Friday, August 7, 2015

Freiburg's New Banking District

This is how the Badische Zeitung (BZ) titled an article about four benches in front of Betzenhausen's* community center. The benches are gifts of Freiburg's sister cities Guildford (England), Matsuyama (Japan), Besançon (France), and Innsbruck (Austria).
*a Freiburg city district

Banking district? The word bank is one of those infamous false friends when translating from German into English and vice versa. Bank in German has two main meanings: a bench to sit on, e.g., in Schiller's Wilhelm Tell: Auf diese Bank von Stein will ich mich setzen (I want to sit on this bench made of stone) and a financial institution. This second meaning is the same as in English whereas a riverbank is called Flussufer in German.

©Michael Bamberger/BZ
Baubürgermeister Haag and an unknown lady are trying out the Guildford bench (Probesitzen) while Joe Gordon, Mayor of Guildford, pointed out that the coat of arms on the bench is the same as on the chain of office he is wearing on the photo. Only three benches are visible, the fourth one from Matsuyama made of bamboo was moved to the nearby Japanese garden.

When will we see a Madison bench? And will it be delivered together with Mayor Soglin's proposal: Occupation times of less than 24 hours?

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