Wednesday, 18 May 2022


The session opening on this day in 1848 in the Frankfurt am Main Pauluskirche as a result of the March Revolutions precipitated by the upheavals for Prussia and the German Empire caused by the Napoleonic Wars and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the Frankfurter Parliament marked the first freely elected assembly for all of Germany and ran until the end of the month. During heated and lengthy debates and negotiations, the body produced a constitution (Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches) which established a united empire adhering to the principles of parliamentary, representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy headed by a hereditary emperor—Kaiser. Whilst the Prussian king initially rejected the title that the assembly wanted to bestow on him on the grounds it would abrogate the rights of princes who led constituent states, the contentious gathering nonetheless provided model legislation for the Weimar Republic and the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) first adopted by West Germany and then the reunified republic. Much more information at the links above.

Monday, 16 May 2022


Three years to the date after Nikola Tesla delivered a famous lecture to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers outlining the efficient production of electricity from a centralized location and transmitting the power generated over long-distances using alternating current, the International Electrotechnical Exhibition opened at Frankfurt’s Westbahnhof and demonstrated the first such inductive feat, the power generated from a hydroelectric source some one hundred and seventy five kilometres south from a waterfall at Lauffen am Neckar. The Post Office helped erect the transmission lines, a considerable amount of copper wire—the three phase arrangement (3ฯ†) that is used for most modern grids to this day trebling or rather thirding voltage across three wires each with the current offset by one hundred twenty degrees—that retained about three-quarters of the output over the distance, the experiment proving that generation in situ, with direct current, was not ideal in most domestic and industrial applications, confirmed and adopted by the United States and favouring rival George Westinghouse (Tesla’s employer) over Thomas Edison in the War of the Currents at the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

red baron or what do you want on your tombstone?

Vaunted as the ace-of-aces of the Great War, Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen was shot down and killed on this day in 1918 after scoring his seventy-ninth and eightieth air combat victories the day prior. Previously we had poked about Wiesbaden’s Sรผdfriedhof in search of the Red Baron’s resting place and thought it appropriate to visit today. Already elevated to legendary stature in life and subject to hero-worship that Richthofen was wont to indulge as well as respected by his enemies, the circumstances surrounding his death are a matter of controversy and speculation, coming to the aid of his cousin, another member of the elite Flying Circus (see above), Lieutenant Wolfram von Richthofen, who was taking enemy fire. The source of the fatal bullet is uncertain with several vectors entertained. As was
customary, the commanding officer of the Royal Airforce combatant squandron accorded the Baron a military funeral with full-honours, near the spot where the fighter pilot fell in Bertangles in the Somme—and had a more active than usual career in death, disinterred and reburied in the German Military Cemetery at Fricourt in Picardie, brought to Berlin by his brother Lothar (a site that was later relegated to a no man’s land on the boundary of the Soviet zone of occupation and often pelted with stray bullets in attempts to stop people from fleeing for the West—his brother’s gravesite in their hometown of ลšwidnica too was levelled once Silesia was restored to Poland after World War II) and finally in 1975 transferred to the family plot in Wiesbaden.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022


 Founded in Wiesbaden on this day in 1882, the Congress for Internal Medicine (present headquarters as die Deutsche Gesellschaft fรผr Innere Medizin pictured) was held in the Kurhaussaal and attended by some one hundred and eighty physicians with the aim to champion science and research in applied medicine and to highlight and harmonise best-practises across the discipline. Working closely with professional credentialing organisations, membership over the past century, a tumultuous one that endured world wars, Nazis, partition and reunification and new the challenges of scepticism of expertise, has swelled to nearly thirty-thousand with special focus on mentorship and attracting young people to the field through honours and incentivisation. 


Tuesday, 5 April 2022

bridgehead and bastion

Taking another stroll around the neighborhood during my lunch break (see previously) and with the subterranean pedestrian passage reopened I explored the Reduit—the redoubt that originally hosted the soldiers’ barracks of the fortress of Mainz across the River Rhein—the connected to rest of the Palatinate via a pontoon bridge of ships lashed together at the time of completion in 1834 when the garrison hosted troops of the German Confederation which included forces of Austria and Prussia

 The semi-detached caponier, separated by the inner courtyard, is a defensive feature to extend the protection of the fort’s curtain to outbuildings and beyond—and is derived from the French term caponniรจre for chicken coup. 

Damaged during World War II and not fully restored, today it is the seat of several local clubs and organisations and an open-air venue. The connecting tunnel is reserved as the Brรผckenkopf Kastel Graffiti Hall of Fame and features more gigantic street art murals.

Saturday, 26 March 2022

see something, spray something


My workplace located in the extended concrete canvas of The Meeting of the Styles (previously) international street artist collective and noticing some of the murals being given a new layer, I took a stroll around Mainz-Kastel through the train depot and some unwalkable places to document some of the expansive graffiti, especially noting those that referenced the district’s Roman connections and the neo-Classical redoubt / reduit bridgehead fortress that’s just across the tracks on the bank of the Rhein from the station.  We’ll see if we’re host to a whole new gallery of works soon.


Wednesday, 16 March 2022

colour palette


Saturday, 12 February 2022


Founded on this day in 1973 under the executive agencies of the West German Federal Ministry of the Interior (with this boss door which we can all appreciate) in Wiesbaden, the Institute for Population Research (Bundesinstitut fรผr Bevรถlkerrungsforschung) was originally charged with investigating perceived declining fertility rates in the country but has since taken on more enlightened and enlightening studies, working closely with Destatis (see previously here and here), in demographics including longevity, migration and economic mobility.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

milia passuum

Usually during lunch, I make a circuit around the neighbourhood of Mainz-Kastell and though I pass it every day, it still strikes me as a marvel and privilege that this ancient Roman milestone—among other archaeological artefacts—from 122 CE is just basically someone’s garden gnome. The highly abbreviated inscription reads as a dedication to “Emperor Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, Son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, Grandson of the deified Nerva, Pontifex Maximus in the sixth year of his tribunician [veto] power, Father of the Fatherland. Six miles (M·P VI) to Aquae Mattiacorum.” A near identical inscription (a decade older) was discovered near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem during an excavation in 2014, Hadrian being in power during the Revolt of Roman Judea—the rebellion and the effort to suppress it framed as Expeditio—expedition (see also) Judaica by the other side.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

wรถrter des jahres

The panel jury of the Society for the Germany Language (GfdS, Gesellschaft fรผr deutsche Sprache) in Wiesbaden has submitted its selection for Word of the Year (see previously) chosing Wellenbrecher (Breakwater, in the sense of disrupting successive waves of viral outbreaks) as the overall top neologism of 2021. Runners-up included Pflexit for the mass-exodus of nursing staff (Pflegekraft) from the profession from burnout, stress and even threats of physical violence, Impfpflicht (mandatory vaccination), Ampelparteien, the English borrowing Booster over the German word Auffrischungsimpfung—which was the preferred term for second-dose, and the new formulation Funf nach Zwรถlf instead of Five Minutes to Midnight in addressing the climate crisis.

Sunday, 29 August 2021


First synthesised on this day in 1982 at the Darmstadt Institute for Heavy Ion Research (GIS, Gesellschaft fรผr Schwerionforschung) the synthetic meitnerium (Mt) was given the above provisional designation following Grigory Mendeleev’s nomenclature for undiscovered atomic elements—the convention becoming a placeholder shortly before its discovery with the controversy over the honours and naming-system being overhauled.
The research-team wanted to recognise the previously overlooked contributions of physicist Lise Meitner for her pioneering work in nuclear fission and her co-discovery of the element protactinium with Otto Hahn. Curium being named for both Pierre and Marie Curie, meitnerium is the only element named for a non-mythological woman. Because of its half-life of mere seconds even in the most stable isotope, few of its chemical properties are known though study continues, and its periodic neighbours, hassium and darmstadtium, are both named for the above laboratory.

Thursday, 24 June 2021


Though we didn’t know what the belltower of the ruins of the monastery contained last time we visited Bad Hersfeld, we now know to check out next time the oldest, dated cast church bell in Germany, named after a sainted abbot of the town and later first archbishop of Mainz, Wessex-born Lullus. According to a highly abbreviated, Latin inscription the thousand kilogramme bell was moulded on this Feast of Saint John the Baptist in 1038. Hanging in the Katharinenturm amidst the church’s foundations and partial walls, it is rung to herald the town’s Lullusfest, held in the second week of October to commemorate the passing its namesake and other special occasions.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

hippodamian plan

Via the always excellent Maps Mania, we are referred to a mapping project that twins cities based on similarities and correspondences found in the layout of their streets and boulevards. Medium to larger populated areas from all over the world can be found—Wiesbaden’s road network (see previously) sharing some features with Luxembourg, Singapore, Lviv, Haifa and Bologna. I wonder if visitors exchanging towns would have a better sense of orientation and be able to intuit their way around. As far I can tell, none of these arterially similar cities are also Sister Cities (Stรคdtepartnerschaft, Jumelage). As opposed to a more organic ordering of streets, the title refers to the grid arrangement we fancy as a very modern and tidy imposition, for the eponymous city-planner of ancient Greek Miletus.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

vitae bonifatius

Feted on this day on the occasion of his martyrdom (*675) on this day in 754 near Dokkum in Friesland, Boniface, from the Devon village of Crediton, was a leading figure of the Anglo-Saxon mission to the Frankish Empire and whose influence, reforms and alliances-including the union of the papacy with the Carolingian dynasty and the successor transnational organisations, like the Holy and Roman Empire of the Germans and the EU, and is celebrated as a missionary and uniter and peace-maker, the Apostle to the Germans acclaimed almost immediately after his death as patron of the country and Fulda, his major shrine. The basilica minor is not far away from the modern day town of Fritzlar where Boniface reportedly, dramatically chopped down the Donar Oak (considered sacred to Jupiter through interpretatio romana) to illustrate that no punishment would be meted out for this perceived desecration and went on to build a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter from the lumber. Winning converts, Boniface encouraged widespread destruction of pagan sites, especially sacred groves. Though probably only an inventive story, the saint is sometimes credited with the invention of the Christmas tree as a way to coopt and supplant native customs. Boniface and his retinue were killed by highway robbers en route to Frisia, hoping to find more followers in the north, their attackers sorely disappointed to find only books and manuscripts instead of treasure.

Monday, 10 May 2021

up and atom

Via Present/&/Correct, we are referred to a curated cache Nuclear Engineering Wall Charts and vintage reactor diagrams from the collection of the University of New Mexico. The pictured diagram features the Biblis B Kernkraftwerke (AKW) near Worms, both A and B blocks were closed in March 2011 following the Fukushima and since permanently shut-down and slated for decommissioning. More to explore at the links above.

Monday, 1 March 2021


Active at a pivotal time that marked the transition in field of nature studies from hobbyists to professionals and one of the first to adopt the classification system of Carl Linnaeus in the German-speaking community, Catharina Helena Dรถrrien was born this day in 1717 (†1795). A talented painter, Dรถrrien researched and catalogued native plants and fungi of the Principality of Orange-Nassau with over fourteen hundred watercolour botanical illustrations and many of her works are in the collections of the Wiesbaden Museum.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

zehn thesen fรผr gutes design

Via Present /&/ Correct, we rather enjoyed this fine visual homage to the palette and aesthetic of industrial design artist Dieter Rams from Chad Ashley and Grey Scale Gorilla studios. The Wiesbaden native who famously articulated the principles of good design and called obsolescence a crime, and tried to adhere to these guidelines of innovation, utility, accessibility, honestly, durability and minimalism in everything he created is best known for his work for Braun, which in turn is paid tribute in Apple’s operating environment, including the skeuomorph for the calculator, the reel-to-reel tape recorder in the podcast icon and the World Clock (see also), praising Apple as one of the few company’s upholding excellence in design.

Monday, 14 December 2020

location scout oder deckname topas

Hearing that someone might be making a weekend of visiting nearby sites where films had been shot sounded like a fun activity and piqued my curiosity as to whether any might be in reach for me. I was surprised to come across this image from 1968 in the Stars and Stripes photographic archive of the filming of the 1969 release of the Cold War spy-thriller Topaz, the cinematic adaptation of Leon Uris’ novelisation of a real defection, the Sapphire Affair, that took place in 1962 directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Here is the same building from last summer from a slightly different angle and perspective.
The story follows a French intelligence agent who becomes entangled in a spy ring and the geopolitical situation on the eve of the Cuba Missile Crisis. A high-ranking Soviet officer reveals that nuclear warheads will be placed in Cuba (mirroring the US installation in Turkey) and he and his family are evacuated to Wiesbaden. Filming also takes place in Copenhagen, Washington, DC, Paris, New York with Havana scenes filmed on a studio lot.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

emgann ballon

Appointed by Carolingian emperor Louis the Pious to pacify rebellion on the far frontiers of the Frankish territories during a general assembly held at the court of Ingelheim in May of 831, Nominoรซ (Nevenoe) the Breton (see previously) was created first Duke of Brittany—solidifying his power and reputation, emerging victorious from the Battle of Ballon, fought on this day in 845, and halting incursions along the border by King of West Francia, Charles the Bald (Karl Voal/Karl der Kahle/Charles II dit le Chauve). A peace was brokered and the unified Breton people had carved out an identity and land of their own, with independence negotiated in 1851 by Nominoรซ’s son Erispoe after the larger, more decisive Battle of Jengland, near Rennes, compelled Charles to sign the Treaty of Angers.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

das wiesbadener manifest

Declared on this day in 1945 from their base of operations (collection point) in the occupied capital of Hessen, the officers that comprised the special commission of the Monuments Fine Arts and Archives organisation (the MFAA, the group also known as the Monuments Men) was a stern rejection that European treasure should be taken to the United States as plunder and the spoils of war.  The recovery and restitution efforts beginning earlier that summer, the programme’s first director CPT Walter I Farmer of the US Army Corps of Engineers received a large shipment of Nazi-looted art and antiquities, and soon the enormity of the task was apparent, prompting the issuing of the manifesto, announcing: “We wish to state that, from our own knowledge, no historical grievance will rankle so long or be the cause of so much justified bitterness as the removal for any reason of a part of the heritage of any nation even if that heritage may be interpreted as a prize of war.” Over seven hundred thousand objects and artefacts were catalogued by the organisation, stolen from museums (works from the Berlin Gemรคldegalerie and Nationalgalerie including Botticelli, Rembrant, Rubens and Cranach), private collections, Jewish citizens and political dissidents and were kept safeguarded from reparation claims and trophies of war that had been taken back to America were repatriated, President Truman getting involved with the debate and ordering paintings and sculptures returned to Germany in 1948.