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by Nikolaus Knebel

Quedlinburg, Germany. Quedlinburg, is an important historic place in Germany. However, its main events took place thousand years ago, when it was a palatinate of the Saxon emperors. Today, this tiny town can hardly survive. Despite all the old half-timber houses being renovated, and the pavements redone in romantic cobblestones the city is dead. Lack of people, except tourists, and even these are only a few.

The remedy that is called for in such cases is “Bilbao”. It stands for the exceptional revitalization of this decaying city in the Basque country through Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum. Would this magic wand transform Quedlinburg, too? If one shifts the focus from the past to the present, Quedlinburg is also a city with a long tradition of cultivating seeds and today is the place for one of the main research centres for the genetic engineering of plants. Would a science centre that presents this controversial issue to the public be a new magnet? At least it would be a step forward for this poor place that is so stuck in its past. In one way or another, heritage must be made useful, otherwise it remains a dead shell.

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