Remember the 217 ton rock we spotted on the shore during a ferry ride to our session on the Airbus site? In wise foresight, this heavy dude migrated during the Ice Age all the way from Sweden to the place where Hamburg was to emerge. In 1999 the city rescued the rock out of the depth of the Elbe river to throw it onto the beach at Övelgönne. There it was christened “Alter Schwede" (“Old Swede”) and solemnly granted citizienship.
"Alter Schwede!" "("Old Swede!") has been a German expression of surprise and wonder since the 1980s. Among several theories about the origin of the term, the most logical one for us is: During the 80s, every second German family drove a Saab or Volvo. Those cars were not only spacious, but also considered to be particularly durable, and that’s why you still see many four wheeled „ol’ Swedes“ winding through Hamburg's streets even today.
Image by Fabian Schreiber @geronimoo / Unsplash
According to Ole Utikal, being a lecturer for design in China can be a tricky task, when your students don’t know who Andy Warhol is but rave on 50 Chinese designers instead, of who you do not have the faintest clue. Nice side-effect: The Chinese gonna give you great new names. Ole becomes „Wu-le“, and therefore a member of the infamous Wu-Family (who give you all the education you need!). On top of that, English messages on Chinese t-shirts unfold an unknown anarchic power & are top notch material for intercultural art projects. Our favorite Chinese t-shirt wisdom? Better to have a question than an answer. Word!
Never insult a swan while on a pedal boat on Lake Alster. It’s forbidden by law. Since 1664. Don’t you dare and scream something like: „Hey, you son of a duck!“ You might end up in prison. Swans are Hamburg’s lucky charms. If you insult a swan, you insult the city of Hamburg.
In Sweden important decisions are not made at a conference table but during „fika“, Swedish for „coffee break“. Which makes a fika much more than just a caffeine kick as Natalia Tomiyama, co-founder of Nüwiel, told us in her presentation at MLOVE Future Cities Campus. We assume, it was probably also during fika time, that IKEA finally decided to test Nüwiels supercool e-cargo-trailers in its store at Hamburg-Altona. BTW: Nüwiel was the only German start-up that got invited to a boot camp at Älmhult, birthplace of that famous furniture store that sells everything in a million pieces.
Yes, Lego bricks can definitely help a city find new refugee housing, as we discovered at HafenCity University’s CityScienceLab. How? On an interactive table displaying an urban data model, where Lego bricks presenting different building types are moved back and forth - a project designed at inviting the public to make suggestions and listening to what it has to say. It’s what we call “crowd searching galore” in times dealing with a grave humanitarian crisis!
The first 3D printed plane ever leaving a runway was produced in 2013 in Hamburg’s Airbus Protospace. Thor (Testing High-Tech Objectives in Reality) is 3.5 metres long and weighs over 20 kilograms. You can call it a hard delivery: The printer needed 7 weeks to push Thor out. In 60 single pieces.
Image courtesy of Airbus
“When the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, a future tunnel-project connecting Lolland with Fehmarn, is finished in 2028, Malmö will be closer to Hamburg than to Stockholm.” (Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, mayor of Malmö, in a talk given during our visit to Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie)
Image courtesy of Femern A/S
Hamburg Labskaus is some hideous looking food (even when it’s served with drapery). But it is not at all bad in taste!