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Heidelberg by night, Copyright: Fotolia/eyetronic
Heidelberg by nightImage: Fotolia/eyetronic

Creative Cities

December 1, 2014

The Scorpions, Scooter and Mozart helped win three German locations the title of UNESCO Creative Cities. They're among a collection of international cities recognized for their cultural legacies.


Mannheim and Hanover can now officially call themselves "Cities of Music" and Heidelberg is a "City of Literature." They were among 28 cities from 19 countries to become members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network on Monday, December 1.

The 42-member network, founded in 2004, is designed to promote cultural exchange and enhance member cities' attractiveness for tourists and business. The Creative Cities titles are distributed in seven categories: Craft and folk arts, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music.

In addition to the three German cities, the new additions included well known metropolises as well as smaller, lesser known towns. Helsinki (Finland) was recognized in the design category, Prague (Czech Republic) for literature, Turin (Italy) for design, and York (UK) and Tel Aviv-Yafo (Israel) for media arts.

In addition, Dunedin (New Zealand) was recognized for literature, Florianopolis (Brazil) and Shunde (China) for gastronomy and Hamamatsu (Japan) for music. The complete list of Creative Cities 2014 can be viewed on the UNESCO website.

Scorpions in 1985, Copyright: picture alliance/dpa
The Scorpions, pictured in 1985, are one of Germany's most successful bands abroadImage: picture alliance/dpa

Musical opposites

Both Mannheim and Hanover have a long musical tradition. Hanover is perhaps best known for its internationally acclaimed bands, which include hard-rock group Scorpions and techno act Scooter.

Although Mannheim is today the site of a renowned pop music academy, its musical heyday was in the early classical period of music history. The city was home to the "Mannheim School," a tradition and aesthetic of music making that created a new standard of orchestral virtuosity. Mannheim thus attracted the top musicians of the day, among them Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The picturesque city of Heidelberg in western-southern Germany was a hub of German romanticism in the 19th century. Works by significant German poets like Friedrich Hölderlin, Ludwig Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentanto and Joseph von Eichendorff became known as "Heidelberg Romantic."

Essen, one of UNESCO's Culture Capitals in 2010, and Weimar also vied for the Creative Cities title, but went away empty handed this year.

kbm/rf (dap, unesco.org)

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