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Freiburg im Breisgau

Mayors reveal their insider tips in the series “My city”. Part 4: Mayor Dieter Salomon talks about Freiburg.

picture-alliance/dpa - Freiburg
© picture-alliance/dpa - Freiburg

Mr. Salomon, what is special about your city?

A former mayor once coined the phrase: “The republic begins to become Italian in Freiburg.” This adage contains many truths about Freiburg’s lifestyle and quality of life, about the dynamism of the city’s society, the strength of its research activities with one of the best universities and great research institutes, and about cultural diversity. The people of Freiburg are open to new things, they are willing to engage in discussion and to experiment and are politically aware.


What do you see when you look out of your office window?

A magnificent Renaissance oriel window that now belongs to the savings bank complex. Erasmus von Rotterdam, the great humanist and Enlightenment philosopher, lived and worked there for several years at the beginning of the 16th century. 


Where in your city do you most like to spend your time?

At Platz der Alten Synagoge, which is currently a construction site. This is where the synagogue stood until the Nazis destroyed it in 1938. Today the square epitomizes Freiburg’s profile as a city of culture and a city of research and learning. The theatre, university and the redesigned university library are direct neighbours. The complete conversion and redesign of the square has now also begun with the building of a new urban railway.


Which of your city’s personalities do you value most?

First, Gertrud Luckner (1900–1995). Working on behalf of Freiburg’s archbishop of the time, she risked her life to save Jews from persecution and deportation. In 1944 she was sent to a concentration camp. After 1945 Gertrud Luckner was one of the great champions of understanding and reconciliation between Germany and Israel. And then there’s the cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. At the beginning of the 16th century he was the first to give the name “America” to the new continent on a map of the world in honour of the circumnavigator Amerigo di Vespucci. In other words, America comes from Freiburg.  


What would you like to show tourists?

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, or ISE for short. It’s one of the five Fraunhofer institutes in Freiburg and the largest in Germany with over 1,200 employees. This is where the future of a sustainable energy supply is being developed. The largest number of solar technology patents in the world comes from the ISE.


Where can visitors best get to know the people in your city?

Every day while shopping, going for a stroll or just taking it easy at Münstermarkt. It is one of the most beautiful markets in Germany. This is where people meet, talk and sit down for a glass of wine together, and also where you discover what you will never read in the newspaper.


And where do you most like to spend your vacations?

Places where mountains and the sea are not very far apart.