Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft e.V.












Sailing on a Sunday Afternoon 2014


On Sunday, September 14, Till Klump, owner of Segelschule Schluchsee, member of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft, and former exchange student at Madison University, generously invited the students of the AYF 2014/2015 to a sailing trip on the lake up in the Schwarzwald mountains. This artificial reservoir even contains water from the river Rhine that is pumped up 600 meters producing electricity when flowing back.


Thank you so much Till for such a beautiful sailing experience on a Sunday afternoon.


A group photo before ...

...putting on the life jackets

Till Klump welcomes the students of the AYF 2014/2015 (©US)

Focussing the iPhone (©US)

Sailing away (©US)

Klar zur Wende! Knowledgeable hands at the Pinne and ree

Hey, we are faster (©US)

Ashore again (©US)








Historic Places in Freiburg 2014


As in previous years the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft offered two events for the newly arrived students of the Academic Year in Freiburg 2014/2015.  On September 10, at 10 a.m. a guided tour of Freiburg in English started at the Bertold Schwarz Fountain:



Explaining Freiburg's (empty) Bächle (©GvS)


In the late afternoon the tour was followed by the traditional



Reception at the Greiffeneggschlössle 2014


Slowly but surely the party got into higher gear (©HP)

In the absence of FMG's president Toni Schlegel vice president Frauke Feix welcomed the AYF-students
who in the beginning were looking rather seriously

When she charmingly invited the students to participate in FMG's activities some timid smiles appeared

In addition our local partner the Carl-Schurz-Haus advertised its program

Some of the guests have never left Freiburg others are back (©US)

The students had lots of fun too (©HP)

Beautiful sunshine at the terrasse of the Greiffeneggschlössle (©HP)

 In the background two long-term Freiburg building sites,
the Schwabentor and the steeple of the Münster church (©HP)

Ulli Struve, AYF's good spirit, enjoyed food, drink, and cheerful company (©HP).

Professor Helmut Puff, AYF's smiling resident director, in company with two attractive ladies from FMG's board








The Kastaniengarten Opened on January 7, 2014  !


What happens in Freiburg these days is well described by a spoofed text of one of those beautiful American ballads: It's spring in Freiburg, although chestnuts are not yet in blossom, Biergarten tables are served under those trees.


Yes, Toni opened his Kastaniengarten at the Greiffenegg and yesterday already people had their beers in the afternoon sun.


While Madisonians shiver at minus 26 C (- 15 F or 247 K) Freiburgers look for their t-shirts at an expected today's plus 19 C (66 F or 292 K). It's a strange new climate. Meteorologists say that the North Atlantic jet stream is oscillating.


For more details read the full story in German.


Enjoying the afternoon sun and beer at the Kastaniengarten (Both photos ©Badische Zeitung)




Yes, we remember it well


On January 29, 2014, Toni Schlegel invited the participants of the Freiburg visit to our sister city Madison in September 2013 to a post-meeting at the Greiffeneggschlössle. To refresh our memories Mr. Burger had made a movie, the Freiburg-Madisongesellschaft had prepared a slide show.



In watching Mr. Burger's excellent movie all our good memories came back


Some people were very amused






With a special guest from Madison the conversation was lively too

Others were still fascinated by the pictures shown








Distinguished Guests 2013


Yesterday night (December 17, 2013) the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft had two distinguished guests at the Greiffeneggschlössle to share with them the traditional German goose.


We had an excellent time with Luanne and Mike. Thank you both as representatives of the Sister City Committee for all the work you and the Committee put in to make our stay in Madison last September such a memorable one.


Some participants took photos with their Handys (sorry smartphones). So did I
reflected in the mirror in the photo above.








Traditional Christmas Dinner 2013

 at the Greiffenegg-Schlössle on December 4, 2013 at 7 p.m.




Rillettes von der Gans auf Bauernbrot Feldsalat mit geröstetem Speck und Kartoffeldressing


 Consommé von der Gans mit Wurzelgemüse und Kerbelklösschen


 Knuspriger Gänsebraten mit Apfel-Rotkraut, Kartoffelknödel und glacierten Maronen


Topfentörtchen mit hausgemachten Rumtopffrüchten



Lively discussions with AYF students over a drink (©US)

Waiting for dinner with smiling students (©US)

Toni delivers his traditional speech ...

... with everybody attentively listening

Still waiting for the goose

Enter: The admired object of desire

We were singing our Christmas along with George

Did the photo come out alright? (©US)








FMG Hiking Tour on German Unity Day with the American Students 2013


We met on Lorettoberg, Waldparkplatz  Spemannplatz and everybody was in good spirits in the warming sun of the Altweibersommer

Ladies in red and green.

The group photo of three generations ready to start.


First photo stop at the Rehbrunnen (©US).

Beautiful views on the Dreiländerweg (©US)

Luisenhöhe (©US)

Waiting for the gemütliche Vesper (©US).

The other side of the student's table (©US)

Some ordered Weißwurst with Brezel and sweet mustard, it's Oktoberfest time (©US)

View on the Black Forest from Luisenhöhe (©US).

Group shot at the Walterspiel Denkmal.

The group photo after a long walk. Only the third generation ist still full of energy.








Reception for the Students of the AYF 2013/2014 at the Greiffeneggschlössle


Great admiration for Toni Schlegel, President of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft (FMG), who had only arrived three hour ago from his trip to Madison and yet was ready to receive the 2013/2014 AYF students at his Greiffeneggschlössle.


There was food, drinks, and already a festive mood when Toni welcomed the guests of the FMG.

In his welcome address Toni invited the students to attend the monthly Stammtische of the FMG.
Resident Director Senta Goertler likes the Currywurst served at the Greiffenegg.

Students and members of the FMG had good conversations in the relaxed atmosphere of the Greiffeneggschlössle.

This English speaking Gentleman made the American students familiar with the educational possibilities
at Freiburg's Carl-Schurz-Haus.

Everybody knows by now that Ulli likes Kässpätzle.



More Green Students 2013


Two years ago in June students from the University of Madison spent a month in Freiburg learning about Freiburg as a Green City. Yesterday on August 6, 2013, a new bunch lead by Ted Petith had to suffer from a historical Freiburg tour at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Following a well deserved break in a beer garden they had to leave soon for a lecture on green housing in the Vauban district taking, what else, the number 3 streetcar.








Take a look at the gallery with photos of the


25th anniversary of the partnership between the two cities in Freiburg 2013









Around Staufen 2013


Traditional 1st of May Hiking Tour with the FMG and the American Students


We met at the streetcar stop Paula-Modersohn-Platz (Eis-Café Limette) at 10.30 a.m. for car pooling and drove to Staufen where we arrived at the big city parking lot close to the Schladerer distillery around 11 a.m.


The students intitially a little shy stayed in the back

From there we started our hiking tour to Grunern.


First photo shooting at Grunern's wodden wine press dated 1578.

In Grunern our President had invited the hikers to a 1st of May get-together Gutedel (Chasselas wine) and
Hefezopf (challah) at the Bärenbad inn (©MB). The Hefezopf is already there, the glasses are still empty.

May in Grunern, chestnuts in blossom, AYF-students under the trees (Sorry Ella) are smiling,
only Red Baron is boozing (©GvS)

The name Bärenbad (Bears' Spa) dates back to the olden, golden days when people were not afraid of radioactivity.
Old-age men had bathtubs filled with Radon water and then soaked hoping to get rid of their articular gout.

We all were hungry and thirsty. Watch those greedy hands approaching from the left and the right


Passing through the vineyards in the direction of the Kastelberg on our way back we stopped for a bite at the Probst-Strauße Schleifsteinhof in Grunern around 1.30 p.m. and returned to Staufen.


Horses are irresistible (©MB)

After having walked for more than ten kilometers a final photo.
President Toni Schlegel had to support a tired student.
Note that the guy on his right had put his knee into a muddy meadow too.













Historic Places in Freiburg


The traditional guided tour for the American students of the Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF) 2012/2013 started at the Bertold Schwarz fountain at the Rathausplatz at 2 p.m. on 12 September. It ended with a visit of the Münster church.


Here are those students who followed the guided tour at the Münsterplatz careful not to step into the Bächle at their feet. On the left hand side the Resident Director for 2012/2013 Professor Sabine Gölz, University of Iowa.
This event was followed by a


Reception for the Students of the AYF 2012/2013 at the Greiffeneggschlössle


We had some showers in the late afternoon so exceptionally the reception did not place at the terrace but inside the Greiffeneggschlössle built by Hermann von Greiffenegg in 1805 as his old-age residence. Greiffenegg's son Hermann Gottlob von Greiffenegg lived in the Schlössle until 1833. The building was later used as a restaurant.


The photos show the students in high spirits at the reception but the limitations of digital photography as ẃell.
When it is too dark pictures are blurred and lack definition (above). If you use the flash (necessary in the photo below because of backlight) pictures becomes shallow with litte contrast.

President of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft and owner of the Schlössle Toni Schlegel welcomes the students of the AYF 2012/2013. Two known ladies of the FGM-Committee Frauke Feix and Dr. Renate Schulz-Weiling give him admiring glances.

Toni's speech was not all that serious for the next photo again shows a smiling crowd and the sun that had come out stressing the sensor of the digital camera.









Nikolausabend 2012






This year MFG's traditional Christmas Dinner fell on Saint Nicholas Eve (December 5) where traditionally Sankt Nikolaus in company of Knecht Ruprecht hands out Apples (sorry apples), nuts, and sweets to children who had behaved well throughout the previous year.


You may read more about this German tradition on Wikipedia for our man of the evening was George von Savigny who had taken along one of his more than hundred guitars. Before he struck-up he told us not to confuse Santa Claus mit dem deutschen heiligen Nikolaus.


 After having well received this lesson we were invited to sing along. With the help of texts George had graciously prepared we sang both traditional American and German Christmas songs. George finished his presentation by getting his kicks on Route 66. The photos were taken by Friederike Schulte (©FS), Director of Freiburg's Carl-Schurz-Haus and me with our iPhones


FMG's president Toni Schlegel giving his dinner speech (©FS)

Friederike and AYF's Ulli Struve in high spirits

AYF's students and more (©FS)








Freiburg's Carl-Schurz-Haus turned 60 in 2012


The anniversary celebration with invited guests took place in the Assembly Hall of the University of Freiburg on Thursday, October 18, 2012, at 7 p.m.


The Dean the University of Freiburg His Magnificence Professor Dr. Jochen Schiewer welcomed the guests at his premises and underlined the many existing links between Freiburg’s university and universities in the States.

State Minister for Cultural Affairs Silke Krebs transmitted the congratulations of Baden-Württemberg’s government.

US Consul General Kevin C. Milas emphasized the good relations between Germany and the United States nourished by the devoted work of the Carl-Schurz-Haus.


Freiburg’s Lord Mayor Dr. Dieter Salomon had the audience share some of his personal recollections with the US
like how he and most Germans had reacted to the 9/11 horror with deep sympathy for the American people.

The Director of the Carl-Schurz Haus Friederike Schulte gave an overview of 60 years of history of the institute emphasizing the many ups and a few downs over the years

In his lecture Perspectives of Transatlantic Relations former German ambassador to the US
Dr. Klaus E. Scharioth underlined the common values both the US and Germany cherish like democracy and freedom but that there are still misunderstandings born out of differences in our history mentioning the different attitudes and approaches to the problems of environment and inflation.


The anniversary celebration was followed by a reception where many old friends met and exchanged good memories.








Hiking Tour on German Unity Day around the Schönberg
with the FMG and the American Students 2012


Starting in Vauban we walked through the vineyards to Ebringen continuing to the “Schönberger Hof” where we had lunch.  George von Savigny took the following photos.


Arrival at the Gasthaus zum Schönberger Hof (©GvS)

The Wiener Schnitzels are already served but where are the French fries?(©GvS)

Too much potatoes? No there are even more pommes frites (©GvS)

Group shot in the Schneeburg ruins (©GvS)




4th of July Party 2012


 Let’s meet at the Ganter Brauerei-Biergarten on Saturday, July 7, for our yearly 4th of July Party! For this year’s celebration of the 236th Independence Day we will come together with friends from around the globe. Our guest of honor Consul Jeffrey Hill, the new head of the cultural department of the US-Consulate in Frankfurt, will welcome all participants at 5 p.m. Let’s fire up the grill, have some drinks and enjoy live music with the “Tootles” and other special guests of the Zeltmusikfestival. There will be activities for kids and adults alike and the Cha Cha Slide will get everyone groovin’!


The head of the cultural departement of the US-Consulate in Frankfurt addressing the crowd assembled under parasols because mother sun was too generous

The director of the Carl-Schurz-Haus Friederike Schulte introducing the program

The head of the US cultural department, FMG's president Toni Schlegel, and AFS's Resident Director
Professor Puff enjoy the party. In the background on the left there are more members of the FMG.








Traditional Hiking Tour with the FMG, the Circle of Business Juniors
 and the Students from Madison in 2012


This year's traditionally hiking tour through the vineyards on May 1, 2012, started at 11 a.m. at Oberrottweil in the Kaiserstuhl. We went up to the Mondhalde from where we had a fantastic view over the Rhine valley into neighbouring France. Later we were due at Trautwein's for food and drink.


Our group all prepared for a good start

This is how the participants experienced the photo shooting  (©GvS)

As usual our guide Walter Kolb gave some explanation about the countryside
with Professor Puff listening and some of the students only partly interested.

Cockchafers are enjoying the young leafs  (©GvS)

The amazing view into the Rhine valley. In the back the blue Vosges de la douce France  (©GvS)

While at this student table it was all smiles they seem to talk serious business at the president's table in the back








AYF's Golden Jubilee in 2011


Today December 9, 2011, the Badische Zeitung eventually published an article about AYF's Golden Jubilee. Here is a photo taken by the BZ showing this year's students digging into the Thanksgiving Dinner food.




Academic Year in Freiburg turns 50 is the title of their flyer shown below. So old already? The AYF will never be old rejuvenated every year with a new bunch of fresh students mostly coming from Madison. We of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft remain young with those American guys and girls always in high spirits and full of energy (for their activities organized by the FMG see below). A reception will be given at Freiburg's University on 9 November. Another historic event on this particular day in November?



 Here are two new pictures:

Following the official part: FMG's Walter Kolb, Toni Schlegel and Frauke Feix are enjoying a glass at the reception.








Hiking Tour on German Unity Day (October 3, 2011) with Walter Kolb, the FMG,
and the American Students to the Rappenecker Hütte in the Black Forest


This year quite a number of AYF-students participated in the hiking tour on German Unity Day.
The path behind going up leads to the Rappenecker Hütte on the other side of the mountain.

Walter Kolb talking to a skeptical crowd of students in front of our starting place
the Leopoldstollen (Leopold's mine) pointing to the remaining silver in the ground.

FMG President Toni Schlegel and committee member Dr. Renate Schulz-Weiling enjoying the
Altweibersommer (Indian summer)

Following the meal at the Rappenecker Hütte Walter Kolb recited among other poems a jeer written in
September 2008 at a time when the financial crises had peeked. The author is Richard Kerschhofer, an Austrian.

For those who read German: Nothing has changed since then.



Wenn die Börsenkurse fallen,
regt sich Kummer fast bei allen,
aber manche blühen auf:
Ihr Rezept heißt Leerverkauf.
Keck verhökern diese Knaben
Dinge, die sie gar nicht haben,
treten selbst den Absturz los,
den sie brauchen - echt famos!
Leichter noch bei solchen Taten
tun sie sich mit Derivaten:
Wenn Papier den Wert frisiert,
wird die Wirkung potenziert.

Wenn in Folge Banken krachen,
haben Sparer nichts zu lachen,
und die Hypothek aufs Haus
heißt, Bewohner müssen raus.
Trifft's hingegen große Banken,
kommt die ganze Welt ins Wanken
 - auch die Spekulantenbrut
zittert jetzt um Hab und Gut!


Soll man das System gefährden?
Da muss eingeschritten werden:
Der Gewinn, der bleibt privat,
die Verluste kauft der Staat.
 Dazu braucht der Staat Kredite,
und das bringt erneut Profite,
hat man doch in jenem Land
die Regierung in der Hand.
Für die Zechen dieser Frechen
hat der Kleine Mann zu blechen
und - das ist das Feine ja
 - nicht nur in Amerika!
Und wenn Kurse wieder steigen,
fängt von vorne an der Reigen
- ist halt Umverteilung pur,
stets in eine Richtung nur.
Aber sollten sich die Massen
das mal nimmer bieten lassen,
ist der Ausweg längst bedacht:
Dann wird bisschen Krieg gemacht.

On our way back: Happy cows* pasturing in the beautiful Black Forest.

* in Madison too








Reception for the Students of the Academic Year in Freiburg 2011/2012
at the Greiffenegg-Schlössle


FMG President Toni Schlegel and Vicepresident Frauke Feix greet the students at the Greiffenegg Schlössle

Jokes in the welcome speech draw smiles on Professor Puff's and the students's faces

The AYF 2011/2012 students and Ulli Struve smiling. They are nearly missing the sunset over the Vosges in the back.

FMG's honorary member Mrs. Weber sitting together with Mrs. Herr

Toni Schlegel and Resident Director 2011/2012 Professor Puff are in high spirits








A Touch of Harvard


 In today’s Badische Zeitung I read that Freiburg’s University Albertina-Luduvica will collaborate with Ivy League Harvard University. Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and Freiburg’s Rektor Hans-Jochen Schiever signed an agreement for an Harvard Europe Program starting already in January 2012. Twenty US-students will cross the Atlantic with their professor for 6 months and explore how Europe comes to grips with the modern world. It sounds similar to the Freiburg-Madison student exchange program, however the agreement stipulates that during the period the teaching hole left in Harvard will be filled with a professor from Freiburg.


Did I anticipate all this when I visited Cambridge last February and took the photo of John Havard’s monument?



4th of July Party 2011


Yesterday, the 2nd of July, Freiburg's American community celebrated the 4th of July at the sunny Ganter beergarden. For a personal reflections on the change of dates you may like to read my Blog. The Carl-Schurz-Haus had arranged the party:


For this year’s celebration of the 235th Independence Day we will come together with friends from around the globe. Let’s fire up the grill, have some drinks, enjoy live music  with the “Tootles”, watch the US-women’s soccer team play Columbia in the World Championship, and discuss women’s sports with young people from here and elsewhere.


The beergarden sounded, looked, and smelled American. It was not only the language spoken but a small band of teenage kids swung jazzy sounds. Of those teenies the tiny tuba player seen on the photo below made the greatest impression when he took a riff on the American Jazz classic Melon Man. As far as the eyes are concerned the star spangled banner was seen and the place was decorated all in red, white, and blue. As for the smell we had spare ribs, hot dogs, and French fries only the beer was local German.


Topping all of it: the American female soccer team won their match against Columbia. Congratulations girls!











 6th International Meeting of Freiburg's Partner Cities in 2011, a post mortem


No, the Meeting of Freiburg's Partner Cities is not dead. It will continue, however not in 2012. The next edition is planned for 2013 coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Freiburg's partnership with Innsbruck, Austria. My personal speculation for not having the jamboree next year is possibly the overstretching of the city’s resources including its finances due to the Pope's visit in September this year.  


Yesterday Ariane Hoetzer, the city's charming ambassador for the relation with its sister cities, had called in the representatives of the relevant partner committees into the Rathaus for a post mortem. The general feeling was that this year’s meeting was an even better success than the one a year ago. I do not want to bore you with all the details brought up during the discussion but rather brief you on some of the highlights.


The serving of soups has turned out to be the greatest success and sparked ideas for an even greater serve next time. The more than 500 Euros earned went to the earthquake-tsunami victims in Japan. The artistic performances in the Festzelt (tent) drew big crowds whereas the presentations of Freiburg’s partner city committees lacked attendance. I suggested to sandwich the latter between two stage performances in the future such that the crowd will stay on to listen to the advertising.


My only critique concerned the attribution of space in general and for the Madison booth in particular. I requested more transparency in the future with respect to the allocation of tables.


One guy suggested mentioning Madison that national flags shouldn't be flown since only partner cities were at the exhibition. I retorted that he was completely mistaken for we hadn't hoisted the flag but rather used the star spangled banner as a decorative eye catcher and surely would like to continue such practice. The others of the participants fully supported my view when I added that we Germans out of bad historical experience shouldn't start a new quarreling about flags (Flaggenstreit).  


There was a general regret that a photo of all those who had served so devotedly during the three days hadn’t been taken. I consider the Freiburg-Madison staff to be well represented on this web page (see below) and would again like to express my personal thanks to all our friends from Madison and the students of the Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF) who came to help us during the International Meeting.



ALDI's 4th of July


It has become a tradition: in time for the 4th of July discounter ALDI sells American food products although mostly made in Germany. You wouldn't assume that chocolate and blueberry muffins, chocolate and walnut brownies, scones, blueberry and cranberry cookies, pre-prepared pancakes, bagels, barbecue and sandwich sauces, cucumber, roasted onions, spare ribs, hot dogs, ketchup, and mustard are flown in from the States? The permanently available ice cream is simply re-labeled with American symbols. On the other hand who knows how to make jelly beans and marshmallows ready for barbecuing here in Europe that are sold at ALDI's?


Anyway, we are all set to celebrate America's national holdiday decently. Here in Freiburg we have a party already on the 2nd of July although drinking local beer at the Ganter Biergarten instead of Budwiser.


A few American food products like popcorn and peanut butter (creamy or crunchy) ALDI sells throughout the year. Also Burlwood Californian wine for all tastes from white to red produced and bottled at E. & J. Gallo Winter's winery you'll find at ALDI's permanently:

 a 2010 Chardonnay, a 2010 Grenache rosé, and  a 2009 Zinfandel.


Do they really ship the labeled bottles from California to Germany for a selling price of just Euro 2.99? How many US cents does vintner Winter get for his product?



An Encounter of the Third Kind 2011


This is no news from Freiburg but from Murten, a most beautiful town in Switzerland located on a Lake with the same name and on the language barrier between the Swiss-German and the French speaking parts of the country. Frauke, her husband Günter and myself had just stepped off the bus for a visit of and a lunch break in Murten when suddenly we spotted some Swiss guy in a local outfit ready to do his yodeling.


Our hearts stood still, no this was no Swiss, it was our beloved friend Ken Schneider from Madison Wisconsin! Our meeting in the middle of Switzerland should have been impossible. Frauke, Günter and myself were on our way back from a visit to CERN, Geneva with Freiburg's Museumsgesellschaft and here is Ken with his bus on the same parking lot at the same time in Murten with his Yodel Club ready  to show the Swiss all the tricks of the trade. This is just too impossible to be a real encounter!



Sustained Students 2011


On 18 June the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft welcomed 10 of 17 students (some hadn't arrived yet) from the University of Madison who have come to Freiburg to live their "Green Summer" sustainable experience.  The students are companied by Professor Elisabeth Tyron. After a guided tour that concentrated on some of Freiburg's historical highlights the FMG invited them for "restauration" at Toni's place.


Beth's students enjoyed Wiener Schnitzel, Weißwurst and Ganter Pils

Unpolitely the photographer caught Professor Tyron in the act of eating Weißwurst, Bretzel and sweet mustard
while some students keep digging into their food and others smile








6th International Meeting of Freiburg's Partner Cities


The 6th International Meeting of Freiburg's Partner Cities took place at the Rathausplatz from May 26 to 28, 2011. This year we had the active participation of four Madisonians helping us to promote the friendship between our cities: Eric and Peter Lewandowski, Charles James and last not least Stephanie Ziebarth. In addition students from Madison  of the Academic Year 2010/2011 in Freiburg (AYF) supported our activities around the Madison booth:


Eric, Charles and Peter just arrived and unpacked their material for the booth

With George von Savigny and myself trying to help we eventually found ourselves overstaffed

Suddenly a well known face appeared. Mike von Schneidemesser on his bicycle trip through Germany had made a stoppover in Freiburg and met students Janelle and Sabine as well as FMG Committee member Georg von Savigny at the booth. ©Afislander

Justin, Mat and Eric.The AYF students and of course Eric were a great help

AYF Resident Director Jim Steakley was welcomed by his students Sabine and Kat with FMG Committee member Freddie Meier hiding behind a set of photos ©RT

Charles, Peter and Eric visit the photo exhibition illustrating the historical development of Freiburg's partner cities. Two wear the brand new polo shirt with the Freiburg-Madison logo

Wearing the "WIS 14 fighting" T-shirt, holding Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft (MFG) flyers in my hand and even sporting a "green" pencil I tried to convince a small audience in front of the tent to become members of our society. While Stephanie smiles at my efforts AYF student Steffi waves to the non existing crowd and Eric is looking skeptically. ©Afislander

Also Charles worked hard to convince the Freiburgers to join the FMG with Steffi and Eric admiring his charming allocution in a perfect German ©Afislander

Freiburg's Lord Mayor Dr. Dieter Salomon visiting the Madison booth. Standing with their backs to the camera FMG board members Frauke Feix and Georg von Savigny with AYF student Emily joining in the discussion ©CJ

Back at the booth: Stephanie, Peter and Barbara side by side. Peter uses his German on a potential FMG member holding already the FMG flyer in her hand while Charles takes a well deserved rest in the back








Traditional 1st of May Hiking Tour with Walter Kolb, the FMG,
the Circle of Business Juniors and the Students from Madison


Walking around the Schönberg 2011


11:30 a.m.: Our meeting place is the terminus of streetcar number 3 „Innsbruckerstraße“ in Vauban

Listening to our guide Walter Kolb and Dr. Hein - the man watching that Freiburg doesn't lose
its traditional charm - during a short stop at the Jesuitenschlössle

Old and young walk in the direction of the Schönberg with impressive views into the Rhine valley
 and on the Vosges.

The “Schönberger Hof” greets all the AYF student power for a small lunch in the beer garden
(around 12:30 p.m.).


In the afternoon we returned to the streetcar stop from where we started. The total walking distance was 7.5 km, the difference in height 150 m.








Will the Euro Survive?


The Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft started the annual program proper with their Stammtisch on February 2, 2011. Speaker of the evening was Walter Quatmann former SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) member. Since Walter had predicted as early as October 2007 the present financial crisis he has the reputation of a guru with the FMG.


Suddenly the persons assembled learned with sadness that just before his talk Walter had a serious circulatory collaps while dining with his wife at the Greiffeneggschlössle. The ambulance came and took him to the University Clinic. Later we were relieved when we learned that his condition was stable. Due to the intervention of three of his friends the evening was eventually saved, for Walter had left a script of his presentation that a native English speaker read to us.


The present problem with the common currency is essentially due to differences in the economic strength of the individual countries that before the introduction of the Euro would have been adjusted by a re-evaluation or devaluation of a national currency. Walter had listed the various scenarios for countries wanting to bail out of the Euro in order to re-introduce their national currency. This will not only be a costly but a dangerous operation too since no plan as clever as it may be conceived is safe against the intrusion of even more clever financial sharks standing by. In finding loopholes in the procedure they will not only enrich themselves but at the same time cause serious financial dislocations that could lead to a breakdown of the international banking system. As usual at the very end the taxpayer will be the looser. A lively discussion followed the reading of Walter's paper where we all identified ourselves as financial experts. Hadn't we only had Walter's expertise to bring us back on the track again! Finally we all wish that he at least will get back in his tracks very soon.










Wednesday evening the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft held its annual assembly. Mike von Schneidemesser was the guest of honor while our president Toni Schlegel reported about FMG's activities in 2010. I have tried to keep you abreast of the past highlights on this site. Here I shall rather inform you about our future plans as they are known today.


The monthly Stammtisch with a presentation relevant to German-American topics will as usual present the backbone of our activities. One yearly highlight as usual will be the Market of our Sister Cities taking place somewhat early on 26 to 28 May this year with Granada, Spain being the city of honor. As Mike told us: for the Madison booth we may look forward to some participation from the Sister City Committee. This year an exhibition of past and present maps and aerial views of Freiburg's sister cities will be presented as special feat for one week in the shopping mall Schwarzwald City.


Although there had been rumors that our Lord Mayor might visit Madison in 2011 we eventually got the message that he will not make the trip this year but possibly in 2013 honoring the 25th anniversary of our partnership. This year Dr. Salomon is probably already deeply involved in planning the Pope's visit to Freiburg in September.


One topic discussed at length is the exchange of high-school students between Freiburg and Madison. It seems that the interest in such exchanges is slackening possibly enhanced by rising administrative hurdles.



Sincere Felicitation for the New Year


Yesterday the Badische Zeitung published a somewhat incomplete article about Toni's Place, the Greiffeneggschlössle. However, the picture from 1897 falls nicely into place or rather time for the text message wishes the beholder "Sincere Felicitation for the New Year".



There are noteworthy differences compared to today's layout. Already in 1840 the Schlossberg was no longer a Quieti Sacrum (a quiet sanctuary) as Hermann von Greiffenegg in 1805 had named it but rather a frequented local recreation ground. Notice the band stand in form of a shell flanked by two towers in the background. Today the Greiffeneggschlössle instead sports a beergarden with the most attractive view in Germany although for being served we must wait until the first warm days in April.








The Long (established) Christmas Dinner


Forget Thornton Wilder rather concentrate on FMG's tradition. This year we exceptionally had snow on December 1, 2010, such that three persons booked couldn't make it to the Greiffenegg-Schlössle. Those present were spoiled as usual and particularly keen to taste the roasted goose since this year we had been deprived of turkey, the Thanksgiving Dinner organized by the Carl-Schurz-Haus not taking place.


When approaching the Schlossberg you pass Oberlinden. Note the linden tree decorated with Herrenhuth Stars.
In the back you sense the steeple of Freiburg's Münster Church

Taking the aperitif at the beautifully decorated Greiffenegg-Schlössle: Mrs. Herr, Professor Peter Günter,
our Renommier-Student Mat Frey and FRG's honorary member Charlotte Weber

President Toni Schlegel delivering his witty speech.

The other side of the table. Didn't they get the joke?

Same procedure as last year: Mrs. Biehre presents the object of desire. If you want to compare click here. And don't forget the rest:

Terrine of Guinea Fowl with Mâche, Blackend Nuts and Figs


   Essence of Beetroot with Ravioli from Cèpe


 Crisp Roasted Goose with Appled Red Cabbage, Potato Dumplings and Sweet Chestnut


   Mousse of Raspberry with Meringue and Pear Sorbet


The author of all those unique photos Professor Jim Steakley, student Janelle Peifer and Toni Schlegel.
Thank you Jim!








Wine Tasting at the Winery Sonnenbrunnen in Opfingen

with the students of the Academic Year in Freiburg 2010/2011


The wine tasting took place on the 9th of November Germany's destiny date: The shooting of Robert Blum in Vienna in 1849, the proclamation of the first German Republic in Berlin in 1918, the aborted Hitler putsch in Munich in 1923, the Reichspogrom-night all over Nazi-Germany in 1938, the opening of the Berlin wall in 1989.


Don't go back in history, Dad! Let the young people rather enjoy the wines of Baden. As in previous years vintner Jörg Scheel had invited the FMG and the students of the AYF to taste his grands crus.


Wine tasting is not to be confused with drinking. Note for instance the small glasses. Around the table eight
student girls from left to right: Taylor Cronbaugh, Emily Grambsch, Alex Lubbers, Alison Carriere, Steffi Klawiter,
Hanna Toellner, Shelbi Goldman, Ashley Martin. But where are the boys?

Like Jack Horner sitting in a corner: Mat Frey, Wes Francis and Vedran Vasic in front of still empty glasses.

You have to earn your wine in listening to the explanations of Jörg Scheel about eco-wines whilst Jim Steakley has no problem watching over his students. In front from left to right: Professor Jim Steakley, Mat Frey, Vedran Vasic, and vintner Jörg Scheel.

In serious talks? From left to right: Ashley Martin, FMG's Vice President Frauke Feix, Dirk von Schneidemesser and FMG member Dr. Mercedes Beneto

Photos courtesy Mat Frey© and Jim Steakley©








Bundeshauptstadt im Klimaschutz


Yesterday October 25, 2010, Freiburg was elected Federal Capital of Climatic Protection (Note once the German text in the title is shorter than the English one). On the photo taken in Berlin you may distinguish Freiburg's Lord Mayor Dr. Dieter Salomon behind the certificate panel in black and Mayor Gerda Schuchlik holding up a yellow place name sign made on this occasion. Will this replace the present one: Universitätsstadt Freiburg? The runners up, the cities of Frankfurt and Heidelberg proudly brand their diploma, whilst long time champion Münster this time failed to gain a medal.



Sailing away?


On October 21, 2010 the Badische Zeitung in their series: Tell me ... (Sagen Sie mal ...) published an interview with Friederike Schulte, the new Director of Freiburg's Carl-Schurz-Haus. Young and dynamic Friederike is full of energy, idealism and new ideas for making the German-American relationship shine. Sailing the Carl-Schurz-Haus close to the wind it was not surprising that during the interview she expressed her wish to sail from Bremerhaven to New York once in her life.

My first reaction was that of admiration, my second that of Angst. Didn't thousands of Germans, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians etc. embark at Bremerhaven for the New World, the promised land, in the 19th and 20th century and never came back? Although with her statement that at the age of nine her greatest success was the perfect backward roll and now being Director of the CSH we have all hope to keep her here for a while.



Death Penalty in Madison?


 When I came home from a one week trip to Dresden, Wrosław (Breslau) and Cracow (Krakau) I was shocked reading the following letter to the editor in Freiburg’s Badische Zeitung of October 12, 2010:


A lady questions Freiburg’s partnership with Madison as long as death sentences are enforced there. The second half of her statement I cannot translate because what I read is incomprehensible German. 


I knew that she had written nonsense (avoiding a stronger word in this context). Soon Mike confirmed: The death penalty in Wisconsin was already abolished in 1853 whilst we in Germany did this only a century later in 1949 with the coming into force of our Grundgesetz (basic law or constitution if you like). I have sent a counterstatement regarding the content in the above letter to our local newspaper. I shall keep you informed about their reaction.









Puritanisches Erbe und politische Religion


FMG member Professor Peter Günther impressed a large audience with his talk about the Dream of America when he traced the Puritan heritage developing into a political religion.


The pilgrims arriving on the American continent took along the way Puritan Brits (Thy mercy on thy people Lord!) regarded themselves as the newly chosen people.  The settlers put their belief to work as St. John de Crevecoeur has described in 1782: Americans are the western pilgrims who are carrying along with them the great mass of arts, sciences, vigour, and industry which began long in the East; they will finish the great circle.


Columbia hovering westwards


Later in 1845 when in old Europe people were subjects of autocratic rulers John O'Sullivan went a step further claiming that Providence had provided the land to free men: And that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us. Not considering the rights of those who lived in these territories. O'Sullivan continues: Who will set limits to our onward march? Our country destined: the great nation of futurity. We must onward to the fulfillment of our mission: to establish on earth the salvation of man!


In the second half of the 19th century Herman Melville carries this sense of mission even further: And we Americans are the peculiar, chosen people - the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of liberties of the world and continues Long enough have we doubted whether, indeed, the political Messiah had come. But he has come in us.  In this spirit the Book of Mormon revealed on American territory in 1827 falls into place: Christ eventually exults in God's own country.


Walt Whitman saw in the colonization of the American continent Columbus's mission accomplished at last:

     Tying the Eastern to the Western sea,
     The road between Europe and Asia.
     (Ah Genoese thy dream! thy dream!
     Centuries after thou art laid in thy grave,
     The shore thou foundest verifies thy dream.)


The discussion that followed Peter's fascinating presentation was long and lively. Some of my rather personal afterthoughts are found in my blog of October 8, 2010.








A national holiday without schwarz-rot-gold


FMG's traditional hiking tour on October 3, 2010, with Walter Kolb and the students from Madison took us from the former abbey St. Peter in a round trip to the Lindenberg chapel and restaurant. It was a gorgeous Goldener Oktober day with mild temperatures blue and clear skies that gave us breathtaking views from above into neighboring valleys of the Black Forest. In addition we had good company and conversations.


View on St. Peters's Abbey. Note: a couple of houses carry solar panels

Some of the participants in high spirits on their way to the Hochgericht
(the former place of court and gallows high up on the hill).

There were only two downers: Only one student showed up for the hike. The others apparently had taken the train to Munich and the final weekend of the original Oktoberfest. No need to travel far: also we had beer and even alcohol-free fitting people below 21 and above 75.


Our one and only Renommier-Student Mat Frey and my glass of Erdinger Weißbier non-alcoholic.

Although it was our National Holiday commemorating 20 years of German re-unification I only saw yellow-white catholic banners at the Lindenberg chapel but none of our Schwarz-Rot-Gold. Nowhere except at the very end of our excursion hidden by some trees a national flag was barely visible. Here is a poor ersatz:




Three months ago during the Soccer World Championship held in South Africa our national colors not only hung from roofs and balconies but also cars were decorated sometimes with several German flags. Let's us look forward to 2012 when the European Soccer Championship will take place and the real bunting will reappear.









Changing of the Guardin 2010


not in front of Buckingham Palace in London but at the Carl-Schurz-Haus in Freiburg. After only two years of excellent service as Director Dr. Christine Gerhardt was offered a professorship at the University of Bamberg. So yesterday we sat through one hour of laudatio for the leaving and of welcome speeches for the arriving Director Friederike Schulte. Friederike, starting as Director of the CSH already on October 1st, originates from Wolfenbüttel. She gained experience for her job as assistant director of the American Center in Stuttgart.  


We listened to the Chairman of CSH’s Board, Freiburg’s Mayor for Cultural Affairs, the representative of the Ministry of Education and Culture from Stuttgart, the Consul General from Frankfurt, the Head of the CSH’s Educational Program and last not least to the leaving and coming Director. The official ceremony was followed by animated discussions over a buffet with food and drinks.  


We from the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft are looking forward to a continued fruitful collaboration with the Carl-Schurz-Haus.



Friends on the other side of the border


Not only Madison and Freiburg cultivate their sistership, many communities around our city do the same. Most of these partnerships are with French villages but there is a particular one between Jasper in Indiana and the vintner village of Pfaffenweiler that deserves some attention.



  Three Viertele wine from Pfaffenweiler and the emblem of Jasper, located according to the well known jazz classic Way down in Indiana


In the middle of the 19th century more than 200 persons abandoned Pfaffenweiler some for political reasons - following the bloody repression of the German revolution in 1848/49 - but the bulk of the mostly younger people left out of sheer misery. No work, nothing to eat, no future. The authorities even paid them the fare for crossing into the promised land. It happened that an important fraction of the Pfaffenweilers stayed together and settled in Indiana.


The story had all been forgotten until 1983 when historian Sabine Jordan studied the immigration of Badeners into the US. One year later some skeptical Pfaffenweilers flew into the States but became exalted when in Jasper the Eckerles met the Eckerles, the Gutgsells discovered the Gutgsells and the Scherles smattered with the Scherles. Since 1985 the Deutscher Verein in Jasper (15000 inhabitants) has intensified the contacts. Now, only 25 years later the small community of Pfaffenweiler (2350) will create a Partnerschaftskomitee and the infrastructure for hosting young Americans for longer periods.

(Source Badische Zeitung September 24, 2010)








Reception for the Students of the Academic Year in Freiburg 2010/2011

at the Greiffenegg-Schlössle on 15 September



Toni Schlegel President of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft welcomes the new bunch of students for the Academic Year in Freiburg 2010/2011 at his place the Greiffeneggschlössle whilst Resident Director Professor James Steakley refreshes an old acquaintance with Dr. Renate Schulz-Weiling, member of FMG's board. Professor Steakley had been in Freiburg as Resident Director for the AYF seven years ago but our memories are so strong that we sense seven being a mere three years.


The student vintage of 2010/2011 enjoys food and drinks in the cozy atmosphere of the Greiffenegg Schössle discussing surely other things than the pitfalls of German grammar








American Friends


  On June 30, 2010, I read in the Badische Zeitung's daily column: 50 Years Ago the headline: American Friends. In 1960 the then US-Ambassador Walter Cecil Rowling in Bonn visited Freiburg to give a speech at the university about American-German relations. At the following reception at the Rathaus Freiburg’s Lord Mayor Josef Brandel praised the US for having supported the people of Freiburg during the difficult years following the war. He continued jokingly: But what would America be without Freiburg?  


What he meant was Martin Waldseemüller's map from 1507 of the then known world that showed the name Amerika for the first time. Martin a scholar from Freiburg had named the territories in the West somewhat wrongly after Amerigo Vespucci a discoverer from Florence. Dowling's reaction: I didn't know that the Freiburg-American relations were as old as that.  


Picture from Wikipedia


PS:  In 1901 the only known original of the map was discovered in the  library of Prince Johannes zu Waldburg-Wolfegg in Wolfegg Castle* in Württemberg. It remained there until 2001 when the heir of Waldburg-Wolfegg-Waldsee family needed money and sold the map to the United States Library of Congress for ten million dollars. Our chancellor Angela Merkel symbolically turned over the Waldseemüller map on April 30, 2007, within the context of a formal ceremony at the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC. In her remarks, the chancellor stressed that the U.S. contributions to the development of Germany in the postwar period tipped the scales in the decision to turn over the Waldseemüller map to the Library of Congress as a sign of transatlantic affinity and as an indication of the numerous German roots to the United States.

*I visited the place recently








A Streetcar Named Städtepartnerschaften in 2010



As an upbeat to the 5th Market Place of Freiburg's Partner Cities Bürgermeister Otto Neideck christened a tramway of Freiburg's transport sytem illustrating the city's various partnerships. It will run the town reminding the Freiburgers of our many sister cities. The photo above shows the graphical presentation of Madison.




Neideck talking whilst Freddie, Monika and Georges are enjoying their orange juice. The photographer actually
took a glass of sparkling wine from Baden thus saving it from being splashed over the tramway


In the case of Besançon's presentation all French clichés are served: Baguette, croissant, red wine, beret Basque and TGV. In the background the Bürgermeister is still talking whilst the driver is anxious to put the tram into service.


Under the watchful eyes of Mr. President and Mayor Dave and his wife Dianne the Master ( How does one call a female master?) of Freiburg-Madison's booth, Sigi, proudly presents her team.
From left to right: Diane, student from Michgan State University, George and Sigi (FMG) and Hether, University of Iowa. The students who spend an Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF) traditionally help during the
Annual Market Place of Freiburg's Partner Cities.








Tea Party Patriots on the March


In a political environment where many things went out of control – the wars that America fights, the derailing of the international financial system, the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico – a government has to adjust  facing old and new challenges. But how much government?


Enter the Tea Party Patriots who fight the Obama administration on all fronts. Professor Kathleen Canning informed an amazed audience about the right wing movement in the States questioning whether the President is an American (Barack, the Magic Negro), moving the public health insurance close to the Nazi euthanasia program and calling adversaries socialists or even threatening them with physical attacks. Whilst Kathleen was somewhat afraid about this political polarization in the US we Europeans still consider the States as bulwark of democracy.


The discussion that followed was one of the most lively ones we ever had at our June Stammtisch. For some of my personal thoughts you may like to visit my Blog.















Freiburg Schülerjazzorchester


conducted by Herbert Schiffels, active member of the FMG, will perform for the benefit of the Haiti earth quake victims









Banks in the States and Germany following the financial crisis


Following an historic review of the still looming financial crisis Toni Schlegel told the audience at the April 2010 Stammtisch that solid reforms of the international finance and banking system are still missing. The harping on manager bonuses is intended to calm the man in the street but doesn't cure the fundamental problems. Instead, due to the continuing crisis the big banks make again record gains in managing the bonds governments issue to finance their debts. In the States small banks still suffer and go bankrupt whilst in Germany saving banks make good profit due to the fact that clients transfer their money from the big banks to smaller local depositories. There is a risk that the big players having seen that governments are willing to invest enormous sums to avoid their bankruptcy will continue to take great financial risks in order to maximize their profit.








Mike von Schneidemesser, guest of honor


Yesterday night, February 9, 2010, Toni Schlegel invited Mike von Schneidemesser presently in Freiburg to dine at the Greiffeneggschlössle. Some of his friends joined in the party. Mike was honored for his efforts he had made in September 2009 in Madison making our stay so memorable and for his care he ardently devotes to the partnership between Madison and Freiburg. The quality of the photos is that you may expect from an iPhone without a flash. 















The table is all set waiting for Mike. He was flanked by two distinguished ladies.



The 48ers - Fugitives of the Baden Revolution in the US


The first Stammtisch in February 2010 dealt with the 48ers i.e. those persons who in the years 1848/49 stood up in many European countries for democratic changes in government.  Following the mostly bloody suppression of these revolts many revolutionaries flew to the States. Being part of the general insurrection the period in Baden was the longest in Germany. It started already in September 1847 in Offenburg and ended with the fall of the last stronghold Rastatt on Juli 23, 1849. Carl Schurz known to all of you was the last officer who escaped from Fort Rastatt actually through the sewer system. However in the old times a fugitive called Franz Sigel was even more popular in the States than Schurz. During the Civil War Franz rallied the German offspring singing I'm going to fight mit Sigel  behind Lincoln.



Popular Sigel at the Riverside Park in New York


A MS Powerpoint slide show as pdf-files on the Web will present to you - understanding some German or just looking at the pictures - the fugitives from Baden who became part of the American heritage. .








The FMG honors two outstanding members


The FMG General Annual Assembly on January 12, 2010, declared Mrs. Charlotte Weber and Mr. Walter Kolb honorary members. Following the creation of the partnership between the cities of Madison and Freiburg in 1988 the FMG was founded as the supporting Organization one year later. Walter Kolb became its first president. At that time the FMG was lucky to have won a US expert as Walter had spent a longer period in the States as early as 1952 in the framework of the YMCA. Today he is still active and organizes the popular hiking tours for the American students of the Academic Year in Freiburg. Mrs. Charlotte Weber has many relatives living in the States. As a founding member of the FMG she has during all these years rarely missed an event. With her never ending enthusiasm for the German-American friendship she significantly contributed to the success of the FMG.


The photo shows from left to right: President Toni Schlegel, our honorary members Charlotte Weber and Walter Kolb with their documents and Frauke Feix as Vice-President of the FMG








FMG's Traditional Christmas Dinner


On December 2, 2009, the FMG had its traditional Christmas Dinner at the Greiffeneggschlössle. See what you missed:



The bird served by Greiffenegg's manager Edeltraut Biehre had changed from a turkey to a goose, the traditional German feast for Christmas before we discovered that a turkey has more meat and less fat (Photo courtesy ©TS). The following menu was served with the bird:


Tureen of Red Deer on Cranberry Sauce Served with a Small Waldorf Salad


Saltimbocca of Angler Fish on Lemonized Risotto


Crisp Roasted Goose with Appled Red Cabbage, Potato Dumplings and Sweet Chestnut


Mousse of Gingerbread with Caramelized Kumquats


We enjoyed the excellent serve and the good talks throughout the evening.



Thanksgiving in Freiburg


As usual the Carl-Schurz-Haus took in charge the arrangement of the annual Thanksgiving Dinner in Freiburg at the

Two days before the official date already at the 24th of November, we had the following excellent dinner:


Lettuce from the Market with Roasted Pumpkin Seed and Walnuts


Stuffed Turkey with Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn and Cranberries


Pumpkin Pie


I hope we Europeans got it right that the menu may compare favorably with what you are going to eat today.


Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!







Food Court in Madison?


Today October 23, 2009 we read in our local Newspaper about a Food Court to be built in Madison. According to the Badische Zeitung Mayor Dave got the idea last year when visiting Freiburg and in particular the Markthalle. This roof covered food market was built into the premises of the former print shop for the deceased Freiburger Zeitung. The market houses eateries with local and exotic food e.g. from North Africa and India as well as a bar with French champagne or domestic sparkling and local non sparkling wine. The place is extremely popular among Freiburgers. Ted Petith Madison's coordinator for renewable energies who is presently in Freiburg also announced the creation of a solar info center in Madison. Time has come in particular with the Obama administration supporting efforts in making renewable energy available.


                                            Right: Happy? Halloween in Freiburg's Food Court


Below are some photos of Freiburg's Food Court:


Main entrance with fruit and vegetables leading to the food gallery

The food gallery with booths left and right at
10:30 a.m. waiting for the hungry customers

Marcel from France (left) is preparing his Champagne Express (right) whilst an early thirsty male customer is already  attracted. The ladies in the back rather opt for Japanese noodles and sushi.








Visit to Madison in 2009


A group of eleven members of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft Freiburg spent ten days in the US. We flew from Frankfort to Chicago on September 6, 2009, and stayed three days in the Windy City.


From 9 through 12 September the group was generously received in Freiburg's sister city Madison. We the participants would like to thank all those members of the Sister City Committee and beyond who made our stay such a memorable experience.


On our way back to Old Europe we stopped in Washington. Also here our friends from Madison had cared for us arranging a guided tour of the Capitol Building. Some of us even listened to a Senate Session.  We were back in Frankfort in the morning of September 16. The flight and landing was like the whole trip smooth without any hick-up.

Look up the picture gallery about our experience.








Fourth of July Party 2009


The Carl-Schurz-Haus set the pace followed by Freiburg's Madison Gesellschaft: We came together and fired up the grill and celebrated Independence Day with a rockin’ 4th of July party and live music. Highlight of the evening was a jam Session  with the living legend Perry Robinson, „the most gifted clarinetist  in  Modern Jazz" (New York Times) and musicians of the FunkReich band: Frederic Heisler, drums and Emanuel Teschke, bass.


The weather was not too hot (80 F) and although the days before gusty thunderstorms had spoiled many a party in Freiburg with several inches of rain including hail this afternoon and evening were spared.



The attendance at the Ganter Hausbiergarten was high thus people had to queue up (sorry stand in line) for German beer and partly American food. The flag on the right intrigued many as in this new graphical presentation the counting of stars becomes difficult in particular after a couple of  beers.


And we had the visit of Carla and Dick from Madison honoring with their presence our  Independence Day party in Freiburg. Thank you for coming and giving a genuine American touch to the festivity.









4th Market Place of Freiburg's Partner Cities 2009


Those of you who attended last year's 3rd Market Place of Freiburg's Partner Cities are possibly aware that this event takes place at the Rathausplatz every year.


In 2008 the City of Madison had been guest of honor due to the 20th anniversary of our partnership. This year three cities shared a round date to celebrate. Here, flanked by the European and German flag you can admire the colors of France, the United Kingdom and the Ukraine hanging from the balcony of the Rathaus. They stand for Besançon (50th anniversary of partnership with Freiburg), Guildford (30 years) and Lviv (Lemberg, 20 years).



The tent with the booths of all the participating partner cities was well visited but in our case the stand was even better attended as the following photo shows. During three days Sigi and Mike did a ten hour job and never forgot the human touch (here engumschlungen or rather don't tell Mike's wife). Thank you so much both for promoting German-American friendship and presenting beautiful Madison to all those visitors!


The featured ice cream with cranberry sauce was well accepted and the message of the healthy effects of these fruits if not already known was spread around. I wouldn't be surprised if there will not be a noticeable boost in US-export of those berries.



The winter weather in Madison isn't better than in Chicago



On April 3, 2009, Barack Obama was in Strasbourg at the G-20 meeting. In a big sports arena that was filled to the last seat he took the opportunity to talk to students from both sides of the Rhine river followed by a question and answer  session. Toni in a delegation from Freiburg's Carl-Schurz-Haus mingled with the young and the President of the United States shook hands with the President of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft. After that Toni small talked with Michelle who confirmed that the winter weather in Madison isn't better that in her home town Chicago. A burning question remains: did Toni wash his right hand since then or does he prefer to keep the historic hand shake.



Obama's 100 Days: An Appreciation


Our April 2009 Stammtisch had very few attendants. We were asking ourselves questions: Yes, it was the 1st of April, so had we been fooled? Obama had not had his full 100 days, maybe people were vexed by our boldness. And he was in London, but that could not be the reason for the empty Stammtisch. Toni's idea was that the soccer match between Wales and Germany the very evening kept people glued in front of their television. We shall possibly never find out why we had so few...








The Madison University Choir in Freiburgin 2009


On Monday March 16, 2009, we read in the Badische Zeitung that the Madison University Choir was in Freiburg on the invitation of Freiburg's Bach Chor. Until 17 March they will perform a capella in various places. We would much have liked to meet these charming people.



Fabian Schwär back in Freiburg


At the March Stammtisch Sebastian Schwär reported about his stay in Madison's City Clerk's Office. He assembled  a Powerpoint presentation about renewable energies and got an excellent appreciation. Mayor Dave wrote: We applaud what Germany is doing, and hope to replicate some of your successes her in Madison.



The Economic Crisis in the US and Germany


At the March 2009 Stammtisch Toni Schlegel and Wolfgang Meier-Rudolf tried very hard to explain to a full house of lay-women and -men the origin of the financial crisis and its follow-up the economic decline. Time was too short to go into every nitty-gritty detail of the current economic situation although the excellent presentation and moderate discussion  went on for more than two hours.


At the end two burning questions remained: How come that - whilst the printing of green-backs in the State is at its maximum - the dollar is going so strong in comparison to the Euro and will - with the American citizens rather paying back their debts than consuming - the US again become the stimulus for a new economic growth.


Bill meets Dieter in 2009


Former US President Bill Clinton and Freiburg’s Lord Mayor Dr. Dieter Salomon shook hands at the yearly meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) held in Austin, Texas, on February, 14, 2009 with 1300 students from the US and other countries attending.


Salomon had been invited as the only Mayor of a Green City to take part in panel discussion about “CO2 neutral” cities. Both gentlemen agreed that in an economic crises economy and ecology are not mutually exclusive but are both essential.


Salomon had nearly missed the meeting when he was stranded at John Dulles Airport on the night of Friday 13th !! due to a technical problem with his connecting flight. The company offered him a seat to Austin on a plane on Saturday evening. In a joint American-German effort he could finally be booked on a Saturday morning flight just in time not to miss the historic handshake.








Green City but not Green Capital


While the Oscars were celebrated in Los Angeles another sort of prize was distributed in Europe's capital: Brussels. The Green Capital Award for 2010 went to Stockholm, Sweden whereas Hamburg, Germany was attributed the prize for 2011. Freiburg as the smallest city of the contenders did not make it but was nevertheless among the last eight candidates for the prize. The European Community thus acknowledged Freiburg’s role as a Green City.

Epilogue: In a ceremony in Brussels the prize for Hamburg was handed over to the city's Senator for Environment Anja Hajduk. On the photo she proudly presents the flowery Cup to the cameras in front of a flag of the former GDR (East Germany) ! ? showing the hammer and the pair of compasses.



English at an Early Age


The American Center in Freiburg, the Carl-Schurz-Haus is a well accepted cultural institution. Last fall its long time Director Professor Eva Manske retired and was succeeded by Dr. Christine Gebhardt a well known specialist for American Culture and History at the University of Dortmund.


At our February’s Stammtisch Gerhardt’s closest collaborator Uta Schröder presented the history of Freiburg’s Carl-Schurz-Haus and its cultural and educational program. She emphasized the English language program for pre-school children and kids during their first grades. In Freiburg’s environment that is particularly focused on French due to the nearness of France parents have discovered the opportunity the Carl-Schurz-Haus offers for initiating their children in English. The success of the program is particularly due to the employment of native speakers with experience in children's education.


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