Camp King Park

Camp King Park in Oberursel on a sunny afternoon in the Easter holidays

Camp King Park in Oberursel on a sunny afternoon in the Easter holidays

Germany’s first garage

Most people who know something about 20th Century German history, will know that the name “Volkswagen” is a translation of “people’s car”, and that the idea behind the Volkswagen was to create a car that a large part of the population of could afford.  It led to the the town of Wolfsburg being built in 1938 (although it only become known as such in 1945) to house the production plant for the cars.

What many are not aware of – myself included until recently – is where these cars were to be kept.  Obviously most of the houses built before 1938 did not have garages.  Certainly the housing used by the part of the popular expected to buy the Volkswagen did not have them.  This led to a Volksgarage being designed.

I do not know if it was ever called that, but I do know where it was built and where the very first and possibly only example of one is today.

In 1938 there was an exhibition in Frankfurt called the “1. Deutschen Bau- und Siedlungsausstellung”.  The exhibition contained examples of buildings that were to be used in new German settlements, such as the new town of “Zeppelinheim”.  Amongst these buildings were timbered houses, a town hall, even a fountain.  And what is allegedly Germany’s first garage.

At the end of the exhibition, many of the buildings were dismantled and re-assembled to the north of Oberursel in an area that was being used to teach people about farming, the so-called Reichssiedlungsschule.  This area later became known as “Camp King”.

Germany's first garage, built 1938, now in Oberursel, a listed building

Germany's first garage, now in Oberursel

That very first garage was one of them, and can still be seen here today.  It is now a listed building.

Winter in Germany

With Germany experiencing the coldest winter for 13 years we decided to change our plans for the weekend and took our sledge out instead.

This gave us not only a rare chance to go sledging on the hills of Camp King, but also to talk about some of the things that German residents – and possibly long-term visitors – need to know about: Winter tyres, snow-clearing duty and a lack of salt.

Sledging in Camp King

Sledging in Camp King

To find out more, listen to the podcast:

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