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Culture

Germany's Top Five

Germany's abuzz this week with a Nordic culture festival in Berlin, an exciting Champions League duel in Munich, classical music in Dortmund, pop art in Gladbeck and rugged winter skiing in Oberstdorf.

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Oberstdorf is hosting the Nordic Skiing World Championships

Nordic cultural capital: Starting Feb. 24, the German capital will turn into a hotspot for cool Nordic culture with more than 100 events ranging from music, theater, dance, readings, art exhibitions and sporting events taking place at venues all over Berlin. Called "Nordic Culture -- Update from the Nordic Countries," the festival will open on Thursday in Berlin's trendy Prenzlauer Berg district and will feature a dance performance by Finnish choreographer and Berlin resident Tomi Paasonen. Berlin has established itself as a cultural capital of the Nordic countries and a magnet for hundreds of young or established artists from Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The festival will run through March 21.

Bayern vs. Arsenal

Thorsten Fink, right, of FC Bayern Munich and French striker Thierry Henry of Arsenal FC London challenge for the ball during their last match in group C of the UEFA Champions League at Munich's Olympic stadium, Germany, Wednesday, March 14, 2001.

Clash of the titans: On Feb. 22, Munich's Olympia Stadium will be the scene of a match between Germany's Bayern Munich and English giants Arsenal in the Champions League. Arsenal's lineup of formidable French stars, in particular striker Thierry Henry, will battle Bayern's own daunting icons including midfielder Michael Ballack, Brazilian defender Lucio and Dutch striker Roy Maakay, fresh off his three-goal game against Borussia Dortmund. Fans can also look forward to an electrifying duel between Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and his counterpart in Arsenal, German Jens Lehmann. Their ongoing feud off the pitch has been the subject of intense speculation in soccer circles.

Classical music feast: Classical music fans might want to pencil in a visit to Dortmund this year. Starting Feb. 24, over 100 young artists from 20 countries will show off their talents here on the piano, violin, viola, French horn, clarinet, oboe and bassoon. Called "The Next Generation II," the festival, as the name suggests, will showcase the generation of artists who are well set to influence classical music in the 21st century. All participating musicians have won famous international competitions, played with celebrated orchestras and conductors and made their debuts in the world's most illustrious concert halls. The centerpiece of the festival includes 100 masterworks of chamber music. The festival runs through Dec. 11.

Sigmar Polke

Sigmar Polke

Pop art exhibition: The municipal museum in the town of Gladbeck in North Rhine-Westphalia has opened a representative show of famous German pop artist Sigmar Polke. The 45 works of art include some that have never been seen by the public. Cologne-based Polke is famous for creating the "Capitalist Realism" painting movement in 1963 in Düsseldorf with fellow artists Gerhard Richter and Konrad Leug. While Polke is best know for his depictions of famous film stars made of striped pyjama material or flowered table covers, his works also touch on political and social issues that have affected post-war Germany. The exhibition runs through mid April.

Helio Freitas SKI-WM in Oberstdorf

Brazilian Helio Freitas

Nordic Skiing World Championships: Oberstdorf in southern Germany is currently the place to be for skiing fans. The snow-covered town hosting the ongoing Nordic Skiing World Championships has attracted a galaxy of skiing stars, a media circus and even celebrities such as the Swedish royal couple, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, who will grace the championship on Thursday while watching the ski jumping, Nordic combined and cross country events for three days. Organizers are gushing about sold-out events, a great atmosphere and perfect weather conditions. The only mood-spoiler for some is the German ski team's performance. The women missed the gold medal by a long shot on Monday, coming in fourth much to the disappointment of thousands of fans. The championships run through Feb. 27th.

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