Magazine article The Futurist

Germany to Build a Chinatown: Could Creating a New Community Create More Cultural Understanding?

Magazine article The Futurist

Germany to Build a Chinatown: Could Creating a New Community Create More Cultural Understanding?

Article excerpt

An abandoned airfield near a former Nazi concentration camp may soon feature pagodas and Tai Chi parks. A $700 million project aims to give Germany its own Chinatown 22 miles north of Berlin in the town of Oranienburg, housing 2,000 residents by 2010.

The investor group behind the scheme hopes the new Chinatown will attract tourists and business to rival the famed Chinatowns of San Francisco and New York by delivering an "authentic Chinese experience." "You'll be able to experience China, go out for a Chinese meal, and buy Chinese goods," says Stefan Kunigam, managing director of Brandenburg-China-Project-Management GmbH.

The project has attracted investors in both Germany and China, reports Christoph Lang of Berlin's Trade and Industry Promotion Office. "Chinese investors have already asked if we have a Chinatown here," he says. "The cultural environment is very important for them. You cannot build a synthetic Chinatown."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Germany is home to about 72,000 Chinese migrants (2002 Federal Statistical Office figures), but the country has not had a Chinatown since the early 1930s in Hamburg, when most of the city's 2,000 Chinese residents fled or were arrested by the Nazis. …

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