The Best of the Rhineland in April

This month Rhine-online, the Rhineland’s leading English-language website, gazes at the Moon in the Ruhrpott, celebrates style on the streets of Cologne, and dances a little Flamenco in Düsseldorf.

The Best of the Rhineland in April
Photo: Rhine-online

The biggest moon on Earth in Oberhausen

If you’ve ever ventured to the Ruhrpott you’ll have seen the great work that has been achieved in regenerating the old industrial sites. The Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord is an amazing area full of old factory ruins slowly being reclaimed by nature. The Zeche Zollverein is a coal mine converted into an exhibition centre and event location, and the Gasometer in Oberhausen is a beautiful old gas cylinder being put to use as an exhibition space, event location and concert hall. Starting on April 2nd you can see an amazing new exhibition at the Gasometer that is definitely worth the trip “up North”. As part of the Ruhr 2010 project ‘Out of this World’ is an event that makes excellent use of the huge scale of the Gasometer. ‘Out of this World’ takes visitors on a journey into the cosmos, spectacular reproductions of the planetary system, extraordinary images of the sun, the planets and their moons, precious historical instruments and the most modern space research technology – are all brought together in the Gasometer to illustrate the drama of the birth and evolution of our solar system. The exhibition starts in the area below the former gas-pressure disc with a space-filling projection of the sun and its planets hovering in the middle of the 68 metre-wide room. In the towering 100 meter high main hall, you’ll see a gigantic sculpture of the largest moon on Earth. With a diameter of 25 metres, the installation passes through the phases of the moon – from new moon to full moon. It really is an out of this world experience.

2nd April-30th December 2010

Out of this world

Gasometer Oberhausen, Essener Strasse 3, 46047 Oberhausen

T: 0208-850 37 30

Celebrating a different kind of style in Cologne

Take a trip to any major European city and you’ll be depressed by the similarities: Starbucks, McDonald, KFC, H&M, Burger King even Tesco’s – they’ve secured their foothold across the high streets of Western Europe. You now have to search for that quintessential “difference” that you used to be able to find from one city to another. Even high street fashion can seem dull – it’s far too easy to sink into H&M anonymity – pretty much through lack of time and enthusiasm and because of a kind of innate uniformity and lack of celebration of all things “different”. Which is why this website is a great find – thanks to Robert from English Speaking Cologne. Made by movie costume designer Sandra Smilla Dankert – it puts the fun back into fashion and reminds us that individualism is good. The website is made up of photos of random people in Cologne and their wonderful wardrobe creations. The photo’s are portraits captured on the street and celebrate individualism and style. Be inspired and maybe you too could be one of Sandra’s street fashion finds.

A festival of emotion

Wave your hands, stamp your feet and prepare your face for a plethora of passionate expressions, it’s time for the Flamenco Festival in Düsseldorf. This year’s festival kicks off with a performance by the master of avantgarde flamenco Andrés Marín. Flamencos en route with flamenco supremo Susana Robledo will be performing to the music of Antonio Robledo. “Florescencia – Blütezeit – eine Hommage an Susana und Antonio Robledo” is seven scenes in a night garden that bring together many of the different aspects of flamenco dance. Concha Jareño will also be performing “ALGO”, a show that combines grace, beauty and pure emotion. Feel the beat, feel the heat, feel the passion at the Flamenco Festival at Tanzhaus NRW.

Until 4th April

Flamenco Festival

Tanzhaus NRW Düseldorf, Erkrather Str. 30, 40233 Düsseldorf

T: 0211 17270-0

Made to last in Cologne

Do you remember the phrase “it will last you forever” – when was the last time you bought something that could live up to that expectation? In these days of throwaway fashion, even the latest “it” bag costing thousands of euros will be thrown on the fashion scrap heap when the next season’s “must have” hit’s the pages of Vogue. That’s not the case in Manufactum – here you can buy stuff – that lasts. With the slogan “The good things in life still exist” Manufactum sells everything from pure vegetable soaps and original Belgium chocolates, to hand-made leather goods and old fashioned wooden desk chairs. You could probably furnish and stock your house from scratch, and apart from the perishables, be set for the rest of your life. Everything Manufactum sells is top notch quality, basic, plain, practical or beautiful. Their new shop on Brückenstrasse 23 – around the corner from the Opera – is a feast for the eyes – they also have a website where you can see and buy everything online. So if you’re looking for something that is made to last – check out Manufactum.

Hollywood’s back in town

The hottest date in the comedy calendar is fast approaching – Hollywood’s Comedy Night is back in Cologne with a bang on the 14th April. And what a line-up: cash, cash, money, money David Cassel is back to freak you out with his scary eyes and catchy raps; Staffordshire’s finest, Steve Dix, fresh from his latest national tour, will be showing you why he’s got the wit of John Lennon in the body of Oliver Hardy; Casey James will be telling you about his dating highs and lows and the perils of lovin’ a girl with a pace-maker; and James Allan might show you his six-pack – if you’re very lucky. Bengt Washburn and newcomer Brad Bowen complete the line up – and the icing on the cake will of course be the host with the most, Mr Hollywood himself. English Comedy fans in Cologne have had a bit of a comedy drought for the last few months so this show is likely to be a sell-out – which means you should book your tickets soon to ensure a nice seat at the front where you can heckle like a pro and interact with the show.

14th April, 8.30pm

Hollywoods Comedy Nights

Flanagan’s Irish Pub Alter Markt 36, Cologne

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Ancient Jewish settlement to be brought back to life in Cologne

No city north of the Alps has been home to Jews for as long as the Roman settlement of Cologne. A recently discovered Jewish quarter is now being brought back to life.

Ancient Jewish settlement to be brought back to life in Cologne
The site of the construction in Cologne. Photo: DPA

If you are a tourist walking through the centre of Cologne, sooner rather than later, you'll come across a construction site located in the very best position, in the middle of the town hall square.

At the beginning of this millennium, the people of Cologne dug into the earth directly in front of their historic city hall and found a treasure from another millennium: the Jewish quarter.

Complete with a dance hall, a hospital, a bakery and a synagogue, the quarter contains the ruins of a settlement from the Middle Ages. It is a city within a city, a miniature world of houses huddled together. 

Of course, all that is left is ruins – one needs a bit of imagination to picture how the whole thing once looked. But experts from Germany and abroad agree: there's nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

Ancient tradition

No other German city has been associated with Jewish history for so long as Cologne. 

The first documented Jewish community dates back to the year 321, making it the oldest north of the Alps. 

But in 1349, the neighbourhood was destroyed and its inhabitants were murdered or expelled. Local Christians blamed Jews for the outbreak of the plague.

Currently, a museum is being built over the site on the town hall square. It will be a parallel world underground: visitors will be able to relive life in the Jewish quarter in the era of knights and minstrels on a 600-meter-long trail. The trail also visits the governor's palace from Roman times, which was rediscovered in the 1950s. 

The museum is called MiQua after the name for the Jewish ritual bath, Mikveh.

Exhibits will include artifacts found during the excavations; among them is a crescent-shaped, gem-set gold earring from the 11th century. 

The researchers also discovered a tablet dating back to the Middle Ages with the inscription “yt in ys neyt anders.” This could be translated as “Et is wie et is” (It is as it is) – a classic Cologne saying. 

The museum is scheduled to open in 2024, but through the panorama windows on the third floor of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, also located on Rathausplatz, one can already follow the progress of construction work.

This year Jewish life will be celebrated across the country – the anniversary year '1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany' will be celebrated nationwide. 

Hamburg is organising a themed week entitled 'More than Little Jerusalem'; in Nuremberg the photo exhibition 'Germany's Emigrants' will be opened; and in Herxheim in Rhineland-Palatinate the play Judas by Lot Vekemans will be staged.

READ MORE: 9 hilarious gifts Judaism gave the German language