frisan region, thus reinforcing the stereotype that having a local homebase from the beginning produces a good beer. It is not a local beer per se, as it can be found in Germany and other countries, but it is one beer that has a taste that is typical of the region. As northern pils require citrus to make the beer drinkable and not so hard and bitter because of the hard water, the Jever has a bit of a twist that makes it a herbal beer to drink. A pilsner with a twist always makes for a good drink. 🙂

FLFI 500 beer