The Softer Side of Stuttgart, as Revealed by Protesters
You may have heard that many citizens of Stuttgart, home to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, are protesting the destruction of their old railroad station, right in the heart of downtown.
The New York Times reports that the protests have been large -- from the thousands to as many as 60,000 people on the street. The city is largely conservative, not really given to taking to the streets. When I visited last year, many of the people I chatted with characterized the spirit of Stuttgart as an engineering department at a good university: logical, hardworking, steady -- not given to extreme passion.
Yet it was also very clear to me that Stuttgart has its softer side. I saw it as I walked around its downtown, with lawns and trees and families a-frolic. (Most of it rebuilt after World War II, pictured above in calmer days.) I saw in the vineyards, right inside the city limits -- as an aside, there's also a vineyard behind the old train station, and I'm not sure of its fate. I saw it in the obvious appreciation and use of the town's old market hall by its locals. Check out the gallery to see what I saw.
I'll admit, these amenities came as a surprise to me, an American traveler who pictured the city as a warren of factories. But after my visit, the news that Stuttgart's citizenry would object to the demolition of their historic and beautiful railway station -- that didn't surprise me much at all.
Gallery: Stuttgart's Softer Side