The landscape is still flourishing – Institute of Germany

Outside of old West Berlin, few people in Germany have a warm heart towards Hertha. The same goes for the best football club from the east of the country: RB Leipzig. Leipzig is not very popular among the general public. The club was founded thirteen years ago by the Austrian producer of a popular energy drink. Without tradition, without supporters, without members. The sponsor does not want members to influence club policy. Over the past ten years, this club has achieved an unprecedented rise from the fifth tier to the German Bundesliga and plays in the UEFA Champions League. Last weekend, “Rote Bullen” won a major title for the first time: the German Cup. success story.

It’s not just football that writes success stories, in part with foreign help. More than thirty years ago, after the fall of the Wall, Chancellor Helmut Kohl spoke prophetic words about the flourishing landscapes that would soon appear in East Germany. It took more than a generation, but now it’s really starting to bloom here and there. Tech giants like Tesla and Intel have German and even European manufacturing sites in East Germany and that’s just the cutting edge of innovation. Even all the major cities in the East are seeing population growth again after years of leaving, while many West German cities are shrinking or becoming poor.

The success of the East was not accidental. It’s the result of a combination of factors, all of which take time to unfold: location, science, and years of investment.

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While in the West there have been nearly continuous cutbacks over the past thirty years, in the East the entire infrastructure has been completely renovated. The location in the heart of Europe is an advantage too. East Germany is an important link between Eastern and Western Europe. Interestingly, East German cities, including Berlin, were already the beating economic heart of the Weimar Republic and the imperial years.

In addition to massive public investment, location, infrastructure, and scientific and research institutions also play an important role. East Germany now has countless universities and think tanks, often with artistic subjects. This innovative force combined with the low cost of housing and living has boosted the attractiveness of East Germany in recent years. Meanwhile, not only the East Germans who left are returning, the West Germans are also moving east. If the new geopolitical reality leads to more production returning to (Eastern) Europe, then East Germany will prosper even more.

Money can make a great football club, but a good investment policy and patience to make great talent are more important. The good mix of factors in the prosperity of East Germany makes me dream of the opportunities for Hertha. Although I have a little patience.

This column is republished – with permission – from De Tejd.

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