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Discover Jewish Germany

30th November 2007 Print
Enlighten, Entice and Encourage – so says the headline for the launch of “Discover Jewish Germany” organised by the German National Tourist Office in London in cooperation with the Jewish Museum Berlin, Berlin Tourism Marketing and Milk & Honey Tours Berlin.

More than 80 guests and representatives of the Jewish community in London, travel trade industry, Jewish press, cultural institutions and the German Embassy were invited to a lunch at “Six13” restaurant in central London and informed on the history of German Jews today as well as heritage tours and tourism opportunities offered by Germany’s contemporary thriving Jewish community.

With 120,000 Jews currently living in Germany, the country has the fastest growing Jewish community in the world after Israel. This growth is manifested, among others, by the opening of a large community centre with a synagogue and museum in Munich last November, the opening of a synagogue in Gelsenkirchen and the re-opening of the Ryke St. Synagogue in Berlin in 2006. In Erfurt, a synagogue dating back to the 11th century is currently being renovated and will open in 2009.

Jewish specialist tour operators such as Milk & Honey, based in Berlin, are offering tailor-made programmes aimed at discovering Germany from a Jewish perspective including Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne tours. The Jewish Museum Berlin, located in a spectacular building designed by Daniel Libeskind and opened in 2001, has since then grown to one of the most popular museums in Berlin. 95 percent of all British travellers visiting the museum rate it as an “excellent” experience. With 11 percent, UK visitors are currently the third biggest group of international visitors behind Italian and Dutch tourists.

Joanne Lappin, Sales Manager of the German National Tourist Office UK & Ireland, comments on the current developments: “The Jewish history and culture in Germany makes for a fascinating opportunity to discover yet another facet of this diverse country. Jews have lived here for almost 2,000 years, an unbroken chain beginning in the era of the Roman Empire and extending up to today. While respecting and remembering the history of Jewish life in Germany, there is scope to approach the new Jewish Germany and travel to the country to see what’s new from a Jewish perspective.”

The GNTO hopes continue the project by organising trips to Germany for the UK Jewish Community and producing new brochures outlining the variety of Jewish heritage tours on offer.

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