Tuesday, 12 August 2008

If you go down to the woods today...

One of my first strong impressions of Germany was the view from the plane on landing at Frankfurt airport: far and wide, there are just trees. And, in fact, almost a third of Germany's land mass is covered with woods or forest.

So I was intrigued by the flyer from the Zukunftsinstitut announcing the latest trend that they've discovered: "Neo-Nature". According to the flyer, there is a new longing in the German soul to get back to nature and into the woods. Nature is the new luxury and the market for Wandern is booming at €12 bn.

While it may well be the Zukunftsinstitut's perogative to wrap this up as an exciting new trend (we all have to make our money somehow!), I would argue that love of the woods and forests is a basic part of the German DNA, stretching right back to when whichever Germanic tribes jumped on the Romans, upsetting their little plan for world domination, and probably before that. Go into any German wood or forest any day and you are guaranteed to see most of the following: gathering wild mushrooms/herbs, Nordic Walking, BBQ-ing in the specially designated place, children's playground to blend in with nature, mountain biking, jogging, gathering horse chestnuts (I've always wondered what for - they don't play conkers here!), photographing and sketching, birdwatching, Keep-Fit (Trimm-dich Pfad ) as well as good old Wandern.

1 comment:

Stephen Rothman said...

And let's not forget Wäldchestag (Forest Day), Frankfurt's own "national" holiday.