Week 4: The story of Duisburg
When I found out that I would be spending my summer in Duisburg, I honestly had to look up where Duisburg was. I didn’t even know in what region of Germanyit was in.
In the industrial age, Duisburg was an important harbor port for Germany and was home to the country’s most important steel and coal industries. Because of this, during World War II, the region was severely bombed. From stories I’ve heard, it is my understanding that the population of Duisburg literally disappeared for some time after the war. Even today, this area is struggling with its economy. At night, Duisburg feels a bit like a ghost town; the streets are empty and dark, but oddly enough, it still feels safe, really safe. I’ve visited many other cities in the region, including Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, and Aachen, but none of them have the same feeling as Duisburg. Duisburg really is an industrial region, much like the rust belt of the states, if you will.
There isn’t all that much to do in a city like Duisburg, but there are the simple joys of walking around town, especially on the main pedestrian walking street in the center of town, which is complete with great bakeries, ice cream shops, and back to back malls. On weekends, I’m traveling all over the place. I bought a Europass that lets me take the fast trains anywhere in Germany or to the Benelux countries, so most weekends I’m riding the train all over Germany. With my student ID card, I can also take any regional train in my state, so I’ve been to many of the cities here including Bonn (known for being the birthplace of Beethoven), Aachen (known for being Charlemagne’s preferred residence and for its natural healing spas), and most notably, to Cologne to see one of Germany’s main attraction: the Cologne Cathedral.
When everything but cafes and restaurants are closed on Sundays, the city really comes alive. Families, friends, and old couples walk the promenade along the Rhine River and window shop different stores in the city. I used to think that Sundays were slightly boring because nothing was open, but I’ve learned from the locals to cherish Sundays. I’ve learned the true value of window shopping, relaxing over a drink, and taking time to really reflect on the week… and also to write this blog!
About the Blogger
Pin-Wen Wang is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Harvard (class of 2014). This summer Pin-WenPin-Wen will be studying light’s affect/effect on Nanoparticles at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. When she's not trying to figure out why there are so many e's in "engineer", Pin-Wen likes to play frisbee, cook, and try new foods from all over the world. Her favorite color is orange, and it's unlikely you'll forget that when you see her walking across Harvard Yard in the winter with her bright orange puffer jacket.