A visit to the Hessentag in Wetzlar

A flag at the Hessentag in WetzlarHaving spent ten days last year writing about the Hessentag in Oberursel, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to visit the event this year in Wetzlar.  Although I did not set out to do a direct comparison with last year, the headline in the Oberurseler Woche claiming “Oberursel war schöner” (Oberursel was nicer) intrigued me as well.

And so it was that I set off on Friday morning to drive to Wetzlar, which is about 45 minutes by motorway from Oberursel.

I followed the signs from the motorway exit to the car park, and my heart sunk when I saw which one the route had taken me to: P12.  The furthest car park away from the Hessentag area!

Luckily there was a shuttle bus to take me into town.  Unluckily it did not actually leave from the car park, so my Hessentag experience started with a short walk through a field alongside a river, to where the bus was waiting.  It must say something about the distances involved that there were even toilets laid on for people waiting for the bus at this point. [Read more…]

Why Oberursel’s Hessentag deficit is larger than expected

The big wheel at Oberusel's station

Last year the Hessentag in Oberursel took up quite a bit of the town’s resources and also was covered quite extensively on this blog.

Today the day arrived when one of the key questions after the event was answered: “how much did it all cost?”, or to be more precise – how big was the loss that the town’s finances have been left with.

The original budget was for a loss of 3½ million Euro.  In the end, it turned out to be 4½ million.  An addition €836,000 were spent by the town’s own service department (BSO) and €503,000 on personnel costs.  However these are not included in the deficit as to a certain extent they would have been spent anyway on the normal day-to-day running of services in the town.

So what went wrong? [Read more…]

Last words on the Hessentag

Oberursel and Hessentag flagsThe Hessentag finished a month ago today, and yet the official events are not quite over.

In the end, around 1.4 million people came to Oberursel to visit the Hessentag, breaking the previous record with the procession on the last day alone having almost 4,000 participants.

Next week (25th-29th July) the remaining merchandise will be sold off in the foyer of the Rathaus.

And then… something typically German happens.  A by-law called the Hessische Gemeindeordnung (HGO) contains a paragraph (§ 8a) which calls for something called a Bürgerversammlung – a citizen’s meeting.  Such a meeting is taking place in the Stadthalle in Oberursel on Monday, 8th August, 2011 at 7pm.

Both supporters and critics of the Hessentag will be given the chance to put forward their opinions of the event, although I hope they do listen to the critics more than they did at the last information evening that I attended in December 2010.

Maybe the last word has not yet been heard…

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