Last weekend, I went to see my parents. They live in a city called Duisburg in Western Germany, not far away from Cologne or the Netherlands. The city is part of the Ruhr region, a place that was once thriving with coal and metal industry. My father used to work for a coal mine and when I grew up, seeing smoking chimneys and huge industrial buildings had been normal for me. But over the past century, that kind of industry got less and less important and many of the companies had to close down. In an effort to make the region, which is one of the most densely populated ones in Germany, more attractive, many of those industrial areas have been transformed into monuments and museums. I went to see two of them over the weekend, places where I’ve never been even though that is the region where I grew up and lived for the greatest part of my life.
This is partly due to the fact that the first one had only been constructed after I had moved away. It is a funny construction, called Tiger & Turtle, in Duisburg’s south. I had seen pictures of it but I had never been there so on Friday, I forced my parents to go for a walk with me.
The monument is located on top of a hill and looks like a rollercoaster. It’s not a natural hill but one that was built out of industrial waste. They covered it in grass and built Tiger & Turtle on top, made out of the same metals that were once produced and processed in this area. Don’t ask me which ones. I read up on it but have forgotten already since there was too much information at once.
Upon getting closer, we could see people on top of the monument.
It is possible to walk along almost all of the monument, except for the loop, of course. The stairs are see-through and my dad decided to stay on the ground but my mum came with me.
Standing in front of the loop, I wished they had come up with a way to allow people to walk through it. Too bad I had to turn around and walk all the way back to get to the other end of the loop.
I think it’s a really good idea that these kind of industrial monuments pop up everywhere in the region. They’re a reminder of the past and yet make the place more attractive. We had a nice evening stroll, walking to Tiger & Turtle and back again and I was surprised by how crowded the place was.
Next time I visit my parents, I should definitely come back. It’s a shame to miss out on attractions because they’re too close to where I live or have once lived. It’s easy to focus on what’s far away but in between trips, focusing on smaller things in my own neighbourhood is worth it, too.