Jazz in Heidelberg

I am happy to present you the quick overview about Heidelberg’s and the Jazz scene of the Rhine-Neckar region: www.metropoljazz.de. It offers a quick overview on jazz venues and links to the essential concert in Heidelberg and the surrounding area. It’s also smartphone-friendly! Let me know, what you think and suggest improvements. More about Germany’s jazz scene with an emphasis on the southern regions at www.jazzpages.com.

Enjoy Jazz 2014

Stefano Bollani - Foto Schindelbeck

The well know international Jazz Festival „Enjoy Jazz“ will start on October, 2nd and lasts to November, 15th 2014. More than 60 concerts and some additional events will take place in several venues throughout the Rhine-Nekckar region around Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludigshafen. Some highlights are Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble, Bassist Sebastian Gramss, Drummer legend Mani Neumeier, the Branford Marsalis Quartet, Polar Baer, Stefano Bollani Solo, Rebekka Bakken & hr Big Band with their Tom Waits programme, Youn Sun Nah & Ulf Wakenius,  and many more. There will be an „Enjoy Jazz Encore“ concert, on December, 1st, with Gregory Porter and a special guest.

| wwww.enjoyjazz.de

Norman Seeff Photography: The Look of Sound

Zappa by Seeff

28.09.2014 – 25.01.2015
ZEPHYR – Raum für Fotografie, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim, Museum Bassermannhaus C4,9

Artist Portraits fromPatti Smith to Ray Charles – not to forget Frank Zappa…

First Norman Seeff-Exhibition worldwide in Mannheim

From September 28th to January 25th an exhibition of Norman Seeff’s impressive black and white portraits are shown at „ZEPHYR – Raum für Fotografie at Mannheim’s Reiss-Engelhorn-Museums“.

Seeff is one of the most famous portrait photographers in the USA and has gained world wide fame for his unique photography style. The exhibition presents more than 150 artist portratis, most of them vintage prints: a Who is Who of the music scene of the 1960ies up to the 198ies. Not only musicians like Patti Smith, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Miles Davis and Frank Zappa, but also Pop-Art-Artist Andy Warhol, Apple founder Steve Jobs or conductor Zubin Mehta.

Norman Seeff was born in South Africa in 1939. At the end of the 1960ies, he moved to the USA and immediately he had his breakthrough with his work for the album „Stage Fright“ of „The Band“, which was published as a poster which became swiftly a rare collector’s item. Besides his success as a photographer, he worked as Artdirector of United Artists and for Blue Note.

www.rem-mannheim.de / www.zephyr-mannheim.de

Heidelberg’s wild 1970ies – Exhibition at Kurpfaelzisches Museum

Awakening of a city – Heidelberg’s wild era of the 1970ies
Exhibition May 16 to September 21, 2014

Heidelbergs wilder 70er - Exhibition at Kurpfälzisches MuseumIt was a time of worldwide fundamental political changes, numerous technical innovations (data processing…), and at the same time the radicalization of political groups which led into the late 1970ies forms of extremism.

In Heidelberg it was the time after the peak of the student’s protests and a load of new concepts emerged. The anti-nuclear movement , women’s movement , „Spontis“, Communist-groups , men’s groups and residential communities – the 1970s were the decade, that Heidelberg has changed the most, with exceptional after-effects until today. Sexual revolution, a counter-public , international solidarity , self-managed alternative projects and exuberant creativity are the buzzwords of this time

In parallel, the city administration decided to fundamentally change the old town through restoration measures and to create the Emmertsgrund as a new district. And it also was a time of architectural blunders, which show their visual impact to the day.

At the „Kurpfäzisches Museum“ this time is presented with „finds“ from the 70s, paintings, prints, film posters and installations, completed with interviews with witnesses , to document this fascinating piece of Heidelberg’s younger history.

Kurpfälzisches Museum der Stadt Heidelberg
Hauptstraße 97
69117 Heidelberg


The awful German language – Mark Twain

Mark Twain "A Tramp Abroad" - title cover

Mark Twain did not only visit Heidelberg (I will come back to his Heidelberg experiences in another posting), but added some remarks about the German language as an appendix in his book „A Tramp Abroad“ (published 1880, Chatto & Windus, London).

Have fun with: „Die schreckliche deutsche Sprache“…


The Awful German Language


A little learning makes the whole world kin. –Proverbs xxxii, 7.


Mark Twain illustrationI went often to look at the collection of curiosities in Heidelberg

Castle, and one day I surprised the keeper of it with my German. I spoke

entirely in that language. He was greatly interested; and after I had

talked a while he said my German was very rare, possibly a „unique“; and

wanted to add it to his museum.


If he had known what it had cost me to acquire my art, he would also

have known that it would break any collector to buy it. Harris and I had

been hard at work on our German during several weeks at that time, and

although we had made good progress, it had been accomplished under great

difficulty and annoyance, for three of our teachers had died in the mean

time. A person who has not studied German can form no idea of what a

perplexing language it is.


Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless,

and so slippery and elusive to the grasp. One is washed about in it,

hither and thither, in the most helpless way; and when at last he thinks

he has captured a rule which offers firm ground to take a rest on amid

the general rage and turmoil of the ten parts of speech, he turns over

the page and reads, „Let the pupil make careful note of the following

_Exceptions_.“ He runs his eye down and finds that there are more

exceptions to the rule than instances of it. So overboard he goes again,

to hunt for another Ararat and find another quicksand. Such has been,

and continues to be, my experience. Every time I think I have got one

of these four confusing „cases“ where I am master of it, a seemingly

insignificant preposition intrudes itself into my sentence, clothed with

an awful and unsuspected power, and crumbles the ground from under

me. For instance, my book inquires after a certain bird–(it is always

inquiring after things which are of no sort of consequence to anybody):

„Where is the bird?“ Now the answer to this question–according to the

book–is that the bird is waiting in the blacksmith shop on account of

the rain. Of course no bird would do that, but then you must stick to

the book. Very well, I begin to cipher out the German for that answer. I

begin at the wrong end, necessarily, for that is the German idea. I say

to myself, „_regen_ (rain) is masculine–or maybe it is feminine–or

possibly neuter–it is too much trouble to look now. Therefore, it is

either _der_ (the) Regen, or _die_ (the) Regen, or _das_ (the) Regen,

according to which gender it may turn out to be when I look. In the

interest of science, I will cipher it out on the hypothesis that it is

masculine. Very well–then _the_ rain is _der_ Regen, if it is simply

in the quiescent state of being _mentioned_, without enlargement or

discussion–Nominative case; but if this rain is lying around, in a kind

of a general way on the ground, it is then definitely located, it

is _doing something_–that is, _resting_ (which is one of the German

grammar’s ideas of doing something), and this throws the rain into

the Dative case, and makes it _dem_ Regen. However, this rain is not

resting, but is doing something _actively_,–it is falling–to interfere

with the bird, likely–and this indicates _movement_, which has the

effect of sliding it into the Accusative case and changing _dem_ Regen

into _den_ Regen.“ Having completed the grammatical horoscope of this

matter, I answer up confidently and state in German that the bird is

staying in the blacksmith shop „wegen (on account of) _den_ Regen.“ Then

the teacher lets me softly down with the remark that whenever the word

„wegen“ drops into a sentence, it _always_ throws that subject into the

_genitive_ case, regardless of consequences–and therefore this bird

stayed in the blacksmith shop „wegen _des_ Regens.“


N.B.–I was informed, later, by a higher authority, that there was an

„exception“ which permits one to say „wegen _den_ Regen“ in certain

peculiar and complex circumstances, but that this exception is not

extended to anything _but_ rain.


There are ten parts of speech, and they are all troublesome. An average

sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity;

it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of

speech–not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound

words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in

any dictionary–six or seven words compacted into one, without joint

or seam–that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen

different subjects, each enclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here

and there extra parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the

parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple

of king-parentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the

majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of

it–_after which comes the verb_, and you find out for the first time

what the man has been talking about; and after the verb–merely by way

of ornament, as far as I can make out–the writer shovels in „_haben

sind gewesen gehabt haven geworden sein_,“ or words to that effect, and

the monument is finished. I suppose that this closing hurrah is in the

nature of the flourish to a man’s signature–not necessary, but pretty.

German books are easy enough to read when you hold them before

the looking-glass or stand on your head–so as to reverse the

construction–but I think that to learn to read and understand a German

newspaper is a thing which must always remain an impossibility to a


Yet even the German books are not entirely free from attacks of the

Parenthesis distemper–though they are usually so mild as to cover only

a few lines, and therefore when you at last get down to the verb it

carries some meaning to your mind because you are able to remember a

good deal of what has gone before. Now here is a sentence from a popular

and excellent German novel–with a slight parenthesis in it. I will make

a perfectly literal translation, and throw in the parenthesis-marks and

some hyphens for the assistance of the reader–though in the original

there are no parenthesis-marks or hyphens, and the reader is left to

flounder through to the remote verb the best way he can:


„But when he, upon the street, the (in-satin-and-silk-covered-now-very

-unconstrained-after-the-newest-fashioned-dressed)government counselor’s

wife _met_,“ etc., etc. [1]


1. Wenn er aber auf der Strasse der in Sammt und Seide gehuellten

jetz sehr ungenirt nach der neusten mode gekleideten Regierungsrathin


That is from _The Old Mamselle’s Secret_, by Mrs. Marlitt. And that

sentence is constructed upon the most approved German model. You observe

how far that verb is from the reader’s base of operations; well, in a

German newspaper they put their verb away over on the next page; and

I have heard that sometimes after stringing along the exciting

preliminaries and parentheses for a column or two, they get in a hurry

and have to go to press without getting to the verb at all. Of course,

then, the reader is left in a very exhausted and ignorant state.


We have the Parenthesis disease in our literature, too; and one may see

cases of it every day in our books and newspapers: but with us it is the

mark and sign of an unpracticed writer or a cloudy intellect, whereas

with the Germans it is doubtless the mark and sign of a practiced pen

and of the presence of that sort of luminous intellectual fog which

stands for clearness among these people. For surely it is _not_

clearness–it necessarily can’t be clearness. Even a jury would have

penetration enough to discover that. A writer’s ideas must be a good

deal confused, a good deal out of line and sequence, when he starts out

to say that a man met a counselor’s wife in the street, and then right

in the midst of this so simple undertaking halts these approaching

people and makes them stand still until he jots down an inventory of the

woman’s dress. That is manifestly absurd. It reminds a person of those

dentists who secure your instant and breathless interest in a tooth by

taking a grip on it with the forceps, and then stand there and

drawl through a tedious anecdote before they give the dreaded jerk.

Parentheses in literature and dentistry are in bad taste.


The Germans have another kind of parenthesis, which they make by

splitting a verb in two and putting half of it at the beginning of an

exciting chapter and the _other half_ at the end of it. Can any one

conceive of anything more confusing than that? These things are called

„separable verbs.“ The German grammar is blistered all over with

separable verbs; and the wider the two portions of one of them are

spread apart, the better the author of the crime is pleased with his

performance. A favorite one is _reiste ab_–which means departed. Here

is an example which I culled from a novel and reduced to English:


„The trunks being now ready, he _de-_ after kissing his mother and

sisters, and once more pressing to his bosom his adored Gretchen, who,

dressed in simple white muslin, with a single tuberose in the ample

folds of her rich brown hair, had tottered feebly down the stairs, still

pale from the terror and excitement of the past evening, but longing to

lay her poor aching head yet once again upon the breast of him whom she

loved more dearly than life itself, _parted_.“


However, it is not well to dwell too much on the separable verbs. One is

sure to lose his temper early; and if he sticks to the subject, and will

not be warned, it will at last either soften his brain or petrify

it. Personal pronouns and adjectives are a fruitful nuisance in this

language, and should have been left out. For instance, the same sound,

_sie_, means _you_, and it means _she_, and it means _her_, and it means

_it_, and it means _they_, and it means _them_. Think of the ragged

poverty of a language which has to make one word do the work of six–and

a poor little weak thing of only three letters at that. But mainly,

think of the exasperation of never knowing which of these meanings the

speaker is trying to convey. This explains why, whenever a person says

_sie_ to me, I generally try to kill him, if a stranger.


Now observe the Adjective. Here was a case where simplicity would have

been an advantage; therefore, for no other reason, the inventor of this

language complicated it all he could. When we wish to speak of our „good

friend or friends,“ in our enlightened tongue, we stick to the one form

and have no trouble or hard feeling about it; but with the German

tongue it is different. When a German gets his hands on an adjective,

he declines it, and keeps on declining it until the common sense is all

declined out of it. It is as bad as Latin. He says, for instance:




Nominative–Mein gut_er_ Freund, my good friend. Genitives–Mein_es_

Gut_en_ Freund_es_, of my good friend. Dative–Mein_em_ gut_en_ Freund,

to my good friend. Accusative–Mein_en_ gut_en_ Freund, my good friend.




N.–Mein_e_ gut_en_ Freund_e_, my good friends. G.–Mein_er_ gut_en_

Freund_e_, of my good friends. D.–Mein_en_ gut_en_ Freund_en_, to my

good friends. A.–Mein_e_ gut_en_ Freund_e_, my good friends.


Now let the candidate for the asylum try to memorize those variations,

and see how soon he will be elected. One might better go without friends

in Germany than take all this trouble about them. I have shown what a

bother it is to decline a good (male) friend; well this is only a third

of the work, for there is a variety of new distortions of the adjective

to be learned when the object is feminine, and still another when the

object is neuter. Now there are more adjectives in this language than

there are black cats in Switzerland, and they must all be as

elaborately declined as the examples above suggested.

Difficult?–troublesome?–these words cannot describe it. I heard a

Californian student in Heidelberg say, in one of his calmest moods, that

he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective.


The inventor of the language seems to have taken pleasure in

complicating it in every way he could think of. For instance, if one is

casually referring to a house, _haus_, or a horse, _pferd_, or a

dog, _hund_, he spells these words as I have indicated; but if he

is referring to them in the Dative case, he sticks on a foolish and

unnecessary E and spells them _hause, pferde, hunde_. So, as an added

E often signifies the plural, as the S does with us, the new student is

likely to go on for a month making twins out of a Dative dog before he

discovers his mistake; and on the other hand, many a new student who

could ill afford loss, has bought and paid for two dogs and only got one

of them, because he ignorantly bought that dog in the Dative singular

when he really supposed he was talking plural–which left the law on the

seller’s side, of course, by the strict rules of grammar, and therefore

a suit for recovery could not lie.


In German, all the Nouns begin with a capital letter. Now that is a good

idea; and a good idea, in this language, is necessarily conspicuous from

its lonesomeness. I consider this capitalizing of nouns a good idea,

because by reason of it you are almost always able to tell a noun the

minute you see it. You fall into error occasionally, because you mistake

the name of a person for the name of a thing, and waste a good deal of

time trying to dig a meaning out of it. German names almost always do

mean something, and this helps to deceive the student. I translated a

passage one day, which said that „the infuriated tigress broke loose

and utterly ate up the unfortunate fir forest“ (Tannenwald). When I was

girding up my loins to doubt this, I found out that Tannenwald in this

instance was a man’s name.


Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in the

distribution; so the gender of each must be learned separately and by

heart. There is no other way. To do this one has to have a memory like a

memorandum-book. In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has.

Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what

callous disrespect for the girl. See how it looks in print–I translate

this from a conversation in one of the best of the German Sunday-school



„Gretchen. Wilhelm, where is the turnip?


„Wilhelm. She has gone to the kitchen.


„Gretchen. Where is the accomplished and beautiful English maiden?


„Wilhelm. It has gone to the opera.“


To continue with the German genders: a tree is male, its buds are

female, its leaves are neuter; horses are sexless, dogs are male, cats

are female–tomcats included, of course; a person’s mouth, neck, bosom,

elbows, fingers, nails, feet, and body are of the male sex, and his

head is male or neuter according to the word selected to signify it,

and _not_ according to the sex of the individual who wears it–for in

Germany all the women wear either male heads or sexless ones; a person’s

nose, lips, shoulders, breast, hands, and toes are of the female sex;

and his hair, ears, eyes, chin, legs, knees, heart, and conscience

haven’t any sex at all. The inventor of the language probably got what

he knew about a conscience from hearsay.


Now, by the above dissection, the reader will see that in Germany a

man may _think_ he is a man, but when he comes to look into the matter

closely, he is bound to have his doubts; he finds that in sober truth

he is a most ridiculous mixture; and if he ends by trying to comfort

himself with the thought that he can at least depend on a third of this

mess as being manly and masculine, the humiliating second thought will

quickly remind him that in this respect he is no better off than any

woman or cow in the land.


In the German it is true that by some oversight of the inventor of

the language, a Woman is a female; but a Wife (Weib) is not–which is

unfortunate. A Wife, here, has no sex; she is neuter; so, according to

the grammar, a fish is _he_, his scales are _she_, but a fishwife is

neither. To describe a wife as sexless may be called under-description;

that is bad enough, but over-description is surely worse. A German

speaks of an Englishman as the _Englünnder_; to change the sex, he

adds INN, and that stands for Englishwoman–_Englünderinn_. That seems

descriptive enough, but still it is not exact enough for a German; so he

precedes the word with that article which indicates that the creature to

follow is feminine, and writes it down thus: „die Englünderinn,“–which

means „the she-Englishwoman.“ I consider that that person is



Well, after the student has learned the sex of a great number of nouns,

he is still in a difficulty, because he finds it impossible to persuade

his tongue to refer to things as „he“ and „she,“ and „him“ and „her,“

which it has been always accustomed to refer to as „it.“ When he even

frames a German sentence in his mind, with the hims and hers in the

right places, and then works up his courage to the utterance-point, it

is no use–the moment he begins to speak his tongue flies the track and

all those labored males and females come out as „its.“ And even when he

is reading German to himself, he always calls those things „it,“ whereas

he ought to read in this way:




2. I capitalize the nouns, in the German (and ancient English) fashion.


It is a bleak Day. Hear the Rain, how he pours, and the Hail, how he

rattles; and see the Snow, how he drifts along, and of the Mud, how

deep he is! Ah the poor Fishwife, it is stuck fast in the Mire; it has

dropped its Basket of Fishes; and its Hands have been cut by the Scales

as it seized some of the falling Creatures; and one Scale has even got

into its Eye, and it cannot get her out. It opens its Mouth to cry

for Help; but if any Sound comes out of him, alas he is drowned by the

raging of the Storm. And now a Tomcat has got one of the Fishes and she

will surely escape with him. No, she bites off a Fin, she holds her in

her Mouth–will she swallow her? No, the Fishwife’s brave Mother-dog

deserts his Puppies and rescues the Fin–which he eats, himself, as his

Reward. O, horror, the Lightning has struck the Fish-basket; he sets him

on Fire; see the Flame, how she licks the doomed Utensil with her red

and angry Tongue; now she attacks the helpless Fishwife’s Foot–she

burns him up, all but the big Toe, and even _She_ is partly consumed;

and still she spreads, still she waves her fiery Tongues; she attacks

the Fishwife’s Leg and destroys _it_; she attacks its Hand and destroys

_Her_ also; she attacks the Fishwife’s Leg and destroys _Her_ also;

she attacks its Body and consumes _Him_; she wreathes herself about its

Heart and _it_ is consumed; next about its Breast, and in a Moment _She_

is a Cinder; now she reaches its Neck–He goes; now its Chin–_it_

goes; now its Nose–_She_ goes. In another Moment, except Help come,

the Fishwife will be no more. Time presses–is there none to succor and

save? Yes! Joy, joy, with flying Feet the she-Englishwoman comes!

But alas, the generous she-Female is too late: where now is the fated

Fishwife? It has ceased from its Sufferings, it has gone to a better

Land; all that is left of it for its loved Ones to lament over, is this

poor smoldering Ash-heap. Ah, woeful, woeful Ash-heap! Let us take him

up tenderly, reverently, upon the lowly Shovel, and bear him to his long

Rest, with the Prayer that when he rises again it will be a Realm

where he will have one good square responsible Sex, and have it all to

himself, instead of having a mangy lot of assorted Sexes scattered all

over him in Spots.


There, now, the reader can see for himself that this pronoun business is

a very awkward thing for the unaccustomed tongue. I suppose that in all

languages the similarities of look and sound between words which have

no similarity in meaning are a fruitful source of perplexity to the

foreigner. It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the

German. Now there is that troublesome word _vermühlt_: to me it has

so close a resemblance–either real or fancied–to three or four other

words, that I never know whether it means despised, painted, suspected,

or married; until I look in the dictionary, and then I find it means the

latter. There are lots of such words and they are a great torment. To

increase the difficulty there are words which _seem_ to resemble each

other, and yet do not; but they make just as much trouble as if they

did. For instance, there is the word _vermiethen_ (to let, to lease, to

hire); and the word _verheirathen_ (another way of saying to marry).

I heard of an Englishman who knocked at a man’s door in Heidelberg and

proposed, in the best German he could command, to „verheirathen“ that

house. Then there are some words which mean one thing when you emphasize

the first syllable, but mean something very different if you throw the

emphasis on the last syllable. For instance, there is a word which

means a runaway, or the act of glancing through a book, according to the

placing of the emphasis; and another word which signifies to _associate_

with a man, or to _avoid_ him, according to where you put the

emphasis–and you can generally depend on putting it in the wrong place

and getting into trouble.


There are some exceedingly useful words in this language. _Schlag_, for

example; and _zug_. There are three-quarters of a column of _schlags_

in the dictonary, and a column and a half of _zugs_. The word _schlag_

means Blow, Stroke, Dash, Hit, Shock, Clap, Slap, Time, Bar, Coin,

Stamp, Kind, Sort, Manner, Way, Apoplexy, Wood-cutting, Enclosure,

Field, Forest-clearing. This is its simple and _exact_ meaning–that

is to say, its restricted, its fettered meaning; but there are ways by

which you can set it free, so that it can soar away, as on the wings of

the morning, and never be at rest. You can hang any word you please

to its tail, and make it mean anything you want to. You can begin

with _schlag-ader_, which means artery, and you can hang on the whole

dictionary, word by word, clear through the alphabet to _schlag-wasser_,

which means bilge-water–and including _schlag-mutte_R, which means



Just the same with _zug_. Strictly speaking, _zug_ means Pull, Tug,

Draught, Procession, March, Progress, Flight, Direction, Expedition,

Train, Caravan, Passage, Stroke, Touch, Line, Flourish, Trait of

Character, Feature, Lineament, Chess-move, Organ-stop, Team, Whiff,

Bias, Drawer, Propensity, Inhalation, Disposition: but that thing which

it does _not_ mean–when all its legitimate pennants have been hung on,

has not been discovered yet.


One cannot overestimate the usefulness of _schlag_ and _zug_. Armed just

with these two, and the word _also_, what cannot the foreigner on German

soil accomplish? The German word _also_ is the equivalent of the English

phrase „You know,“ and does not mean anything at all–in _talk_, though

it sometimes does in print. Every time a German opens his mouth an

_also_ falls out; and every time he shuts it he bites one in two that

was trying to _get_ out.


Now, the foreigner, equipped with these three noble words, is master of

the situation. Let him talk right along, fearlessly; let him pour his

indifferent German forth, and when he lacks for a word, let him heave

a _schlag_ into the vacuum; all the chances are that it fits it like a

plug, but if it doesn’t let him promptly heave a _zug_ after it; the two

together can hardly fail to bung the hole; but if, by a miracle, they

_should_ fail, let him simply say _also_! and this will give him a

moment’s chance to think of the needful word. In Germany, when you load

your conversational gun it is always best to throw in a _schlag_ or two

and a _zug_ or two, because it doesn’t make any difference how much

the rest of the charge may scatter, you are bound to bag something with

_them_. Then you blandly say _also_, and load up again. Nothing gives

such an air of grace and elegance and unconstraint to a German or an

English conversation as to scatter it full of „Also’s“ or „You knows.“


In my note-book I find this entry:


July 1.–In the hospital yesterday, a word of thirteen syllables was

successfully removed from a patient–a North German from near Hamburg;

but as most unfortunately the surgeons had opened him in the wrong

place, under the impression that he contained a panorama, he died. The

sad event has cast a gloom over the whole community.


That paragraph furnishes a text for a few remarks about one of the most

curious and notable features of my subject–the length of German words.

Some German words are so long that they have a perspective. Observe

these examples:





These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions. And they

are not rare; one can open a German newspaper at any time and see them

marching majestically across the page–and if he has any imagination

he can see the banners and hear the music, too. They impart a martial

thrill to the meekest subject. I take a great interest in these

curiosities. Whenever I come across a good one, I stuff it and put it in

my museum. In this way I have made quite a valuable collection. When I

get duplicates, I exchange with other collectors, and thus increase the

variety of my stock. Here are some specimens which I lately bought at an

auction sale of the effects of a bankrupt bric-a-brac hunter:









Of course when one of these grand mountain ranges goes stretching across

the printed page, it adorns and ennobles that literary landscape–but at

the same time it is a great distress to the new student, for it blocks

up his way; he cannot crawl under it, or climb over it, or tunnel

through it. So he resorts to the dictionary for help, but there is no

help there. The dictionary must draw the line somewhere–so it leaves

this sort of words out. And it is right, because these long things are

hardly legitimate words, but are rather combinations of words, and the

inventor of them ought to have been killed. They are compound words with

the hyphens left out. The various words used in building them are in

the dictionary, but in a very scattered condition; so you can hunt the

materials out, one by one, and get at the meaning at last, but it is a

tedious and harassing business. I have tried this process upon some of

the above examples. „Freundshaftsbezeigungen“ seems to be „Friendship

demonstrations,“ which is only a foolish and clumsy way of saying

„demonstrations of friendship.“ „Unabhängigkeitserklärungen“ seems to be

„Independencedeclarations,“ which is no improvement upon

„Declarations of Independence,“ so far as I can see.

„Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen“ seems to be

„General-statesrepresentativesmeetings,“ as nearly as I can get at it–a

mere rhythmical, gushy euphemism for „meetings of the legislature,“

I judge. We used to have a good deal of this sort of crime in our

literature, but it has gone out now. We used to speak of a thing as a

„never-to-be-forgotten“ circumstance, instead of cramping it into the

simple and sufficient word „memorable“ and then going calmly about our

business as if nothing had happened. In those days we were not content

to embalm the thing and bury it decently, we wanted to build a monument

over it.


But in our newspapers the compounding-disease lingers a little to the

present day, but with the hyphens left out, in the German fashion. This

is the shape it takes: instead of saying „Mr. Simmons, clerk of the

county and district courts, was in town yesterday,“ the new form puts

it thus: „Clerk of the County and District Courts Simmons was in town

yesterday.“ This saves neither time nor ink, and has an awkward sound

besides. One often sees a remark like this in our papers: „_Mrs_.

Assistant District Attorney Johnson returned to her city residence

yesterday for the season.“ That is a case of really unjustifiable

compounding; because it not only saves no time or trouble, but confers

a title on Mrs. Johnson which she has no right to. But these little

instances are trifles indeed, contrasted with the ponderous and dismal

German system of piling jumbled compounds together. I wish to submit the

following local item, from a Mannheim journal, by way of illustration:


„In the daybeforeyesterdayshortlyaftereleveno’clock Night, the

inthistownstandingtavern called ‚The Wagoner‘ was downburnt. When the

fire to the onthedownburninghouseresting Stork’s Nest reached, flew

the parent Storks away. But when the bytheraging, firesurrounded

Nest _itself_ caught Fire, straightway plunged the quickreturning

Mother-Stork into the Flames and died, her Wings over her young ones



Even the cumbersome German construction is not able to take the pathos

out of that picture–indeed, it somehow seems to strengthen it. This

item is dated away back yonder months ago. I could have used it sooner,

but I was waiting to hear from the Father-stork. I am still waiting.


„_Also_!“ If I had not shown that the German is a difficult language, I

have at least intended to do so. I have heard of an American student

who was asked how he was getting along with his German, and who answered

promptly: „I am not getting along at all. I have worked at it hard for

three level months, and all I have got to show for it is one solitary

German phrase–‚_zwei glas_'“ (two glasses of beer). He paused for

a moment, reflectively; then added with feeling: „But I’ve got that



And if I have not also shown that German is a harassing and infuriating

study, my execution has been at fault, and not my intent. I heard lately

of a worn and sorely tried American student who used to fly to a certain

German word for relief when he could bear up under his aggravations no

longer–the only word whose sound was sweet and precious to his ear and

healing to his lacerated spirit. This was the word _damit_. It was only

the _sound_ that helped him, not the meaning; [3] and so, at last, when

he learned that the emphasis was not on the first syllable, his only

stay and support was gone, and he faded away and died.


3. It merely means, in its general sense, „herewith.“


I think that a description of any loud, stirring, tumultuous episode

must be tamer in German than in English. Our descriptive words of this

character have such a deep, strong, resonant sound, while their German

equivalents do seem so thin and mild and energyless. Boom, burst, crash,

roar, storm, bellow, blow, thunder, explosion; howl, cry, shout, yell,

groan; battle, hell. These are magnificent words; the have a force and

magnitude of sound befitting the things which they describe. But their

German equivalents would be ever so nice to sing the children to sleep

with, or else my awe-inspiring ears were made for display and not for

superior usefulness in analyzing sounds. Would any man want to die in a

battle which was called by so tame a term as a _schlacht_? Or would not

a comsumptive feel too much bundled up, who was about to go out, in

a shirt-collar and a seal-ring, into a storm which the bird-song word

_gewitter_ was employed to describe? And observe the strongest of

the several German equivalents for explosion–_ausbruch_. Our word

Toothbrush is more powerful than that. It seems to me that the

Germans could do worse than import it into their language to

describe particularly tremendous explosions with. The German word for

hell–Hoelle–sounds more like _helly_ than anything else; therefore,

how necessarily chipper, frivolous, and unimpressive it is. If a man

were told in German to go there, could he really rise to thee dignity of

feeling insulted?


Having pointed out, in detail, the several vices of this language, I

now come to the brief and pleasant task of pointing out its virtues. The

capitalizing of the nouns I have already mentioned. But far before this

virtue stands another–that of spelling a word according to the sound of

it. After one short lesson in the alphabet, the student can tell how any

German word is pronounced without having to ask; whereas in our language

if a student should inquire of us, „What does B, O, W, spell?“ we should

be obliged to reply, „Nobody can tell what it spells when you set if off

by itself; you can only tell by referring to the context and finding out

what it signifies–whether it is a thing to shoot arrows with, or a nod

of one’s head, or the forward end of a boat.“


There are some German words which are singularly and powerfully

effective. For instance, those which describe lowly, peaceful, and

affectionate home life; those which deal with love, in any and all

forms, from mere kindly feeling and honest good will toward the passing

stranger, clear up to courtship; those which deal with outdoor Nature,

in its softest and loveliest aspects–with meadows and forests, and

birds and flowers, the fragrance and sunshine of summer, and the

moonlight of peaceful winter nights; in a word, those which deal with

any and all forms of rest, repose, and peace; those also which deal with

the creatures and marvels of fairyland; and lastly and chiefly, in

those words which express pathos, is the language surpassingly rich

and affective. There are German songs which can make a stranger to the

language cry. That shows that the _sound_ of the words is correct–it

interprets the meanings with truth and with exactness; and so the ear is

informed, and through the ear, the heart.


The Germans do not seem to be afraid to repeat a word when it is the

right one. They repeat it several times, if they choose. That is

wise. But in English, when we have used a word a couple of times in a

paragraph, we imagine we are growing tautological, and so we are weak

enough to exchange it for some other word which only approximates

exactness, to escape what we wrongly fancy is a greater blemish.

Repetition may be bad, but surely inexactness is worse.


There are people in the world who will take a great deal of trouble to

point out the faults in a religion or a language, and then go blandly

about their business without suggesting any remedy. I am not that kind

of person. I have shown that the German language needs reforming. Very

well, I am ready to reform it. At least I am ready to make the proper

suggestions. Such a course as this might be immodest in another; but I

have devoted upward of nine full weeks, first and last, to a careful and

critical study of this tongue, and thus have acquired a confidence in

my ability to reform it which no mere superficial culture could have

conferred upon me.


In the first place, I would leave out the Dative case. It confuses the

plurals; and, besides, nobody ever knows when he is in the Dative case,

except he discover it by accident–and then he does not know when or

where it was that he got into it, or how long he has been in it, or

how he is ever going to get out of it again. The Dative case is but an

ornamental folly–it is better to discard it.


In the next place, I would move the Verb further up to the front. You

may load up with ever so good a Verb, but I notice that you never really

bring down a subject with it at the present German range–you only

cripple it. So I insist that this important part of speech should be

brought forward to a position where it may be easily seen with the naked


Thirdly, I would import some strong words from the English tongue–to

swear with, and also to use in describing all sorts of vigorous things

in a vigorous way. [4]


1. „Verdammt,“ and its variations and enlargements, are words which have

plenty of meaning, but the _sounds_ are so mild and ineffectual that

German ladies can use them without sin. German ladies who could not be

induced to commit a sin by any persuasion or compulsion, promptly rip

out one of these harmless little words when they tear their dresses or

don’t like the soup. It sounds about as wicked as our „My gracious.“

German ladies are constantly saying, „Ach! Gott!“ „Mein Gott!“ „Gott in

Himmel!“ „Herr Gott“ „Der Herr Jesus!“ etc. They think our ladies have

the same custom, perhaps; for I once heard a gentle and lovely old

German lady say to a sweet young American girl: „The two languages are

so alike–how pleasant that is; we say ‚Ach! Gott!‘ you say ‚Goddamn.'“


Fourthly, I would reorganizes the sexes, and distribute them accordingly

to the will of the creator. This as a tribute of respect, if nothing


Fifthly, I would do away with those great long compounded words; or

require the speaker to deliver them in sections, with intermissions for

refreshments. To wholly do away with them would be best, for ideas are

more easily received and digested when they come one at a time than when

they come in bulk. Intellectual food is like any other; it is pleasanter

and more beneficial to take it with a spoon than with a shovel.


Sixthly, I would require a speaker to stop when he is done, and not

hang a string of those useless „haven sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden

seins“ to the end of his oration. This sort of gewgaws undignify a

speech, instead of adding a grace. They are, therefore, an offense, and

should be discarded.


Seventhly, I would discard the Parenthesis. Also the reparenthesis, the

re-reparenthesis, and the re-re-re-re-re-reparentheses, and likewise

the final wide-reaching all-enclosing king-parenthesis. I would require

every individual, be he high or low, to unfold a plain straightforward

tale, or else coil it and sit on it and hold his peace. Infractions of

this law should be punishable with death.


And eighthly, and last, I would retain _zug_ and _schlag_, with their

pendants, and discard the rest of the vocabulary. This would simplify

the language.


I have now named what I regard as the most necessary and important

changes. These are perhaps all I could be expected to name for nothing;

but there are other suggestions which I can and will make in case my

proposed application shall result in my being formally employed by the

government in the work of reforming the language.


My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to

learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French

in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then,

that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is

to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among

the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.





Gentlemen: Since I arrived, a month ago, in this old wonderland, this

vast garden of Germany, my English tongue has so often proved a useless

piece of baggage to me, and so troublesome to carry around, in a country

where they haven’t the checking system for luggage, that I finally set

to work, and learned the German language. Also! Es freut mich dass dies

so ist, denn es muss, in ein hauptsächlich degree, höflich sein, dass

man auf ein occasion like this, sein Rede in die Sprache des Landes

worin he boards, aussprechen soll. Dafuer habe ich, aus reinische

Verlegenheit–no, Vergangenheit–no, I mean Höflichkeit–aus reinishe

Höflichkeit habe ich resolved to tackle this business in the German

language, um Gottes willen! Also! Sie muessen so freundlich sein, und

verzeih mich die interlarding von ein oder zwei Englischer Worte, hie

und da, denn ich finde dass die deutsche is not a very copious language,

and so when you’ve really got anything to say, you’ve got to draw on a

language that can stand the strain.


Wenn haber man kann nicht meinem Rede Verstehen, so werde ich ihm später

dasselbe uebersetz, wenn er solche Dienst verlangen wollen haben werden

sollen sein hätte. (I don’t know what wollen haben werden sollen sein

hätte means, but I notice they always put it at the end of a German

sentence–merely for general literary gorgeousness, I suppose.)


This is a great and justly honored day–a day which is worthy of the

veneration in which it is held by the true patriots of all climes and

nationalities–a day which offers a fruitful theme for thought

and speech; und meinem Freunde–no, mein_en_ Freund_en_–mein_es_

Freund_es_–well, take your choice, they’re all the same price; I don’t

know which one is right–also! ich habe gehabt haben worden gewesen

sein, as Goethe says in his Paradise Lost–ich–ich–that is to

say–ich–but let us change cars.


Also! Die Anblich so viele Grossbrittanischer und Amerikanischer

hier zusammengetroffen in Bruderliche concord, ist zwar a welcome and

inspiriting spectacle. And what has moved you to it? Can the

terse German tongue rise to the expression of this impulse? Is it


Nein, O nein! This is a crisp and noble word, but it fails to pierce

the marrow of the impulse which has gathered this friendly meeting and

produced diese Anblick–eine Anblich welche ist gut zu sehen–gut fuer

die Augen in a foreign land and a far country–eine Anblick solche als

in die gewöhnliche Heidelberger phrase nennt man ein „schönes Aussicht!“

Ja, freilich natürlich wahrscheinlich ebensowohl! Also! Die Aussicht auf

dem Koenigsstuhl mehr grösser ist, aber geistlische sprechend nicht

so schön, lob‘ Gott! Because sie sind hier zusammengetroffen, in

Bruderlichem concord, ein grossen Tag zu feirn, whose high benefits were

not for one land and one locality, but have conferred a measure of

good upon all lands that know liberty today, and love it. Hundert Jahre

vorueber, waren die Engländer und die Amerikaner Feinde; aber heut sind

sie herzlichen Freunde, Gott sei Dank! May this good-fellowship endure;

may these banners here blended in amity so remain; may they never

any more wave over opposing hosts, or be stained with blood which was

kindred, is kindred, and always will be kindred, until a line drawn

upon a map shall be able to say: „_This_ bars the ancestral blood from

flowing in the veins of the descendant!“

Heidelberg Castle Illumination and fireworks

Heidelberg Schlossbeleuchtung - Castle Illumination - Foto: Heidelberg-bilder.de

The spectacular castle illuminations with fireworks attract not only thousands of local visitors, but enthusiastic viewers from all over the world in June, July and September each year. On sunny days, the northern riverside of the Neckar fills up with people, equipped with blankets and picnic supplies. They enjoy the afternoon and wait for the illumination. The nocturnal entertainment starts about 22 p.m.

Besides the location on the riverside, you could  walk up the “Philosopher’s Walk” on the hill opposite the castle, or enjoy the spectacle from the old town or the castle itself. The local Rhein-Neckar-Fahrgastschifffahrt, with its ships, stay on the Neckar throughout the event and combine the airy colours with their reflections in the river.

The fireworks has a 400 year old tradition, as the first one was held by the Elector-Palatinate, Friedrich V, who brought his bride Elisabeth Stuart in 1613 to Heidelberg and gave her a welcome with a glorious fireworks.


The 2014 schedule:

June, 07th, 2014

July, 12th, 2014

September 06th, 2014



Finkenbach Festival – Krautrock de Luxe in August

Finkenbach Festival 2014 - Flyer

Have you ever heard of „Krautrock„? It’s a specific German kind of rock music, which originated in the late 1960ies. The term was attributed to the music of this time by the English-speaking world but it was „adopted“ in Germany, too. The term reflected the reception of the music at the time and was not a reference to any one particular scene, style, or movement – many krautrock artists were not familiar with one another.

One mastermind of Krautrock is the drummer Mani Neumeier, head of „Guru Guru“ an organiser of the famous event Finkenbach Festival“, since the early 1970ies. This year the festival will take place on two days, 15th and 16th, August 2014. A special highlight, besides the madatory performance of „Guru Guru“ will be the last concert of „Kraan“, which is one of the most praised Krautrock band.

Over the two days all around the festival stage, a huge free camping site is offered, some of the fans arrive days before the festival and begin to celebrate their festival of peace & love and great music. The location of the festival is 35 km from Heidelberg, up the river Neckar and some km in a side valley. Beautiful location with authentic Odenwald-feeling in the nature.



Freitag, ab 19:00 Uhr (Einlass 17:00 Uhr):
Faust – 19:00 Uhr
The Brew (UK) – 21:00 Uhr
Kraan – 23:00 Uhr
Bröselmaschine – 01:00 Uhr

Samstag, ab 15:00 Uhr (Einlass 13.00 Uhr):
Embryo – 15:00 Uhr
Marblewood (CH) – 17:00 Uhr
The Quireboys – 19:00 Uhr
Guru Guru – 21:00 Uhr
The Pretty Things – 23:00 Uhr
Simeon Soul Chargers – 01:00 Uhr


Heidelberg - Finkenbach - Route

The 10 things you will love in Heidelberg

Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

Photo: Heidelberg Castle

1. Heidelberg Castle

Ok – let’s face it: you can’t overlook it, you probably came along just to see it and actually it is the most impressive building in town: Heidelberg Castle – the Heidelberger Schloss. It’s romantic look an unique appearance of castle, old bridge and old town attracts roundabout 3.5 Million day-trippers a year and 1 Million overnight guests (which is a quite alot, considering the population of 130.000 people, from which are ca. 30.000 students).
You should consider two ways to approach the castle. To have a wonderful view at the castle, the old town and the bridge, switch to the other side of the river Neckar and take a walk up the „Philosophenweg“. You’ll have a steep rise, but you’ll be rewarded with the most wonderful look over the city and the to the castle vis-à-vis. The other approach is the direct one: enter the castle, have the close-up of the ruin (which the Heidelberg Schloss mostly is) and stroll through its park. You’ll probably have a lot of co-visitors, especially through the summer months, weekends… – I hate these crowds of people and my advice is to come early or late. But that’s the same old thing with every touristic destination. Inside the castle you have to pay to enter the castle’s court (hey, those bastards let the locals pay the same price…) and inside the castle you might want to have  a look at the the famous „big barrel“, which is – imho – not too impressive. There’s the „Deutsche Apothekenmuseum“ (German Pharmacy Museum) in the castle, too – if you’re interested in that kind of stuff…


Photo: Bergfriedhof Heidelberg

2. The Bergfriedhof.

As I tend to visist the graveyards in cities I visit, I assume, that other people like to do that, too ;-). I think, that graveyards and tombstones tell us quite a lot about the local people and that’s one of the most interesting things, visiting a foreign city. The Bergfriedhof is situated near downtown and has a history of more than 17o years.  A wide area, situated on a hillside with large trees, impressive old and new tombstones, with the character of a romantic park (you can see some impressions of the Bergfriedhof here).


Prinzhorn Sammlung - Barszene aus "Bildnerei der Geisteskranken"

3. The Prinzhorn Collection.

Hans Prinzhorn (June 6, 1886 – June 14, 1933) was a German psychiatrist and art historian. He became famous for the publication of his book „Bildnerei der Geisteskranken“ (Artistry of the Mentally Ill), which was richly illustrated with works of his patients. In 1919 he became assistant to Karl Wilmanns at the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg, whete he was assigned the job, to expand an earlier collection of art created by the mentally ill, which was started by Emil Kraepelin. When he left in 1921 the collection was extended to more than 5000 works by about 450 „cases“. His book was disputed in the community of psychatrists, but the reaction of the art scene was ethusiastic. Jean Dubuffet was highly inspired by the works, and the term Art Brut was coined. Prinzhorn died in 1933, and shortly after his death the Prinzhorn Collection was stowed away in the attics of the Heidelberg University. In 1938 some items of the collection were displayed in the Nazi propaganda exhibition „Entartete Kunst“ (Degenerate Art). Since 2001 the collection is on display in a former oratory of the University of Heidelberg and has gained an immense popularity in the world of art. The curators of the Prinzhorn collection compose selected exhibitions from the complete stock of images and sculptures. The original book „Bildnerei der Geisteskranken“ is available onlinePrinzhorn Sammlung.


4. The Botanical Garden Heidelberg

Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

The Heidelberg Botanical Garden ist the third oldest in Germany and was founded in 1593 (200 years after the university). It was first located in Heidelberg’s old town but moved afterwards seven times. The current garden is located at the Neuenheimer Feld since 1915. It was mostly destroyed at the end of the second world war. Most of its current famous collections were obtained under the direction of Prof. Werner Rauh, who was in charge of the garden from 1960-1982, comprising succulents, orchids and bromeliads. The botanical garden is also a resting point, a quiet place in the city, definitely worth a visit.

| A gallery from the Botanical Garden Heidelberg

| Botanical Garden Heidelberg


This whole site is under construction, just as this page. As a native, it’s a tough decision to choose the top ten 😉 -you might propose your own a the bulletin board!