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Wolfsburg: a young city in pursuit of Modernism.

Wolfsburg: a young city in pursuit of Modernism.

Wolfsburg, founded on 1 July 1938 and one of Germany's few new cities established in the 20th century, has had a short but eventful history. Many a trend in the revival of West Germany can be traced back to the city. It is a typical and successful example of a planned urban development, and its history is closely bound with Volkswagen AG.

Because Wolfsburg's cityscape was conceived on the drawing board to a far greater extent than any other German town or city, urban development and architecture have always followed specific parameters here. Both are therefore crucial to Wolfsburg's identity and self-image – you could say that the city lives through them and thrives on them. In 2001 Wolfsburg became one of the first municipalities in Germany to set up its own department for architectural communication and architecture in the public eye – the Architecture Forum – and can thus be seen as a museum of 20th-century urban development ideas. But the city has also made space for a series of extraordinary standalone pieces: since the mid-1950s, it has seen the construction of Alvar Aalto's cultural centre, Hans Scharoun's theatre, the planetarium and art museum, Autostadt and, most recently, the phæno science centre. Situated opposite the heritage-listed train station, the phæno looks more like a spaceship than a building and is often referred to as Germany's biggest walk-in sculpture. It was designed by the award-winning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who has created a one-of-a-kind work of breathtaking audacity. The building's construction pushed the boundaries of what was feasible, involving pioneering structural analysis and use of materials. Inside, you will find 350 interactive experimentation hubs on exciting technical and scientific phenomena – the centre's slogan "you'll be amazed" is an understatement to say the least.

Wolfsburg's other major attraction is Autostadt, the automotive exhibition complex and visitor centre opened by Volkswagen AG to coincide with EXPO 2000. But the emphasis here is not just on cars; visitors can also look forward to exciting films, thrilling simulators and awe-inspiring architecture set among 25 hectares of parkland and lakes. Autostadt also offers plenty of opportunity to relax and sample culinary delights in the numerous restaurants. Another place for relaxation that is popular with Wolfsburg's residents is Allerpark, a sprawling park with a lake and white sandy beach. Those preferring an urban rather than a leafy setting should head for Shopping Outlets Wolfsburg, which is located in the city centre and is Germany's top destination for bargain hunters. The culturally-minded will like Wolfsburg Theatre, which opened in 1973 as a touring venue, although it now mounts two inhouse productions every year. Since opening in 1994, Wolfsburg's art museum has held a large number of important exhibitions and events, most notably in the fields of contemporary and modern painting, sculpture, photography, fashion and design. Its collections have always shared a common theme: 'The pursuit of Modernism in the 21st century'. This focus is trained on exploring the aesthetic ideas of Modernism in the world of today and presenting these in a visceral and intellectual form. But to think that Wolfsburg is totally brand new would not be right at all. Indeed the original Wolfsburg was a 13th-century Renaissance castle. This has belonged to the local authority since 1961 and its attractions include the municipal museum and municipal gallery. Then there is Neuhaus Castle, a 14th-century moated castle, and Fallersleben Palace from 1551, which has accommodated the Hoffmann von Fallersleben Museum since 1991. It's also nice to note that the old Fallersleben brewery is still standing, offering tradition and cheer in delightful, rustic surroundings on all but one day of the year. That gives you 364 opportunities to visit Wolfsburg and ponder the city's many facets over a traditional German beer.

City Highlights

Autostadt, VW's automotive exhibition complex and customer centre, opened as part of the EXPO 2000, is Wolfsburg's biggest attraction. But the emphasis here is not just on cars; visitors can also look forward to exciting films, thrilling simulators and awe-inspiring architecture. Set in 25 hectares of parks and lakeland, it also offers plenty of opportunity to relax and sample the culinary delights in the excellent restaurants. In the ZeitHaus museum a wealth of exhibits document various design icons from the history of the motor car. Read more

Marveling at the fire tornado, setting a ball in motion through brainwaves or lying as a fakir on a bed of nails: Over 350 interactive stations stimulate visitors to discover the world of scientific phenomena.

There's something to experience at phaeno for everyone. Families as well as individuals, groups, or clubs and societies can all discover what's behind a wide spectrum of phenomena within the world they live in. And the best thing about it: visitors are called upon to take an active part in what's going on. The unique and spectacular building is created by the Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Zaha Hadid. Conducted tours on the architecture are available.

Opening times:
Tuesday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 10 am - 6 pm
Mondays and 24.12. / 31.12.: Closed
During school vacations in Lower Saxony:
Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm

The Aller Park is the perfect place to enjoy some exercise in the fresh air. Wolfsburg's lakeside paradise is popular with people of all ages who come here from far and wide to have fun, play sport and relax in the great outdoors. The sprawling park with its white, sandy beach has water and greenery as far as the eye can see. In addition to the Volkswagen Arena, home to VfL Wolfsburg football club, there's also the EisArena stadium where the Grizzly Adams ice hockey team play, BadeLand water park and Lake Allersee. Aller Park offers a wealth of fun leisure pursuits and tranquil relaxation – with something new to experience every day.

Where every brand is a world in itself: Designer Outlets Wolfsburg is Germany's first designer outlet centre located in an urban centre. Set in 10,000m² of retail space, the centre offers high-quality designer fashions at between 30 and 70 per cent off high street prices – an absolute dream for any savvy shopper on the lookout for a bargain. As an extra treat, the shops often open their doors on a Sunday as well, and on various evenings for late-night shopping.

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