Saturday, 25 July 2015

Thuringia in the DDR

I came across a dozen printed pages yesterday. One of the first thing I wrote about beer. Way back in 1990.

Never been published before. Not much point publishing it now, as it's a guide to beer in Thuringia in 1990. I suppose it has some historic value, as it records an odd time. When the wall was down, but the DDR was still an independent country.

And it's a few easy blog posts. No need to think up lots of new words. I've regretted my commitment to post daily since, er, just about since I made it. I'll be able to spin at least half a dozen posts out of this old crap. Sorry, classic, rediscovered early writings.

Let me know what you think of it.

"Thuringia in the DDR
Thuringia, which now forms the southwestern corner of the DDR, consists, approximately, of the 'bezirk' of Suhl, Erfurt and Gera. Its landscape is dominated by rolling hills and forests, still containing much wildlife, which contrast sharply with the grim, industrial image of the DDR. The Thuringer Wald in the south is an area of particular natural beauty. Only the northeast, in the region of Jena and Gera, is spoilt by the more obtrusive presence of industry. The countryside is dotted with villages of ancient half-timbered houses, seemingly almost untouched by the 20th century. For the most part these are still real living communities rather than groups of city commuters trying to rediscover rural life. Consequently most villages still have a baker's, butcher's and, of course, a pub.

From 1920 to 1952 Thuringia was a 'land' or state (and should be again as of late 1990 when the DDR becomes a federal state) with its capital in Weimar, then later in Erfurt. There are many other attractive towns, some unfortunately wearing their age badly, and most of any reasonable size have a brewery.

Thuringia has a long history as a brewing centre and still boasts one of the largest concentrations of the country's 250 or so breweries. Unsurprising, given that Franconia, with the greatest density of breweries in the world, is just over the border in the Federal Republic. The beers from any given brewery beers are usually only sold in the local area. This admirably decentralised approach does however have the disadvantage that, in any given town, 90% of the pubs seH the same beer. An exception to this are the 'spezial' or 'delikat' beers from certain breweries (such as Apolda or Braugold), which are sold as premium products and tend to be found in posher outlets all over Thuringia. An interesting development as a result of the border being opened, is the appearance, albeit at treble the price of the local stuff, of West German beer in both shops and pubs. A disadvantage of the open border is that you may be competing for pub space with crowds of W. Germans attracted by the, for them, laughably low prices in the DDR."

As I said earlier, there's a lot more of this.


Pivní Filosof said...

Interesting. I wonder how much of it still applies a quarter of a century later, especially concerning the number of breweries

Jeffrey Bell said...

Crikey Ron. Without meaningt to be unkind, judging by this - and the reference to proposed DDR constitutional reform being something of any importance - it would appear you were sufficiently deluded in 1990 as to believe reunification wasn't inevitable...

Ron Pattinson said...


what on earth makes you think that? I was talking about the re-emergence of a Thuringia as a political entity. Which wasn't directly connected to reunification.

Jeffrey Bell said...

"From 1920 to 1952 Thuringia was a 'land' or state (and should be again as of late 1990 when the DDR becomes a federal state) "

That was the line that made me think that. The fact the *DDR* itself was going to go federal was really neither here nor there, surely? Such a move was presumably just part of the reunification process - so I suppose I would have expected you to say

"From 1920 to 1952 Thuringia was a 'land' or state (and should be again as of late 1990 when it becomes a 'land' within the GDR)"

By not mentioning reunification at all and only the fact a constitutional rearrangement was going to happen within the DDR it suggests at the time you weren't sold on reunification. But don't worry we don't need an inquest

Jeffrey Bell said...

I'm watching Love Actually. Just got to the bit where Colin Firth realises his Portuguese cleaner has a banging body and a lower back tattoo

Ron Pattinson said...


this was written at a time when Thuringia was definetely scheduled to become a state within a federal DDR, but nothing was settled about reunification. Yes, that's what everyone expected. But nothing was sorted.

It was an odd moment in history. I was living in Swindon, for fuck's sake.

That's why I love this piece. It describes a very transitory moment.

Jeffrey Bell said...

Yeah I know, I like it too. I'm entering into the spirit of it you see. I'm imaging what Stalinist Ronbo was feeling at that time.