The government of Germany is doing a lot to ensure Earth will continue to be a good place to live. The most innovative sustainable initiatives are started by entrepreneurs though. Lately, our locals in German cities have written about many very cool initiatives that support the goals of sustainability.
We saw some of these spots in real life on our trip to Berlin last week and were certaintly inspired. We hope you will be too!
Rent tools at this award-winning sustainable haven in Cologne
Hins & Kunzt is a Sülz-based space that facilitates all kinds of sustainable services! Miscellaneous things are often swapped around. You can leave things you no longer need here and instead takes ones you do need. Sometimes, the items left here are given to a good cause, recycled, or upcycled! You can also ‘rent’ (for free) tools and various equipment that you may only need for a limited time. Bikes too play a huge role in sustainability. Here, you can either repair your old one or rent one. And if that wasn’t enough to impress you, you should know that they often host events as well – workshops, painting studios, clothes swaps, the list goes on!
Seeds for bees in Frankfurt
Typically, you would expect old defunct devices to quietly disappear, but not in Frankfurt. Here, bubble gum vending machines have been turned into bee savers. The capsules come with instruction, information, and of course, wildflower seeds! Sow them wherever you want, in your own garden or public areas. The bees will definitely be grateful!
The ideal sustainable city within Munich
Werksviertel is one of Germany’s most exciting urban development projects to keep an eye on. Located on a former industrial site, you can still feel the history of the factories that were modernized and renovated rather than destroyed. Sustainability is prioritized above all else, but at its core, Werksviertel is a diverse, modern, and inspiring urban district. As a representation of the ‘city of the future’, there is plenty of innovation and brilliant ideas to be found and inspired by here.
Educational farm in Berlin
Backyards in Berlin always offer a feeling of adventure and exploration. For instance, during one such adventure, you might come across this unexpected farm. Ziegenhof is a community formed with the purpose of practicing and teaching others all about sustainability. While this is particularly useful for children (who enjoy seeing the animals and playing around) and the youth, anyone can join! You will be able to learn about handling animals and plants, as well as eco-living and community life! If you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to join a workshop here.
Ex-fortification turned public park in Cologne
In many ways, fortifications are a relic of the past. More often than not, they end up being nothing but a piece of history. However, Fort X is different. In 1921, Cologne’s most famous landscape gardener turned it into a public park, and Cologne locals have enjoyed spending their free time here ever since. Its history and structure are enough to turn it into anyone’s favorite hangout, but it has yet another secret – the rose garden! Here, you can admire more than 40 different rose varieties, making it the perfect spot for any rose lover.
A park with a story in Hamburg
A resident-designed park, Park Fiction bolsters a story of ambition. Originally, this space was supposed to be sold to private investors, as a costly building was planned to be built here, but the residents did not want that. However, they did not simply protest against it. Instead, they began their own plan to design a park where they could recreate, hold exhibitions and film screenings, and managed to convince the government. Nowadays, people often spend their time playing basketball or just relaxing. And the artificial palm trees are not just for appearance – you can hang your hammock between them and relax with a nice view of the harbor.
Biological Italian products in a Frankfurt pantry
Fattoria La Vialla is a farm and vineyard with a long history. For more than 200 years, they have produced a variety of natural and biological products (wine, cheese, olive oil, pasta, biscuits, sauces, and honey). However, this is not a brand you would find in normal shops. Instead, they have their own pantry in Frankfurt where you can buy their high-quality products – all you need is a key, which is easy to get and makes the process quite fun. While you are there, you can even ask them to cook pasta dishes for you (you will only need to pay for the ingredients), or sample the excellent wine before you fall in love with it!
Authentic village oasis in Munich
On the location of a former farm, Stemmerhof is a great space to support local businesses and experience village life. This spot is treasured by the local community, but largely unknown by tourists! Some of the things you will find here are food stalls, an organic supermarket, a goldsmith’s, as well as various arts, crafts, and music events. And if you’re looking for a place to relax after all the shopping and fun, you can go to the former cow meadow behind the farm – perfect for picnics and naps!
Ultra-rare local sustainable wine in Berlin
Viktoriapark is one of Berlin’s most beautiful parks. Locals (particularly artists and musicians) often spend their time here, hanging out and admiring the waterfall. But Viktoria park is also home to one of Berlin’s highest hills, the Kreuzberg. That’s where a special local wine, the “Kreuz-Neroberger”, is produced. Besides being sustainable, this wine is also extremely rare. It is not directly sold; rather, you have to make a small donation to the district office of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg to obtain one of the 350 bottles produced annually. Alternatively, you will get a bottle of this wine on your 100th birthday as a local!
High-quality hand-crafted products in Cologne
Manufactum is a shop that sells a large variety of products, all of which share one important aspect – that they are natural and sustainable. Browsing through this shop is half the fun, as you will come across all sorts of interesting hipstery items, from home and garden goods to cosmetics, food, and apparel. Though you might find them slightly overpriced at times, you can know for a fact that the quality is more than up to par!
Some initiatives shared by our Spotters were so fresh, they haven’t been turned into articles yet. We hope they will!
- A community that is committed to the sustainable transformation of urban life
- A jeans-recycling initiative run by a group of people who believe in ethical fashion and sustainable consumption
- A packaging-free (!) grocery shop that also has a zero-waste cafe
- A cafe defined by a sustainable philosophy; they will even plant a tree for every Google review!
- And of course, every local market where you can directly support your local farmers and remember the effort that goes into the greens you buy!