Tag Archives: Germany


Germany’s real victory

Germany impressed the whole world with its World Cup performance. A historical 7-1 victory against Brazil and the final victory against Argentina. The Germans were showered with accolades. What a team. They’re patient and methodical. No flash, but efficient playing. Therein lies the genius of the German culture: the practical and efficient before the esthetic.

But the Germans’ greatest victory remains the reunification of the two Germanys after the Wall fell in 1989. Two diametrically opposed ways of thinking had to be merged: the capitalist mode and the communist mode. A colossal undertaking that is coming to a painful end. Many people believe that only Germans could overcome such an obstacle thanks to their cult of efficiency.

One building symbolizes this legendary exploit: the Reichstag with its famous glass dome. Continue reading

The room’s walls disappeared!

Chambre d’ambre Murs WIKIPEDIA inusite
Amber Room by Jeanyvan (Wikipedia Commons)

We laughed at Indiana Jones at the time. It’s only a movie, we said, watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. Treasure hunters no longer exist. Archeologists searching for the Ark of the Covenant are pure fiction.

First off, it’s true that some archeologists still hope to get hold of the Ark of the Covenant—unless it was destroyed. They look for it without lassos or guns, but they still look for it.

Second, treasure hunters do indeed exist. And one of the most coveted treasures is the Amber Room. Why? Because six tonnes of rare amber covered the walls. What’s more, the amber panels were backed by gold leaf and mirrors.

Let’s travel back to the time of the Russian tsars. In 1701, a Prussian king ordered construction of the room for the Charlottenberg Palace. In 1716, as a political move, he gave it as a gift to Tsar Peter the Great, who decided to increase the splendor of the room with additional work. Finished in 1755, the Amber Room was moved from the winter palace to the summer palace, near Saint Petersburg. Continue reading

The cottage that dominates the world

The desire to dominate is often reflected in real estate. Think of cathedrals, basilicas, churches built high above valleys, huge castles, the manors of British lords and the luxurious properties of the rich and famous.

Adolf Hitler was certainly not immune to the desire to dominate. We know that painting was one of the German dictator’s passions, but it’s through architecture that he best expressed his need for domination, power and absolute liberty—the very essence of fascism.

Apart from his many headquarters, Hitler built three buildings in Bavaria, on the slopes of the Alps close to the Austrian border, near the city of Salzburg. First there was the Berghof, his second home and favourite refuge, where he entertained foreign dignitaries. Hitler designed the plans himself. Built on the side of a mountain, the home overlooked a scenic valley.

In front of the Berghof was a teahouse, the second of his three buildings. Every afternoon, Hitler took his daily walk and headed to this small structure, where it’s said he liked to relax alone, with friends or with his companion, Eva Braun. Perhaps some of the dictator’s political decisions were made during his daily walks there.

The most spectacular of the three buildings is the Kehlsteinhaus, a cottage designed to serve as a Nazi conference centre. A French diplomat visiting Hitler before World War II was so impressed by the building’s setting that he called it the Eagle’s Nest. The building is located on the side of the Hoher Göll (2500 metres), at the top of a mountain called Kehlstein, whose height is 1,834 metres. When you look at the photo, you feel a slight shiver because you sense that the building conveys Hitler’s ultimate goal: to dominate the world by crushing it under his boots. Continue reading