"Beautifully different": our author dedicates a declaration of love to the Ostendplatz. Photo: Tanja Simoncev
Ostalgie in the shadow of the gas boiler, the old Stuttgart and an international muddle: Our author lost his heart to Ostendplatz a long time ago.
Stuttgart – Whenever I’m at Ostendplatz, I feel like I’m in one of those far north or east London neighborhoods. Those ominous districts that no one has ever heard of until Keira Knightley is happily buying up the housing market and Ed Sheeran is opening pubs there again. Until they are gentrified and unaffordable and hold a street food market with techno DJ three times a week. Hackney is coming, said for example some time ago. And soon Hackney came too. With Banksy in tow.
The Ostendplatz comes
The east also comes. They’ve been saying it in Stuttgart for 20 years. Everything takes a little longer here, and that’s okay. We have time. The east is coming. Or not. At least it’s been there for a long time, the East. And especially at the Ostendplatz. A place like no other in Stuttgart, it has that in common with the places Charlottenplatz and Stockach, which I love just as dearly. But it is of course quite different, the Ostendplatz. Almost magical in its ability to combine the scent of old Stuttgart with a multi-ethnic state.
Cheers since 1974. At least
The modern man likes to look for the real life. Until he finds it and doesn’t even notice that it’s long since there. If you get off at Ostendplatz, you’re right in the middle of things. In real life. In a Stuttgart where the ghosts of the past have long since become cosmopolitans. When I lived here many years ago, it looked quite different, the square. Well, one half looked different, a video store was there for example. The other half has remained exactly the same.
The Scheibenwirt, for example, located directly at the historic turntable of the streetcar. People were already cheering there when Germany won the World Cup in 1974. Cried when VfB was relegated. How many places in Stuttgart do you know that have been running the same program stringently for 50 years?? Bad Berg doesn’t count, it’s still closed.
Always Ostendplatz. Never Berlin.
People sometimes say that Ostendplatz feels a bit like Berlin. I do not find. Is much cleaner there. And still Stuttgart. Where do you have in Berlin, for example, a sloping street like in San Francisco, at the end of which the gas boiler rises iconically in the morning haze?? The gas boiler grounds the neighborhood with its stoic, defiant silence. Tells of industry and work, is an anchor point like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
It’s a bit like the old Stuttgart, which is still allowed to exist here. Cafes with almost everything except cow’s milk are now also here, as is ice cream in other flavors besides chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. But the rest is just somehow unstrained. Stopped. As if you secretly know that the Westerner is relatively rarely out here anyway. And therefore keeps the jogging pants on right away.
Not beautiful. But beautifully different..
Sternstrasse Ostend Square. In every direction a different perspective. In 1895, the first tenement houses were built in the former workers’ colony. Colony Ostheim, Swabian diligence. You don’t have to be a street poet to still feel the sweat here and to see the dreams of the old workers between the house walls flickering like chimeras.
Today there are probably more ethnic groups at Ostendplatz than anywhere else in the city. Accordingly, it’s colorful, diverse, bustling, mixed up, cosmopolitan here. Not always peaceful, that’s for sure. But full of life. Full of real life? Everybody has to decide for himself. It is not beautiful here, at least not in the classical sense. But beautifully different.
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