Twin City Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad is Russia’s westernmost capital. It is located in the west of the Kaliningrad district on the river Pregolya. The river flows through the city and drains to the west of the city into the Vistula lagoon. A narrow peninsula, the Vistula spit, separates the lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The city is connected to Baltiysk and the open sea by the “Kaliningrad sea canal”. As the former city of Koenigsberg was almost completely destroyed in World War II, Kaliningrad was built here.
Due to its year-round ice-free seaport, Kaliningrad is a major Russian shipbuilding location. The city is home to Russia’s largest fishing fleet. Other important areas of business are the chemical industry, mechanical engineering, the furniture industry and musical instrument making. BMW and KIA run car assembly facilities in Kaliningrad. Most of the rural population surrounding the city is employed in cooperatively organised agriculture, or on the coast in fishing.
In 1990, a co-operation was formed between the Lloyd shipyard and Flamingo Fisch in Bremerhaven and Reftransflot Kaliningrad. The project involved converting a Russian factory fishing vessel, and the costs were paid in the form of fish. This close cooperation and the development of further projects led to today’s twinning of the two cities, which was officially concluded on 24 April 1992.
Kaliningrad is 1018 km from Bremerhaven and has approx. 418,000 inhabitants. The city covers an area of approx. 215.7 km² and lies 4.8 m above NN.
The city boasts numerous museums, e.g. the Immanuel Kant Museum, the Cathedral Museum, the Museum of History and Art. The Amber Museum with a large collection of jewellers’ products is housed in an old fort.
A former research vessel anchored on the Pregolya contains an exhibition of the latest marine research technologies as well as marine fauna and flora from around the world.
The only old building remaining in the city centre is the Koenigsberg Cathedral. Behind the cathedral is the over two hundred year-old tomb of Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804), perhaps one of the greatest and certainly most influential philosophers of modern times. Kant spent almost all of his life in Koenigsberg.
In 1945, the last year of the World War II, the monument to Kant unveiled in 1864 disappeared. On the initiative and at the cost of Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, it was re-cast and erected next to the University in 1992. Dönhoff, who died in 2002, was the editor of the German news weekly “DIE ZEIT” for many years. She was born in Koenigsberg and grew up there. All her life, she worked for reconciliation and mutual understanding.
One of her most cherished projects was supporting Kaliningrad University. In 1997, the ZEIT Foundation established a scholarship programme. This “Kant scholarship” allowed selected undergraduates and doctorate students to spend a semester studying and researching at a European university of their choice. The first three Kant scholarship students came to Germany in autumn 1998.
Marion Gräfin Dönhoff was awarded an honorary doctorate in October 2000 in recognition of her tireless work for this cause.
In Bremerhaven, her idea was taken up, and the Senior Mayor Mr. Schulz awarded two scholarships for summer school at Bremerhaven University as a gift on the occasion of Kaliningrad’s 750th anniversary celebrations in 2004. Two young students were guests of Bremerhaven for two weeks in summer 2006. Here, in our university, they gained an insight into various courses and got to know the city.
The city boasts numerous monuments, such as the Schiller monument, the monument to Tsar Peter I and the “Mother Russia” monument.
There is also a monument to the Russian cosmonauts and honorary citizens of Kaliningrad, Alexei Leonov, Yuri Romanenko and Alexander Viktorenko.
Apart from Bremerhaven, Kaliningrad has city partnerships with 22 other cities:
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