Local demands, long goodbyes

The Cross-Border city of Saarbrücken lacks professionals, which actually are formed in the city. The broad cultural aspect of the city makes it a perfect spot to study, but not to stay.

by I.Miguel Durán de Barbozza

It is not unusual that the maps eventually change their perspectives. The German city of SaarBrücken has nowadays a huge task ahead trying to get their new European status on, and to move forward from their border-German policy.

Saarbrücken Train Station Board. Photo by Miguel Durán

Saarbrücken’s motto is “Know how to life“, in which they promote the city as the most French-shaped city in Germany. Transeuropean networks and high speed connections connect Saarbrücken with Paris in less than two hours.

Thomas Blug explains: “In Germany, Saarbrücken is located on the border of our country, but in Europe we are at the centre point, together with our French neighbours. The future of Saarbrücken is in the centre of Europe, not only on the side of Germany.

This privilege location of Saarbrücken has made it the perfect spot to develop new ways of progress.

The historical background, cross-bording job locations and French-German couples living on one side of the border are a few reasons why the region basicly

Traffic sign indicating where you should go if you want to study in both languages. Photo by Miguel Durán

created several institutions to merge both cultures together in some sort of way, like the particular case of the French-Deutsch School.

All over Germany, English is the official second language taught in the school, but in the Federal Region of Saarland, the second language is French (this is possible because of the Federal status of every German State: they can decide individually on their own modus operandi).

This French-Deutsch School is quite special in Saarbrücken, where the lectures are partly taken in German and some others in French, giving the student the opportunity to make both degrees: the German Abitur and the French Baccaloreat. Of course, the students that come from that school are fully bilingual, but there is another issue to be tackled.

Saarbrücken has proven to have one of the best computer engineering centres in Germany and it has an amazing Central Business District, five kilometres south of the Saar River, but apparently these features are not enough.

The highly educated students tend to go to bigger cities, like Strasbourg or Munich, because Saarbrücken isn’t as big as they are, even though it is the capital of the Saarland Region.

That is why Saarbrücken has shifted their global development towards the tourism sector, to make the city more attractive and keeping those highly educated student stay there.

One recent example of this facial change of Saarbrücken’s core it is located in the main street of the city: Bahnhofstraße, which is connected with several important city points like St. Johanner Market, the Saar River and the Bürgerpark. It is the most antique street in Saarbrücken, with its creation going way back in the Roman Empire ages, when it was the main connection between Strasbourg and Trier. Today, the new shape of the street is the typical main road full of shops of its sides, cafeterias, art galleries and walking/relaxing spots for the transients.

View from Saarbrücken's Palace: The River Saar. Photo by Miguel Durán

The case of Saarbrücken is the perfect example of the first steps that are needed to take all of this world together, and to start dealing with the political barriers that have been implemented over the past centuries, only based on the will of a few.

To learn more about cross-border cooperation in Saarbrücken, click HERE to learn more about the Eurodistrict and HERE to learn more about removing barriers.

About I.Miguel Durán de Barbozza