Germany is using the World Cup games to show that the country hasn’t only produced some clever soccer players like the iconic Franz Beckenbauer, but also some brilliant minds, including Albert Einstein.
"Germany—The Land of Ideas" is a government-sponsored program designed to encourage the millions of international fans pouring into the country to use some of their free time to learn more about innovation made in Germany, of which there is plenty.
The computer, fax machine and MP3 audio compression algorithm are among the many inventions attributed to Germans. Even today, the country still claims nearly 19 percent of the world’s patents, second only to the United States.
Visitors to Berlin, when they leave the city’s new train station and head to the sprawling government complex on the Spree River nearby, will see a large sculpture of an aspirin, paying tribute to the country’s pharmaceutical and other medical achievements (including the X-ray, heart catheters and dialysis). Nearby are two large soccer shoes, in recognition of the Dassler family, which founded the Adidas and Puma athletic shoemakers.
In addition to these sculptures, the "Walk of Ideas" includes a several meter-high stack of books to commemorate not only German writers such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller, but also the inventor of modern book printing, Johannes Gutenberg.
In front of the Brandenburg Gate is a huge automobile sculpture. Germany—home to automobile manufacturing heavyweights BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Porsche and Volkswagen—claims not only to have invented the automobile, but also many automotive parts, such as the diesel motor, antilock break system (ABS), airbags and aluminium bodywork. The country is also attributed with inventing the motorcycle, motorboat and magnetic levitation railway. Today, German engineers are at the forefront in efforts to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to power vehicles in the future.
During the World Cup championship, which end July 9, fans touring the 12 cities with stadiums and other cities are welcome to view a number of presentations. Additional information is available here.
-John Blau, IDG News Service (Dusseldorf Bureau)
- Security Watch at the 2006 World Cup (CSOonline.com)