Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I would like to invite you to our next Stammtisch to coincide with ‘Oktoberfest’ week held at the Broad Chare at Newcastle’s Quayside. I have reserved a table on Tuesday, 8 October from 7pmclick here for a link to the Broad Chare and food options on the day. Please let me know if you would like to join us as I need to give the Broad Chare numbers by the weekend.

This Friday – 4 October – there is also a joint UK-German concert in the St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle’s city centre. German Winds, which is led by Sven Hellinghausen, is visiting the North East and Scotland for a series of three concerts.

50 musicians are travelling over from Germany (they will even bring along three alpine horns) to perform with a further 30 musicians of the Alnwick Playhouse Concert Band. The evening programme will include a varied repertoire of music including Classical, Pop and Swing. Tickets cost £10/person, with the proceeds going to North Northumberland Hospice, which has wellbeing centres in Alnwick and Berwick.

Last month, Germany but also many other countries around the world celebrated 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt. Germany even issued a new stamp in his honour. If you do not know much about this explorer, polymath, scientist, adventurer, communications expert (actually hard to find a description for him), then I can recommend Andrea Wulf‘s book ‘Alexander von Humboldt & The Invention of Nature’/’Erfindung der Natur‘. And if you rather watch and follow his footsteps, there’s a new DW documentary on his travels in the Americas on YouTube. Another older documentary entitled ‘Natural Traveller‘ features Christopher Eccleston, with contributions for example from David Attenborough.

UK German Connections is currently inviting applications for Cultural Exchange Ambassadors. So if you are/know either a Language Assistant in Germany or the UK – then check out this website. This initiative aims to enhance Language Assistantship and for participants to gain valuable project management skills, to lead bicultural projects and create connections between UK & German schools. Deadline for applications is Thursday, 17 October 2019.

I wish you a good week and maybe see you at one of the forthcoming events!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

We’re currently planning a few events here in the region and maybe there are some you would like to join in:

On Sunday, 30 June 2019, the Martin Luther Kirche is organising its annual Grillfest in Shieldfield, Newcastle. There is a family service from 3pm to 4pm, the bbq starts at 4pm to 7pm. Entrance donation is £1 per person (children under 10 are free) with the proceeds going to the North of England Child Cancer Research and the German Church. To get tickets – please call Oliver on: 07811 109 312

You may heard of the numerous sightings of dolphins at our coastline. I recently also met a lady through my consular work, who made me aware of the Dolphin Watch Association in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. The next Dolphin Watch event will take place on Saturday, 6 July and I thought this may be good for a Stammtisch get-together at 11am at Church Point in Newbiggin. There is plenty of car parking next to the Marine Centre, where we can later head for refreshments. There is also the Newbiggin Dolphin Watch Group on Facebook, where you can follow the sightings, photos and videos. This event is open to all ages and if you have binoculars, bring them along! Please let me know if you’re planning to come so that I get an idea of numbers.

Other events I am currently considering are:

‘Vera’ Tour: to visit some of the film locations for this detective series
‘Project Auckland’: I was recently invited to a visit to this market town in County Durham and it is very impressive what is being developed there
– A Bavarian Movie with a short ‘language’ class

You may have also seen the news that Lufthansa has announced a new flight from Newcastle to Munich, not only connecting our region with the Bavarian capital, but also to a hub to another 140 destinations in 46 countries. You can already book the Munich flights now, which will commence in February 2020. Lufthansa will fly six days a week, leaving the North East at 1.40pm and arriving in Munich at 4.40pm. The inbound flight departs in Munich at 11.50am and arrives in Newcastle at 12:55. The German market is particularly important for business travellers as it’s the largest trading partner for the UK after the US.

The ferry service from Amsterdam to North Shields also brings many visitors to our region and hence DFDS Seaways are currently recruiting bi-lingual (German & English) travel advisors for their contact centre here at the Port of Tyne in North Shields.

I just returned from Germany and it is now my young nephews who keep me up to date of what’s going on there. This time I was introduced to Die Känguru-Chroniken (it was popular with my 10-year old nephew, but also the grown ups in the family). You can either buy a book, the audio book or watch some short YouTube videos. The author, Marc-Uwe Kling, who also reads the short stories, is a song-writer and comedian. It is difficult to explain, but it’s about Marc-Uwe sharing his Berlin flat with a very opinionated kangaroo. Here is a link to the episode ‘Theorie & Praxis’.

Make the most of the longest day of the year!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

It’s all about crime fiction this weekend. From 3 – 5 May, Newcastle Noir will feature over 25 crime fiction related talks, panels, readings, film screenings and writing workshops. There are also over 80 authors from all over the world coming to Newcastle to tell us about their crime and noir work.

From Germany, there is a session on Saturday afternoon with Simone Buchholz, the winner of the German Crime Award 2019 (Deutscher Krimipreis) for ‘Mexikoring’. All the Newcastle Noir events will be hosted at the City Library in Newcastle.

On Brexit – click here for information on the latest FAQ update from the German Embassy – status 4 April 2019.

Until 22 May 2019, young researchers have time to apply for the prestigious “Green Talents – International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development” competition. This is hosted every year by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to promote the international exchange of innovative green ideas. The winners come from numerous countries and scientific disciplines and are recognised for their outstanding achievements in making our societies more sustainable. Selected by a jury of German experts, the award winners are granted unique access to the country’s research elite.

I recently read an interesting article about a Columbian student in Austria. Katherin Reina helps other students of German on Instagram with photos of images or activities using post-it notes. Check it out!

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

We have plenty of autumn events taking place and maybe you will be able to join one or two?

It’s again ‘Oktoberfest Time’ and I would like to invite you to our next Stammtisch on Monday, 9 October 2017 in the Broad Chare in Newcastle for 7pm. I have already reserved two larger tables, so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to join us. This year the Broad Chare celebrate the Oktoberfest from Thursday, 5 October to Friday, 13 October and if you’d like to have a peek beforehand what’s on offer, here’s the menu.

If you’re still looking for things to do this weekend, here are two suggestions:
– 6 mile Culture Crawl tonight in Newcastle in aid of Maggies Centre.
Tynemouth Beer Festival on Friday & Saturday

The Tyneside Cinema will present its ninth season of live satellite opera broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. On Saturday, 14 October you can experience Mozart’s irresistible fantasy Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) in all its glory in an enchanting production with a cast of rising young stars, conducted by Met Music Director Emeritus James Levine.

Here in Alnwick, you’ll be able to attend the European Music Show on Tuesday, 24 October. This is a European Partnership in Education, facilitated and funded by Erasmus. For the past two years, Lindisfarne Middle School students have been collaborating with schools from Paris, Boblingen, Algarrobo and Palermo towards creating an original musical. The story, dialogue in five languages, choreography, music and costumes are all created by middle school students under the supervision of their project coordinators and parent volunteers. They even got the voluntary help of a professional movie director, Luc Porta, from Paris.

Then at the end of next month, Bernhard will host another ‘Kaffeeklatsch‘ in the Kaffeehaus Amadeus in Lanchester – here’s your diary date: Sunday, 29 October from 2.30pm. As usual, please register directly. The Kaffeehaus Amadeus is also planning a Christmas Special on Sunday, 17th December 2017.

On 3 November from 9pm, Newcastle based Jazz Cafe will host Nautilus, a prominent contemporary jazz quartet from Germany. This is one of only three performances that they will be giving in the UK. Nautilus are Leipzig- based drummer and bassist Phillip Scholz and Robert Lucaciu, Cologne-based pianist Jurgen Friedrich and saxophonist Hayden Chisholm from New Zealand. Their brief, three-date UK tour is to promote their album ‘Infrablue,’ released by the London-based label Two Rivers Records.

There are probably various things that you may miss from Germany. InterNations recently put a few ideas together. What do you think about these ‘10 Things the UK needs to adopt from Germany‘? Do you have any other suggestions?

You may have heard of the South African tv host & comedian Trevor Noah. What you may not be aware of is that his father is Swiss and he therefore has been trying to tackle our language – in this YouTube clip he explains more. I can also highly recommend Trevor Noah’s book ‘Born a Crime‘, which describes him growing up in South Africa under Apartheid.

I wish you a lovely weekend!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends,

Next Monday, 15 May 2017 the Language Cafe at the Tyneside Cinema will host a joint French and German event, following the film Frantz. The film will start at around 6.15pm and there will be a discussion in French or German after the film. There are usually three groups, arranged by language level, so that everyone from beginners to fluent speakers can participate.

Also the Martin Luther Church in Shieldfield, Newcastle invites you again to their annual German Grillfest on Saturday, 24 June 2017. The event will start in the afternoon at 4pm and finish around 7pm. There is an entrance donation of £1 per person (children under 10 are free) in aid of the North of England Children’s Cancer Research Fund. To help the organisers plan ahead, please get tickets by either calling Oliver on07811 109 312, email him oliverheidrich@yahoo.com or simply turn up on the day.

If you’re still wondering what to do at the next bank holiday weekend, maybe the Northumberland Show at Bywell Hall near Stocksfield could just be up your street? On Monday, 29 May the finest livestock in the country is on show, there will be ‘bake off’ classes, Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling, a tug of war and Britains Strong Man Challenge Qualifier.

No day goes by and there is another ‘Brexit’ story in the papers and, of course, EU nationals are currently living a little bit in limbo. The German Embassy recently released some FAQs regarding Brexit and the impact on German nationals after the referendum, which you may find informative.

Here is also the lastest DIHK Brexit newsletter, which collates information on the latest events and news on this topic.

Also if somebody has recently taken on British citizienship or applies for the permanent residence status and are happy to share this with others, please let me know. I would also be interested in hearing from people who are planning to return to the EU and the challenges that brings.

However, if you are just planning your holidays, one quick piece of advice! Have a quick at your European Health Card, to make sure it is still valid as they expire and you have to renew them. The process is very simple via the NHS website and you should receive your new card promptly.

Honeywell have also shared information about new roles that have opened recently, both here in the North East and in Scotland. They are careers, requiring German in both Customer Service Administration and Technical Support:

Customer Service Administrator
Customer Care Specialist
Technical Support Specialist

Like many of you, I pick up German books when in the country and I can highly recommend these three – coincidentally, they all had as a common theme leaving a home and settling in a new country:

In ‘33 Bogen und ein Teehaus‘, author Mehrnousch Zaeri-Esfahani describes the journey she made as a 10-year old, when her family fled Iran via Turkey before they arrived first in East and then West Germany.

Dörte Hansen’s first novel ‘Altes Land‘ is based a bit closer to home. It follows the lives of two women – one makes a life for herself in Northern Germany after fleeing East Prussia as a child at the end of the war; another ‘escapes’ her life in Hamburg with her young son.

Bella Italia‘ is the first novel for author Daniel Speck, who already has a successful career as a script writer. The book is all about family, Italy (Sicily, Milan, Naples), Munich, cars, fashion, ‘Gastarbeiter’ and takes you on a journey through time, starting in the mid 1950s to today.

If you have books you would like to recommend to our Stammtisch group, then please forward this to me and I’m happy to share.

All the very best on this sunny day!

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

I would like to invite you to our next Stammtisch on Wednesday, 12 June 2013.

Our evening at the Mansion House in Jesmond will start around 5.30pm with a cold beer on the terrace (yes, there’s also West beer now available in the Mansion House). We will then have dinner in the drawing room and on the menu are 2 Bratwuerste (grilled sausages) with Altbadischem Sauerkraut (white cabbage), Kartoffelbrei (mashed potatoes) and Zwiebelsosse (onion sauce), followed by Apfelstrudel (appel strudel) with ice cream – all for only £10 per person. You pay at the door on the day, but please confirm (or if you have to cancel) with me as the Mansion House will only cater for us on the day.

Being from the sausage capital of the world (Nuremberg) and as they’re on our menu, I thought I’d share some sausage knowledge with you:

One of (or the) most famous sausage restaurants is in Nuremberg and the Bratwursthaeusle and they’ve been making and cooking sausages since 1313.  Germans are so mad about their sausages, they have even dedicated a museum to it. You can visit the Curry Wurst Museum in our capital Berlin. Uli Hoeness is famous as a footballer, being in charge of Bayern Munich and more recently for having trouble with the German equivalent of HMRC. Less known to the outside world, however, is his successful sausage business. Uli’s Wuerste have even been sold at McDonalds and in a ZDF programme, his sausages won the the ‘Knackigste Bratwurst’ award.

So now you’re thinking of ways how to get rid of all these calories. And one of the sports that has gained a following here in the North East since last year’s Olympics is ‘Handball’. Yes, proper handball. Not netball! 🙂 The Newcastle Vikings Handball Club meets at Percy Hedley in Killingworth and is open to newcomers. Their website is great – and you find out all the information you’re after.

And if you still have energy to spare – what about this one: ’24 Hours of Bavaria’. The annual event takes place in Fuessen in 2013 and the walk takes you past famous sights, including the world famous Neuschwanstein. There are various walks, but if you are really hard core, you’ll cover 80km in 24 hours. This year, 24 Hours of Bavaria takes place from 22 to 23 June.

I also have a book recommendation for you from Gunther. ‘Keeping up with the Germans‘ has been described as a witty and incisive look at the lighter-side of Anglo-German relations over the last 100 years. Gunther’s comments were: “Extremely funny… Had me in stichtes and all this I can identify with… A must read!

And online, a Brit in Germany – Adam Fletcher – writes a very funny blog and here are his ’20 Easy Steps to be a German’.

I hope to see many of you in the Mansion House on 12 June & wish you a lovely time until then.

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

It’s been a while since our last Stammtisch and I hope that I can soon organise a venue that will provide some delicious German cuisine.

However, in the absence of food, maybe a bit of humour will make up for it? Germany’s Comedy Ambassador to Great Britain, the very funny Mr Henning Wehn, will be in the North East next month. You may already have tickets for either the Gala Theatre in Durham or the Stand in Newcastle. If not, the Gala Theatre still has tickets for the evening of Sunday, 14 April and they are £12.50/each (the Stand is already sold out). Maybe we’ll see you on one of those nights?

Our Stammtisch members have also been offered a 10% discount for a cottage stay in Perthshire, Scotland for 2013. There are three cottages available, with en-suite bedrooms, modern kitchens and their own private terrace with bbq and garden furniture. They also welcome up to 3 dogs for free and there are storage facilities for your outdoor equipment. For further info, images or testimonials, visit http://cottagesinperthshire.co.uk.

And if you’re travelling to Germany with your kids, you may want to do a brief stopover in Nuremberg. That’s where the Deutsche Bahn opened the Kibala – the new Kinderbahnland – in the DB Museum.

If you are newcomer to the UK and are still struggling a bit with the colloquial English or cultural differences, we’ve had a book recommendation – ‘What’s for tea? – Englisch wie es nicht im Schulbuch steht’ by Claudia Hunt, may just be the one to read. 

We also received another recommendation of a novel entitled „DAS LEBEN IST WIE DER WIND“ von Helmut Jost Krüger. Prussia in the 18th and 19th Century provides the backdrop for the lives of a family over a period of 140 years. The novel is available via Kindle at Amazon.

I also wanted to briefly introduce you to the Cinnamon Trust, which is a national charity that offers support  to people in their last years and their much loved and needed companion animals. If you would like to help their efforts, visit the website. They look for example for volunteers that walk dogs or foster animals if their owner needs to go to hospital.

Well, that’s it from me for today – let me know if you have any particular food wishes, then I can chat to some of the venues, I’ve got in mind. What is your favourite dish that you’re missing and I will try my best!

Enjoy the last snow flakes!

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If you’re still looking for Christmas presents, why not pop along to the Literary & Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil) at Westgate Road.

The largest independent library outside of London holds its annual book sale on Friday 25/Saturday 26 November (10am to 4pm) and Sunday 27 November (12pm to 4pm). Thousands of books will be available on a range of subjects, but also LPs, CDs etc all at reasonable prices.

There will be an entry charge of £1 and all proceeds will go to the Lit & Phil appeal.

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Summer Holidays

In Bavaria, there is an exhibition about King Ludwig II from 14 May to 16 October 2011. It is the 125th anniversary of the mysterious death of the Bavarian King, who left behind the castles of Neuschwanstein, Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof. Related to the Austrian empress Elisabeth and a key supporter of Richard Wagner, the life and death of Ludwig II has been topic of various movies. Other Bavarian places to see are of course the capital Munich, Berchtesgaden, Starnberger 5-Seen Land, regional capital Nürnberg, world heritage site Bamberg or outdoor activities in Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland).

This week, Tommy Jaud’s bestseller  Resturlaub saw its movie premier in Germany. A very funny novel about a man having his midlife crisis plays partly in Franconia and in Argentina. The trailer looks very silly (more a Hangover type of film) and won’t be an Oscar contender, but possibly quite entertaining.  Another bit of ‘easy reading’ would be Bavarian crime novels by Rita Falk. Winterkartoffelknödel was her first book and features an imaginary little village near Landshut. It also includes a glossary of Bavarian terms and some of her gran’s cooking recipes. Click here for a brief interview with the writer.

How real some of these stories described by Rita Falk are, just watch the news in Germany. Parts of Bavaria are currently on alert – no, not rioters – but because of an escaped cow. Yvonne has been on the run for the past two months and even Ernst, a bull brought in this week to provide a ‘honey trap’ has been unsuccessful. For a news video from Stern, click here.

Maybe while walking around Germany, you come across our fugitive cow and what else you can discover is described by Andreas Kieling who recorded his experience in ‘Ein deutscher Wandersommer’. And if you’re around Germany by bike, the ADFC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad Club), Germany’s Cycling Club, provides some suggestions of tours on the 150,000 km of cycling routes in Germany. Deutsche Bahn obviously offers holidays by train.

2011 is also the year of the car. 125 years ago Carl Benz invented the first automobile and Bosch, the company of the inventor of the spark plug – celebrates its 125th company anniversary. Information on events places about the car, can be found by clicking on Automobilsommer Baden-Württemberg, Mercedes-Benz Museum, Porsche Museum, Boxenstop Tübingen, BMW Welt and the VW Museum.

We are currently trying to organise our Stammtisch events list for the autumn/winter and have been in discussion about a book swap event, a travel event, a beer festival and a historical link event (possibly Limes/Hadrian’s Wall). If you have additional ideas or know of venues where they will be able to serve German food, please let me know.

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Spring News

On Monday, we had another successful evening at the Mansion House and I would like thank Gunther for the lovely meal and Councillor David Faulkner for his interesting talk on the Ruhr, which celebrated Capital of Culture in 2010. One of the acts that David mentioned was an American singer called Bobby McFerrin – who, I must admit, I wasn’t familiar with. But apparently everybody in Germany knew him and I thought I share his appearance at the Sing! Day of Song event at the Gelsenkirchener Schalke stadium with you, which is on YouTube – click here.

Stammtisch member Sylvia Graham is the honorary librarian of the Meissen Library at Durham Cathedral. This is a specialised collection of mainly protestant theology in German and does contain books not available anywhere else in Britain. There is a website www.meissenlibrarydurham.co.uk and Sylvia would be happy to reply to emails from anyone interested – jms.graham@btinternet.com.

From 1 April, our Stammtisch member Kim di Rollo will also be responsible not only for Brussel Airlines, but also Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines here in the region. She has also passed on an interesting website for small to medium sized businesses, where they can find out more about the Star Alliance Company Plus programme. This can cut company’s travel costs as member companies earn PlusPoints whenever their employees fly with one of the alliance’s 13 participating airlines– click here to get to the website.

And if you’re travelling to Germany and you’re not quite sure yet where to go and what to do – the ‘Germany is Wunderbar’ website might just give you a few ideas – http://germanyiswunderbar.com. Last week, the Guardian also had a very insightful series on Germany and you can still get this online – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/germany.

This week Germany is also mourning the loss of Knut – the four-year old polar bear from Berlin Zoo, who passed away last Saturday. Happier news come from Nuremberg. Their star Flocke (snow flake), moved successfully to France last year with her Russian companion Rasputin and lives now at a sea water enclosure in Antibes. And her mother Vera just had two polar bear twins in December, who are doing very well. For photographs – click here.

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