Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft e.V.






Rückblick auf das Jahr 2009

Zum Rückblick auf die Jahre











The Economic Crisis in the US and Germany


At the February 2009, Stammtisch, Toni Schlegel and Wolfgang Meier-Rudolf tried very hard to explain to a packed house of laywomen 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  lasted 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?


























Dinner des SCCF am 12. Februar 2009


Während bei uns das jährliche Essen an Stelle des Stammtisches im Dezember stattfindet, veranstaltete das Sister City Committee Freiburg (SCCF) sein Gourmet Dinner am 12. Februar 2009, das von mehr als 60 Personen besucht wurde eingeschlossen 6 Neuzugänge. Musikalisch begleitet vom Sun Prairie Jazz Trio* (es waren insgesamt 6 Musiker in klassischer Montur) gab es geröstete Schweinshaxe, während die cholesterinbewussten Teilnehmer Lachs vorzogen.

*Wir erinnern uns an den von unserem Mitglied Herbert Schiffels organisierten Besuch der Schülerjazzband der Sun Prairie School in Freiburg im Jahre 2007.


Während der Veranstaltung informierte eine Diaschau ähnlich der unserigen über die Teilnahme Madisons am Markt der Partnerstädte in Freiburg im Juni 2008. Darüber und seinen offiziellen Besuch anlässlich des 20-jährigen Jubiläums der Partnerschaft unserer Städte sprach Madisons Mayor Dave Cieslewicz in seinem After Dinner Talk. Er war mit vier seiner engsten Mitarbeiter erschienen und wirkte wesentlich lockerer als bei seinen Ansprachen in Freiburg.


Mayor Dave zeigte sich von seinem Freiburg-Besuch stark beeindruckt und hob besonders die Bemühungen der FMG bei der Ausgestaltung des kulturellen und Unterhaltungs-Programms hervor. Bei seinen Kontakten mit den Experten der Stadt hätte er beim Besuch des Stadtteils Vauban viele Anregungen bekommen, die er bei einer neuen Stadtentwicklung im Osten Madisons umsetzen möchte. Diskutiert wurde über die Anbindung dieses Stadtteils an das Zentrum Madisons mit einer leichten Straßenbahn sowie einem Radweg, doch wurden 7 Meilen auf dem Rad von einigen Zuhörern als zu weit empfunden. Des Bürgermeisters Kompromissvorschlag: Man könne die Fahrräder ja in die Straßenbahn laden.


Mayor Dave hatte aber nicht nur erfreuliche Nachrichten. So kürzte zu seinem Unwillen der Stadtrat – Finanzkrise oblige - die jährliche Unterstützung für Madisons Sister City Committee auf U$ 5000. Er scherzte, die Stadträte hätten die Bedeutung für den Austausch mit den Partnerstädten wohl nicht begriffen. Deshalb will er nach privaten Geldquellen suchen, um Madisons Städtepartnerschaften zu unterstützen. Er betonte mehrmals, dass er die Verbindung zwischen Madison und Freiburg für besonders wichtig hält, im Hinblick auf die Entwicklung in Madison bezüglich Nachhaltigkeit und erneuerbarer Energien.


Die Kürzung des Budgets hat unsere Freunde in Madison aber nicht davon abgehalten, sich bereits jetzt Gedanken über die Ausgestaltung unseres Besuchs anlässlich der Freiburger zu machen.









Bill meets Dieter on February 14, 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 participate in a panel discussion about “CO2 neutral” cities. Both gentlemen agreed that economy and ecology are not mutually exclusive in an economic crisis, but are both essential.


Salomon had nearly missed the meeting when he was stranded at John Dulles Airport on the night of Friday the 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.






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 in American Culture and History at the University of Dortmund.


At our March 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, which is mainly 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 program's success is mainly due to the employment of native speakers with experience in children's education.






Obama's 100 Days: An Appreciation


Our April 2009 Stammtisch had very few attendants. We asked ourselves questions: Yes, it was April 1, 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 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 filled to the last seat, he talked to students from both sides of the Rhine river, followed by a question and answer session. In a delegation from Freiburg's Carl-Schurz-Haus, Toni 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 than 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 handshake.









Fabian Schwär back in Freiburg


At the March 2009 Stammtisch, Sebastian Schwär reported on 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 your successes in Madison.





The Madison University Choir in Freiburg ion March 16, 2009


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






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 was a 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 flags, you can admire the colors of France, the United Kingdom, and 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. For three days, Sigi and Mike did a ten-hour job and never forgot the human touch (here engumschlungen or instead, 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 beneficial 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.






Reise der FMG 2009 nach Madison mit Besuch von Chicago und Washington


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 September 9 through 12, Freiburg's sister city Madison generously received the group. 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 ön the morning of September 16. Like the whole trip, the flight and landing were smooth without any hick-up.

Enjoy the picture gallery about our experience.









And here is what our correspondent in Madison: Michael von Schneidemesser wrote about the visit:


The Freiburger citizen visit, Sept 9-11, 2009


went well with sunshine and comfortable late summer temperatures.


Wednesday afternoon, during a Betty Lou cruise on Lake Monona, Madisonians mingled with the 11 Freiburgers. The dinner at Sardines restaurant with Mayor Dave, who remembered the good times in Freiburg last year, was was solidly booked.


Thursday morning, after the standard Capitol tour, our visitors were received by Senator Risser. He highlighted the current Wisconsin legislative agenda, mentioning driving while drunk or text messaging among others. And he dwelt on the differences between Wisconsin and the federal legislature. He pointed out with some pride Wisconsin's leadership in social legislation, later adopted by the feds. Germany, like the US, is a federation, but the German Laender(states) have less authority and experiment less than US states do. Maybe our German visitors are now more aware of this, because foreigners typically see the US as one monolithic behemoth, not realizing the significant differences between US states.


The pot-luck picnic at Edgewood College was attended by many from Madison with Freiburg interests. Tim Andrews led a walking tour of Indian mounds nearby, while others ambled on the Lake Wingra boardwalk. And when we all felt stuffed from brats, corn, Essen Haus potato salad, and the many salads and desserts brought by Madisonians, the Truly Remarkable Loon treated us to his hilarious juggling acts. Thank you all for your contributions!


On Friday morning the Freiburgers traveled to Spring Green accompanied by three locals. A tour of Taliesin was expertly narrated by the guide John, who helped us understand what drove the eccentric Frank Lloyd Wright to be such a successful and influential architect. Lunch was on the deck of the Wisconsin Riverside Resort, formerly Bob's, across the river from Taliesin. Next the hardier Freiburgers explored the untamed river from canoes, at times running aground unexpectantly in the middle of the river. A warm, sandy island beach was the setting for a wine and cheese picnic. Pictures of the Freiburgers' US visit are at


Thanks to the many Madisonians who made this visit a pleasant success: those mentioned above, plus Carol Heidenway, the Jacobys, the Kaminskis, Ted Petith and Beth Tryon, Kendall Schneider, our Mayor Dave, his staff and wife Dianne and those who offered homestays. Unfortunately, there was no time for many of the entertainments suggested because the Freiburgers were here only for two and a half days.









Fourth of July Party 2009


The Carl-Schurz-Haus set the pace, followed by Freiburg's Madison Gesellschaft: We came together, fired up the grill, and celebrated Independence Day with a rockin’ 4th of July party and live music. The 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, our 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 American food. The flag on the right intrigued many, as in this new graphical presentation, the counting of stars becomes difficult, particularly after a couple of  beers.


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







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 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 nonsparkling wine. The place is trendy 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. The time has come, particularly with the Obama administration supporting efforts to make renewable energy available.

                                            Happy? Halloween in Freiburg's Food Court


Below are some photos of Freiburg's Food Court


The central entrance with fruit and vegetables leads
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) while an early thirsty male customer is already  attracted. The ladies in the back instead opt for Japanese noodles and sushi.





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 on November 24, 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!





FMG's Traditional Christmas Dinner


On December 2, 2009, the FMG had its traditional Christmas Dinner at the Greiffenegg-Schlössle. 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 discovering 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.







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