Leipzig spins and booms

Leipzig has received many labels in its history: trade fair city, because with 850 years of tradition, it is one of the oldest trade fair venues in the world. City of music, because Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert and Clara Schumann worked here. Buchstadt, because it was the international logistics centre of the commission book trade until the early 20th century. Hero city, because here began the Peaceful Revolution in 1989 against the GDR regime.  For some years now, Leipzig has been said to be Germany's number 1 boomtown.

The spirit of a city that is constantly reinventing itself

In Leipzig, the population is growing the fastest. But this is rather the consequence of a fact that has always distinguished Leipzig and its citizens: one reinvents oneself again and again. It is this idiosyncratic blend of busyness, citizenship, sophistication, tenacity and inventiveness that drives the people of Leipzig to enormous creativity and makes them successful.

For centuries, something new has constantly emerged in this city. And it still does. Leipzig has risen again from the grey dreariness of socialism. And that's why a lot has had to be built in the last 30 years, because ideas, business and culture needed new space to develop further. Standstill is not for the people of Leipzig. If you want to get an impression of it, you can of course stroll through the shopping arcades of the city center.  Or let yourself be pampered in fine restaurants and cafés. Or go to the Museum of Fine Arts in the afternoon. Or enjoy classical music in the Gewandhaus in the evening.

The list of experience and cultural recommendations could be extended considerably. But the center of Leipzig is probably what one would commonly call "established". It is almost finished, it has clear structures, it is bourgeois saturated, embodies success and prosperity. Of course, this makes the citizens of Leipzig proud and also puts visitors from all over the world in a good mood, without a doubt.

A look into the soul of the city: The west of Leipzig

But if you want to see how this city currently ticks, how something new is being created, exactly at this moment when you are reading these lines, you should leave the city center. It is best to take the S-Bahn line 1 at the main station and drive in just a quarter of an hour to the station of the Leipzig district Plagwitz. At first glance, the contrast to the city center becomes apparent.

Plagwitz has its origins in the industrialization of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Wilhelminian and early modernism characterize the style of the district. The chimneys of the factories have now cooled down, the soot has evaporated, the rattling of the many spinning machines and looms in the textile factories has fallen silent. A new spirit has taken possession of the old industrial halls: not production, but creativity now sets the tone here – in all forms of play. And yet, in its own way, it is productive again, it creates something new, gives work, develops urban life.

Agile, visionary, creative

Art and business, tradition and innovation, culture and commerce are not mutually exclusive here, but live in symbiosis. Nearby, west of Plagwitz station at Spinnereistraße 7, is the former Leipzig cotton mill – an "art centre in an industrial environment", as its creators now call it. Built in 1907, it was once the largest cotton spinning mill in continental Europe.

This fascinating factory town with workers' apartments, garden settlement and its own kindergarten is still completely preserved today. Since the end of cotton yarn production in 1992, the place has been subject to constant change: "From Cotton to Culture" is the motto. Above all, artists, of whom more than 100 now have their studios in the spinning mill, were the pioneers of the revival. These include international greats such as Neo Rauch, who still work here today. In addition to the artists, over the years musicians, dancers, craftsmen, architects, merchants, printers and designers and many other trades have been inspired by the spatial possibilities of the spinning mill to settle here.