by German Semester

After the semester is before the semester!

The German semester is nearing its end. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions – from the enthusiastic beginning, the sparkling atmosphere of fantastic ideas being generated on the fly, the solid planning of events of various nature to the sudden slow down when the implications of the Covid-19 restrictions sank in.

In disbelief we observed how the catastrophic situation in Lombardy was unfolding around us and we could not imagine how under these circumstances we could organise a cultural programme at all.

Lockdown, home office, home schooling, desperate parents exhausted with the double task of work and supervision of homework, friends and family worried about the health of the vulnerable, loved ones, ourselves.

But then, slowly, our spirits awakened again. We sensed that after having been forced to such a radically different life style almost from one day to another – not only in Ispra but all across Europe – something important was shifting into focus – creativity and culture!

Social interaction, traditions, sharing of recipes, music, theatre, literature, the landscape of our heimat, the taste of our wines – this all defines us more than our daily work and finding solutions to overcome the challenges became almost a sport!

As summer came and the situation relaxed, also hope returned for holding the one or other event as a true social event. With masks and some distance, we managed to organise a series of safe(!) film, music and literature events. 

See an overview of all our events here.

With the second wave approaching we needed to revert again to plan B for pub quiz, wine tasting and sports events. However, very few events really needed to be cancelled. 

The German Semester 2020 App was a brilliant idea that created the glue between the real and virtual world and diversified our programme.

And our garden gnomes HEINZ were just another example how creativity made a successful break through when our semester symbol could not be realised because of COVID.

Heinz became our mascot, symbol and united us when adults and children alike spent their weekends painting and decorating their gnomes.

As presidents of the German Semester 2020 we can only say THANK YOU to a brilliant, motivated, creative, energising, supportive team who invested hours on hours on making our programme happen.

We will miss the committee meetings, editor meetings, zoom meetings. We are looking forward to when we will finally be able to face each other without restrictions, without masks but bottles of prosecco to celebrate our success!

We hope very much that this will happen during the next 6 months and wish that our colleagues from the Portuguese Semester will have more favourable conditions for their activities.

With this last editorial, we are handing slowly over to Sandra Caldeira e Ricardo Sousa and the Portuguese Semester team and wish them all the best.

Our Portuguese colleagues have been very busy with putting together a programme with many virtual events, including the Portuguese Semester ‘Virtual’ Opening Ceremony, with a set date for the 15th January 2021, to which we will also participate to pass on the testimony.

But we also know of their hopes to organise ‘in presence’ events that would include a Summer Music Festival in June and the Semester Closing Dinner!

They will be following our example and will put in place a ‘webapp/web site’ but cannot reveal much more not to ruin eventual 2021 surprises!

We wish our colleagues all the best for the coming 6 months, wish you a different but wonderful Christmas as well as New Year for 2021, but also remind you to stay and keep safe!

Georg and Jutta together with Sandra and Ricardo

Viva DS2020! Viva Europa!