All posts by Evan Heetderks

Reflections on Bremen

Although our short excursion to Bremen lasted only for a day, I still took interest in going to see yet another German city and how it was unique to itself. In the case of Bremen, the way of life was somewhat different due to the fact that Bremen is a port city that connects to the North Sea. Thus, there are many factories and docking areas that line the river flowing through the city with many container vessels that transit through it.

In the boat tour we took that took us through this area, the most interesting sight for me was a large concrete bunker that turned out to be an old U-boat pen back from world war two. It turns out that  during that time, Bremen was a heavily defended, highly strategic city that served as a base for both German submarines and a port for shipping materials for the war effort. As a result, Bremen witnessed a lot of destruction during the war as it was often a target of allied bombing raids.

Despite the history, Bremen had the accents of all the other lively German cities we had visited up to that point. Because the city itself was so small, the major scene was the area along both sides of the river where there were cathedrals, squares, restaurants, and food stands. We were even able to see the former residence area of Calvin students when the engineering summer program was first launched almost a decade ago. At that time, Calvin engineering students studied at the TU Bremen rather that at TU Berlin where the program is now done.


Reflections on Wittenberg

With regards to my visit to Wittenberg and the church service in particular, the experience was slightly different that what I had originally anticipated. When we arrived in the town from the train, Wittenberg turned out to be a very small, quiet scene with little going on. Taking into consideration that the church in Wittenberg was the site of the reason why all of us are Protestants today, one may think that this would have attracted a much larger population. Even the church itself was different than what I thought it would be like. I had expected a massive, fully restored site. But was surprised to see that the part of the church open for the service was relatively small due to the fact that the church was still clearly undergoing major restoration. Despite all of this, I still very much enjoyed the moving service at the site of the start of the Protestant movement 500 years ago.
As for the most impressive part of Wittenberg that I experienced, some of the items on display at the museum is what I found the most interesting. Among other things, some of the items I came across included the pedestal Luther stood on when delivering his sermons, as well as what was allegedly Luther’s last robe.