Through my tour in Germany , I passed fro the tiny town of Weimar. Despite its little size, it is a place with large history, that accommodated figures like Nietzsche and Schiller and was the basis for the Bauhaus art movement. In this small town of Thuringia Federal state there is a variety of coexistence of Neoclassicism, Skepticism and modernity.
My visit to Lotte Radio station made me understood that this variation of styles is also part of the mentality of the people. Located in the central Square of Weimar in a neoclassic building, radio Lotte is in the heart of the town with an amazing view and near main cultural buildings like the opera house, the museum of Bauhaus and the “Mon Ami” theatre theater that hosts more alternative events as well as youth and kids events. Anne – Sophie Lange , part of Lotte’s management team was a great host and replied to all my questions!
Radio Lotte is an initiative of people that is based on voluntary work since 1999. It is a political themed radio that supports open ideas and have a strong political opinion through major issues like the Refugee issue that constitutes the biggest topic in Germany these days. Despite this clear political view to anti-racist movements and probably what we would call left wing political view, I was happy to find out that the local authorities fundraise this radio, despite the fact that probably they get sometimes critical views from this radio station I was also happy to find out that this radio in order to keep its independency, it is not commercialized (yes! Really, no adverts at Lotte radio!) and that mostly it is based on voluntary work and fundraising. That made me think how active people are in local societies and also how democratic and free opinionated they want to be. This democratic policy is also part of how the program of the radio is managed. They have weekly meetings about the issues they will focus on each week and for any special event they talk more or less altogether. The facilities are also very nice and “cozy”. I am very happy to see that this kind of initiatives is supported in Germany. Nonetheless, this whole experience of mine brought me “back to basics”, thinking of my political scince course in Panteion University and my beloved Professor George Contogeorgis. When we were talking about the perfect democratic political system, we were speaking about ancient Athens where the democratic rights were an advantage of a limited number of citizens that were also not having financial issues of their own. Thinking of that in comparison with local societies in Germany, I can see that these democratic initiatives work out as there is a basic economic growth that allows people not to have to worry about financial issues both of an initiative like a free radio as well as their own living. Thus, Initiatives and new ideas can be developed as having a basic income, allow people to develop more social based and democratic ideas.
Talking a long time with Anne allowed me to have an insight regarding the lifestyle and the life perspectives of young Germans, as well as the problems of the local societies. A big issue is the lack of openness of Germans to new, and therefore this is why refugees in a federal state with more or less 2% of foreign people living there, becomes a major issue to demonstrate for or against. Despite the lack of openness, Germans like to socialise in between their groups and communication in between people is very well based in Germany. The same view I get about book and magazine reading. Maybe it is the only country that I ‘ve seen information and news written in paper be so well evaluated. Same good opinion I obtained regarding the criteria of young Germans of which University they choose and what they want to study.
This visit to Lotte radio and Weimar enlightened me a lot regarding the history, the perceived ideas and the everyday culture of Germany. A great experience!