Wasserturm, Mannheim

When you’re leaving the main railway station of Mannheim, Germany, to the northeast you’ll reach a nice park with fountains and flowers next to the city center. Main feature of this place is the Wasserturm (or Wasserdorn), an icon of the city. It was the first tower created to assure the water supply of the city and it was built from 1886 on. The tower is 60 meters high and was used until the year 2000 (at least as a reserve).

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Völklinger Hütte

Völklinger Hütte, Völklingen

If you’re interested in industrial heritage you need to visit the Saarland, close to France and Luxembourg. At Völklingen, west of the capital city Saarbrücken, you can discover the historic iron works Völklinger Hütte – an impressive UNESCO world heritage site. It was founded in 1873 and produced iron using continuously improved techniques until 1986. Many parts like the Eisenschrägaufzug (transporting the iron 27 meters up into the melting ovens) date back to the 1910s. And already when you’re standing at the railway station of Völklingen you’re overwhelmed by the vast size of this former factory.

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Deutsch-Französischer Garten

Deutsch-Französischer Garten, Saarbrücken

The Saarland is a border region in Germany that is very close to France and Luxembourg. From the city center of Saarbrücken it is a distance of less than five kilometers to our French friends. Half way you can find a nice park, the Deutsch-Französischer Garten (DFG) or Jardin Franco-Allemand. It was opened in 1960 by chancellor Konrad Adenauer and prime minister Michel Debré. It is a park used by French and German visitors to relax.

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Ludwigskirche, Saarbrücken

What is the most iconic building of Saarbrücken, Germany? In former times it might have been the castle with its towers and thick walls – but these structures are only barely visible these days. It came even worse in 1939 when the Wehrmacht destroyed multiple memorial towers (including the iconic Winterbergdenkmal) and church towers to irritate allied pilots during air raids. The most famous landmarks of the city are lost forever.

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Marilyn Monroe, Ekebergparken, Oslo

The Ekebergparken is a mountain park in the southeast of Oslo on the Ekeberg mountain. Within the mountain park you will find more than 40 sculptures and artworks; some contemporary, some from old masters (like Auguste Renoir, Salvador Dalí and Gustav Vigeland). It was opened in 2013 and shall be extended to up to 80 sculptures. The park is owned by the city of Oslo but financed by art collector Christian Rignes. You can come here for a nice walk to enjoy the beautiful nature and the amazing views on the city – but the contemporary artworks are also a great attraction.

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Holmenkollbakken, Oslo

Whether you know ski-jumping well or not, you will typically have heard about the Holmenkollen mountain at Oslo, Norway. On top of it there is the famous Holmenkollbakken ski-jumping facility, an impressive building worth visiting even if there is now snow and nobody is flying on ski down the mountain. Since 1892 ski-jumping is practiced there and a lot of championships where decided on this mountain – including the Winter Olympics of 1952. The facility was renovated 19 times and after the renovation works in 2010 it now houses 70,000 spectators.

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Vigelandsparken, Oslo

Gustav Vigeland was the most important sculptor of Norway. He was born in 1869 and died at Oslo in 1943; his connection to the capital city was strong: he gave the rights on his sculptures to the city administration and the city administration assured his means of subsistence. Vigeland was highly influenced by French sculptor August Rodin and his work focusses on the relationship between man and woman; maybe that’s why many people can relate to his work and enjoy seeing his sculptures.

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Temporary home of Willy Brandt, Oslo

Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm was born at Lübeck, Germany, in 1913. He wanted to become a journalist; but instead he worked for a ship owning company and became politically active: as a member of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) and later of the Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands (SAPD). When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Herbert Frahm had to emigrate to Oslo, Norway. There he continued his political work in exile, studied history and worked as a journalist. And he changed his name to Willy Brandt, a name that later became very well known in Germany and the world.

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Rådhuset, Oslo

It is hardly possible to overlook the town hall building of Oslo near the harbor. With its unique design made of red bricks it stands out; the two rectangular towers (used for offices) are clearly visible in the skyline of the city. The building is highly decorated with statues and it even has a small waterfall on the rear side. First of all the town hall building is a symbol of independence: when the union of Norway and Sweden ended in 1905, the decision to celebrate this with the creation of a building was taken.

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Operahuset, Oslo

The opera house of Oslo is one of the most iconic buildings of the city. Located directly at the fjord the shiny new building was opened in 2008. It is designed to look like a drifting iceberg and contains more than 1,000 rooms. That is quite a surprise because it looks rather small caused by its special shape: The building is like a vast ramp on which everybody can walk up all around the clock to enjoy nice views on the harbor and the city. The facade consists to large extent of Carrara marble which costed a lot of money (more than 6 million Euros).

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