Made in Germany
Do you know this town Rostock?
Ever visited? If yes. Then...did you notice...
Something's up there.
There are hotels for tourists. However the people running it...in the hotel I had... they are not great in hospitality. They do not speak English. There is a WIFI connection, however it is very unreliable. The baroque hall in my hotel is considered the most wonderful of the Eastern part of Germany. It says so on the sign. I am not allowed in though. It is closed for ‘just a tourist’.
Authentic Rostock is only for the people from Rostock.
The city has in its center 13th century very pretty ‘Fachwerkhäuser‘ (half-timbered houses).
On the outer side there is a broad ring of ugly DDR cement flats. It is all still occupied.
There is a beach. There is also a Baltic ice cold sea wind that is there almost permanently. The place is deserted. It is industrial. There is however a ticket boot that sells tickets for a tour by boat. It is closed, nobody is there.
There are shops, chains. There are however no shopping malls. There is a café, with a sign ‘hier dopfelkarten’, every Friday once a month a game of cards can be played here. I hear the salary is low, resources are scarce. Youth is moving away. To the bigger Hamburg or further into Germany. Rostock is in battle: Modernize against the decline. The way that is chosen, has a recent history of violence on behalf of the extreme-right.
Modernizing can be done in secret. I know more. There is this project.
And it has a huge budget. People from Thailand have selected this place on their map of the world. They think of German machinery. German reliability. German branding for Europeans!
Europeans do not want ‘made in Thailand’ – that is according to the people in Thailand. People in Thailand buy the ‘Made in Germany’ branding. So they are building a factory here.
Price tags are literally still on the brand new equipment in this stainless steel tank park. It is enormous, complete with its own laboratory. The lab on its own costs half a million euro.
And there are no people from Rostock working here. People fly in, people with high salary and expertise. The fish-oil as ingredient comes from Thailand, from the harbour of Hamburg its transported by truck on the road towards Rostock. The Baltic sea though, is used as wallpaper in the corridor. A beautiful view from the sea outside – inside this building.
The outside of the building is nothing special. A large blue box on a gravel road.
A created image by Thailand. A branding of German innovation. It is hidden. It exists. With German machinery. In the German Rostock.
Modern Rostock is not for the people from Rostock.