“Alte Feuerwehr Viktoria” was the place I spent most of the summer of ’18 at, watching the football World Cup, drinking well prepared drinks & local beers, eating at Löscher. The restaurant & bar are located in a former garage for the trucks of the local firefighters. When they moved away from the city centre a couple of years ago, the building was turned into a vivid neighbourhood center with all sorts of pop ups and start ups.
But even before the boxing school, the bicycle shop and the restaurant moved in, before Radio Blind Power built a studio on site and Adriano’s started roasting its coffee in the micro roasting establishment and before artistes moved into the hose-drying-tower, the place had been turned into a refugee camp. In the midst of the “refugee crisis” in 2015 the top floor was inhabited by Syrians and Afghans, Sri Lankis and Eritreans. But other than in some rural communities where refugees have been “welcomed” with fear and anger, at Alte Feuerwehr Viktoria they were soon part of an urban testing field for new ideas of cooperation and cultural exchange.
The refugees are not there anymore, though, since the migration problem has been successfully shifted elsewhere (not solved) by European politics. What has remained is a dynamic, local laboratory for all kinds of arts, handcrafts and new forms of sustainability. Need more examples? Most recently a library of things moved into the “Alte Feuerwehr” where you can borrow everything from a screwdriver to a disco ball.