Dutchman ‘accidentally’ buys historic German bridge

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Toni Bienemann from Arnhem is an avid collector of vintage cars, but having acquired about 40 automobiles he decided it was time for a change. And so he bought an old rail bridge in Germany—only to find out that this particular bridge is a symbol of German reunification. The Germans would get very upset, for instance, if he were to strip the thing for scrap metal.

Bienneman told Duitslandweb:

I had expected perhaps a small article in a local news paper, but not this much attention. Spiegel, ORF, Berliner Zeiting, they all called me to ask me why I bought the bridge. So I told them a story which I had made up afterwards. Originally, the bridge just seemed a nice symbol for my company, Dutchi Motors.

The Dömitz rail bridge (1873) used to be one of the longest bridges in Germany. It spanned the river Elbe, and was bombed by the alies in World War II. Afterwards, one side of the bridge became East German territory and was scrapped.

Wendland-net faithfully reproduces some of Bienneman’s spin:

“It would have been a pity if such a symbolic bridge had fallen into the wrongs hands.” This is the fear that drove Toni Bienemann […] to buy the historic construction for 305,000 euro from Deutsche Bahn in an auction.

Bienemann has now proposed the Germans come up with suggestions on how he could use the bridge in such a way that its symbolic value won’t get lost. He doesn’t need to make much profit right away, according to Duitslandweb, but if running the bridge is going to take him too much time, he will sell or lease it. Some of his own suggestions are to turn it into a bicycle bridge and run an ice-cream stand from it.

(Link: Sargasso. Photo by R. Kirchner, some rights reserved.)

1 Comment »

  1. One bridge too far jokes abound :)

    Comment by Orangemaster — April 24, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

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