Reduced to rubble after World War II and distanced from its noble past under communist rule, Dresden is now enjoying a resurgence as one of Germany’s most cultutrally vibrant cities.
Dresden inhabitants are wont to proclaim that of Saxony’s three largest cities—Saxony being an eastern German state that was formerly a part of the country’s socialist bloc— theirs is the liveliest. “Chemnitz is the city where people work, Leipzig is the city where people trade, and Dresden (the capital) is where they all come to party,” shares Christian Haacke of the local stereotype. Although Haacke later reveals that he hails from Braunschweig, a city between Hannover and Wolfsburg, one senses a tinge of pride when he talks up Dresden’s party credential.
Haacke is in charge of Volkswagen’s media relations and is hosting lunch at the car manufacturer’s swanky ‘Transparent Factory’, one of Dresden’s most awe-inspiring contemporary tourist attractions. Here, the company assembles its top-of-the-line Phaeton luxury sedans in sculptural, state-of-the-art environs fronted by a full-glass façade that looks straight out of a Stanley Kubrick sci-fi flick. Millionaires from around the world drop by regularly to drive away in one of their customised Phaetons hot off the production line; as do regular tourists, who visit the factory as they would any cultural site. This summer, the 10-year-old plant welcomed its one millionth visitor.
Excerpt from the December issue of epicure.