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Fuggerei – The German Housing Complex Where Rent Hasn’t Gone Up in 500 Years

In a time when the cost of renting a home seems to be getting higher virtually everywhere in the civilized world, the residents of an idyllic housing complex in Germany are living in an inflation-free utopia. The people of Fuggerei, a walled district on the outskirts of Augsburg, pay only $1 a year on rent, the same as the first tenants who originally moved here nearly 500 years ago.

Fuggerei was founded in 1514 by an affluent businessman named Jakob Fugger, as a social housing complex for the poorest people of Augsburg. The Fugger family moved to the bustling German city in the mid-14th century and established a prosperous cloth trading business. By the 16th century, the Fugger family was one of the richest in Augsburg, and their operations expanded to real-estate and banking. Jakob Fugger was the wealthiest banker in the city, which earned him the nickname “Jakob Fugger the Rich”, but he stayed true to his family’s values, and in 1514 he started the construction of Fuggerei as a way of giving back to the community.

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German Town Seizes Family’s Dog Over Unpaid Taxes, Sells It on eBay

Authorities in the German town of Ahlen have come under fire for seizing a family’s dog over unpaid taxes and then selling it on eBay to recover the money owed.

This bizarre story started back in November, 2018, when a court bailiff and two city officials showed up at an Ahlen family’s home to seize valuables as compensation for financial debts owed to the municipality. The family, who preferred to remain anonymous, told local newspaper Ahlener Tageblatt that the officials first tried to seize her disabled husband’s wheelchair, but couldn’t because it wasn’t their property. Instead, they settled on the family’s pet dog, a pedigree pug named Edda.

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Pastor Uses Whisky to Get Men Closer to God

A German pastor thinks he may have found a an effective way to approach the men in his community and it involves one of his greatest passions, whisky.

53-year-old Thomas Eschenbacher, a Franconian pastor from Hammelburg, in Bavaria, has long been looking for ways to approach men and talk to them about God and the Christian faith. It’s not the easiest thing to do, especially in this day in age, but Eschenbacher thinks whisky may just be the solution to his problem. A big fan of the Scottish spirit, the pastor noticed how easy it was to start a conversation about whisky during a leisurely whiskey tasting evening with friends, and decided to use the same catalyst to get through to men in matters of religion. He  recently announced that he was organizing a “whisky retreat” for men and all the 30 available spots were sold out almost instantly.

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Man Gets Banned by All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant for Eating Too Much

Jaroslav Bobrowski, a young Ironman triathlete from Germany, was recently banned by an-all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant for eating around 100 plates of food, something the owner considered “not normal” and very bad for business.

30-year-old Bobrowski works as a software engineer, but also trains for Ironman triathlons and is on a special diet where he doesn’t eat anything for 20 hours a day and then eats until he is full. Last weekend, he and his girlfriend stopped at the Running Sushi all-you-can-eat restaurant in Landshut, Bavaria, where he paid the fixed price of €15.90 and spent about an hour and a half stuffing himself with around 100 plates of sushi. At one point, waiters just stopped clearing his table of plates and when he finally finished, the former bodybuilder was told that he wasn’t welcome anymore.

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These German Scientists Will Pay You 10,000 Euros if You Can Prove That You Have Superpowers

Think you can move small objects using only the power of your brain? Can you find water using a simple divining rod, or maybe just transmit thoughts telepathically? If you can prove your superpowers, a group of scientists in Germany would love to reward you with €10,000 ($11,700).

The Society for the Scientific Investigation of Para-Sciences (GWUP) is a group of German physicists, biologists and psychologists who believe that people who claim to have super-powers like telekinesis, telepathy or divining abilities should not be dismissed as mere charlatans, but actually studied and allowed to prove their abilities in controlled laboratory conditions. Every year, they invite candidates to the University of Würzburg, in Würzburg, Germany, to show off their super-powers and potentially win a cool €10,000 prize. Over 60 people have been tested in recent years, but none of them have been able to claim the coveted prize.

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Restaurant Owner Restricts Entry to Children Under 14 Years of Age

The owner of a restaurant in Binz, Germany, has come under fire for banning children aged 14 and younger from entering his establishment after 5 pm.

Rudolf Markl, the owner of “Oma’s Küche” (Grandma’s Kitchen), a traditional restaurant in Binz, on the German island of  Rügen got so fed up with children’s tantrums and unruly behavior that he recently made the extreme decision to ban them from his restaurant after 5 pm. He even put up a sign near the entrance letting patrons know that in the evening, Oma’s Küche is an adult-only restaurant. Despite being accused of discrimination, Markl said that this measure was a long time coming and that he plans to enforce it going forward.

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This Tree in Germany Has Been Helping People Find Love for Over a Century

The Bridegroom’s Oak, a 500-year-old tree just outside of Eutin, in Germany, has its own postal address and actually receives around 40 letters every day. They are sent by love seekers from all around the world, in the hope that someone will read them and write back.

With so many dating apps and services available nowadays, sending letters to a tree in Germany hardly sounds like the most effective way to find love, but for true romantics, there’s really no comparison. There’s just something undeniably charming about sending a letter and allowing fate to work its magic, so the Bridegroom’s Oak remains very popular even in this digital age.

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German Lawyer Can’t Get Any Work Done Because Someone Keeps Ordering Pizza on His Behalf

Guido Grolle, a lawyer from Dortmund, Germany, was recently forced to file complaint with the local police, because someone keeps sending him pizzas to his workplace. Over the past two and a half weeks, the man has received over 100 pizzas he never ordered, and he just wants the madness to stop.

By the time he gets out of the shower in the morning, Grolle sometimes receives several emails letting him know that the pizzas he ordered will be delivered to his office at lunch. On some days, you can actually see several pizza delivery guys crossing the street to bring the lawyer the lunch he never asked for. This has been going on since late January, and Grolle really has had enough of it.

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Leading Member of German Far-Right Political Party Quits After Converting to Islam

Arthur Wagner, a leading member of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), a far-right German political party whose slogan is “Islam doesn’t belong in Germany”, recently resigned after converting to Islam.

Originally created as an anti-euro party, the AfD has recently campaigned on an anti-Muslim, anti immigration platform, strongly criticizing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow over a million refugees into Germany, since 2015. Just last summer, Arthur Wagner, who sat on the party’s executive committee in the state of Brandenburg, accused Merkel of “making a big mistake” by allowing so many Muslim refugees into the country, and warned that “Germany is mutating into a different country”. On January 11th, he left the party citing personal reasons, but it was later revealed that he had converted to Islam.

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Hobby Historian Claims to Have Discovered Forgotten 80-Meter Section of the Berlin Wall

Save for a few symbolic sections in the center of the German capital, the Berlin wall was completely demolished in 1989 . However, a local hobby historian claims to have discovered an 80-meter-long section of which authorities apparently knew nothing about.

37-year-old Christian Bormann found the forgotten section of the Berlin Wall between two train stations in the Pankow district in the northeast of the city, back in 1999. The local government office responsible for monuments was unaware of the surviving segment, and records showed the section registered as demolished. Bormann kept his discovery to himself until recently, when he noticed that it had been damage by storms. Concerned about the slowly deteriorating monument, he finally revealed his secret in a blog post and contacted Pankow district authorities, calling on them to protect it as a historical monument.

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German Schools Use Sand-Filled Vests to Calm Down Hyperactive Children

200 schools in Germany have begun asking hyperactive children, typically those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to wear heavy sand-filled vests to calm them down and keep them in their seats during classes. The controversial vests, which weigh between 1.2 and six kilograms (2.7 – 13Ib), have sparked misgivings among parents and psychiatrists.

There are plenty of advocates, however, who claim to have witnessed remarkable changes in behavior among the children who have worn them and insisted that they help curb restlessness. There has been a growing number of ADHD cases diagnosed in Germany each year, and schools that use the vest claim that they are a gentler and less complicated way to tackle the phenomenon than administering psychiatric drugs such as Ritalin.

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Bank Clerk Spends 6 Months Counting 1.2 Million Coins by Hand

Imagine inheriting more money that you and your family could ever hope to carry. That’s exactly what happened to a family in Bremervörde, Germany, who received an inheritance of over 1.2 million coins weighing around 2.5 tonnes. In this particular case, however, counting the money proved a lot more difficult than carrying it.

It all started 30 years ago, when a German truck driver started saving  1 pfennig (0.01 Deutsche Mark) and 2 pfennig (0.02 Deutsche Mark) coins for his family. He managed to collect around 1.2 million coins until his death, earlier this year, all of which were inherited by his family. Now, Deutsche Marks haven’t been in circulation since 2002, but the Bundesbank  – the central bank of Germany – still exchanges the old currency, so the man’s family were still able to collect their inheritance. All they had to do was weight until the coins were all counted by hand. It took a while.

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German Town Is Slowly Falling Apart Due to Geothermal Drilling Gone Wrong

The German town of Staufen is falling apart at the seams. The town of 8,100 residents, located on the edge of the Black Forest, decided to invest in geothermal energy back in 2007, aiming for a green energy future. Unfortunately, the decision backfired when the underground drilling went wrong causing hundreds of buildings to begin cracking apart.

The town rests on a layer of soft anhydrite, below which is a layer of groundwater confined to an aquifer. It was this combination which proved to be fatal for the Baden Württenburg hamlet. When the drills hit the groundwater, it poured into the anhydrate, which soon formed gypsum and expanded by about 50 percent. Over 270 buildings have suffered fractures in the ten years since and things don’t appear to be getting any better.

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German Man Swims to Work Every Day to Avoid Heavy Traffic

Most commuters in Munich, Germany, spend hours stuck in traffic or trying to squeeze into one of the overcrowded subway trains, every morning, but for 40-year-old Benjamin David, commuting is actually a relaxing experience. Every day, he jumps into the Isar River and swims two kilometers to his workplace in Kulturstrand.

Benjamin David used to be one of the thousands of Münchners trying to make their way to work on busy roads and cycling paths, but two years ago he decided that he needed to find a simpler alternative and the Isar River seemed like the obvious answer. It flows right past his apartment in Baldeplatz, and, even though no one has been using it for traveling purposes in decades, it used to be the best ways to get around. People traveled up and down the Isar using rafts, and, at one point, it was one of the most popular routes between Rome and Vienna. But instead of paddling on a raft, Benjamin decided to swim to work instead, and that’s been his main commute for the past two years.

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German Granny Has Been Battling Hate Speech All by Herself, for 31 Years

72-year-old Irmela Mensah-Schram is a special kind of cleaning lady. For the last 31 years, she has been travelling across Germany, cleaning its streets of hateful messages, be they propaganda posters or graffiti. She has received death threats from neo-nazis and the police have fined her numerous times, but she continues her fight against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia.

Armed with a small scraper and a can of spray-paint, Irmela Mensah-Schram, a.k.a. Germany’s “Hate Destroyer” has been removing or covering up Nazi propaganda and other right-wing slogans across her country for over three decades. For many, she is a hero fighting against hate, while some consider her actions to be in violation of freedom of speech, and even state officials have mixed feelings about her. She has received several awards for her long-term efforts to keep hateful propaganda off the streets, but she has also been fined and even taken to court for damaging others’ property.

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