Friday, October 18, 2013

Saarbrücken, Germany

Saarbrücken Castle
Saarbrücken is the capital of the state of Saarland in Germany. The city is right next to the French border at the heart of a metropolitan area where most people of Saarland live.

Here is a map of all the German States. You can see the Rhineland-Pflaz area where we live, Saarland state and its capital, Saarbrücken.  

Despite Saarbrücken being just a short drive from us, the real motivation to check it out was fueled by a wine induced Monopoly Deutschland game night.

We wanted to find out what made Saarbrücken the top dollar real estate spot on the board. What was it about this town that helped me make 11 million euro in a single turn.  It was even above Munich and Berlin and Frankfurt.

Now, that last statement assumes that Monopoly boards are put together by population or GDP or the fanciest monuments.  Wrong. Well in the case of Monopoly Deutschland, anyway.

After some research I learned that it was a vote. Before 2007, Monopoly Deutschland had arbitrary names on each of the squares, with “Castle Avenue” being the most coveted spot- having the greatest value in the game.

Starting in January 2007, Hasbro created an online poll where voters could choose which 40 competitors would replace the 22 arbitrary street names with real city names.  

[I think it’s interesting to note that Saarbrücken was never even considered to be in the running. When the mayor found out, he was quite annoyed. He called up the game manufacturer and complained.]

So, 550,000 people voted for 11 weeks which of the 40 competitors would get one of the 22 spots on the board.

Saarbrücken Castle won the top spot with over 10% of the votes. The city accredits the win to a great team effort and massive support from the Mayor and the Minister-President.

How’d you like that knowledge bomb?

So to Saarbrücken we went. It was a cool town. A little like Kaiserslautern. There were very modern, trendy areas but also charming squares and remnants of historical buildings.

Pedestrian bridge to the Left Bank
Saar River
View from the Castle
St. Johanner Square 
After lunch we went to Stiefel-Bräu. It's Saarbrücken's oldest microbrewery. They serve 3 different beers which are brewed according to an old Broch family recipe.

Our favorite was the Bräu-Hell

Obviously this happened.

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