First Impressions of Stuttgart
When you think of German cities, Stuttgart might be one of the earliest to come to your mind. I guess you first think of Berlin, then probably it could be Munich and after that Frankfurt or maybe Stuttgart, Cologne or Hamburg. Truth is that Stuttgart is one of the most-known German cities. It is the capital of Baden-Württemberg and it has a population of about 1.8 million (including surrounding areas). The conventional image of the city suggests that it’s a grey industrial place, in which streets you can see many expensive cars -specially Mercedes- and which citizens are all employed and some of them even rich. I don’t know if all of this is true.
What I know is that Stuttgart is the city where both Mercedes Benz and Porsche have not only their headquarters, but also a museum: the Mercedes Benz Museum and the Porsche Museum. The two of them are fascinating buildings. I also know that German people agree that you’ll better find a job here than in Berlin. So it seems that Stuttgart has nothing to do with Berlin… Has it?
Last week I was there and I visited the city-centre. I must recognise that the city is not that ugly. Maybe it had something to do with the sun, but I actually found it quite charming.
Some of its beauty relies on the contrast between its buildings. That’s the case of the Art Museum (Kunstmuseum) placed next to a classic style building (Königsbau Passagen). The Art Museum is very impressive from the outside, because it has the shape of a cube in glass windows. The Königsbau Passagen is a kind of shopping centre. The main city-centre streets are like any other in an European city: from this and that shopping centres to stores from HM, Zara and Foot Locker, among others.
Another stunning building of the city is the State Theatre (Staatstheater Stuttgart). It holds three artistic branches: theatre, ballet and opera. The building was constructed between 1909 and 1912, and it survived the Second World War. Maybe because of that it’s more special.
As many other German cities, Stuttgart is green. You can see it in the Schlossplatz, a very big green area located just in front of the huge castle. There you can lay on the grass, play guitar and chill a little bit.
Before I left, I could also see the construction zone of the future Stuttgart 21. For those of you who don’t know it, that’s a project that involves the construction of a new central station for the city. There’s a big debate about it, because there are many people against it. There have been several demonstrations, but it seems that they are working on it.
All in all, I can say Stuttgart really surprised me. Needless to say, I know that it was just my first time there and firsts impressions have nothing to do with living there. Who knows… maybe I end up living there.
Text and pictures by Silvia Conde.