Wolfsburg

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About Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg hosts the worldwide headquarters of the car manufacturer Volkswagen. It was built and founded in the 1930s as a place to live for the employees of Volkswagen (literally: People's car) and the factory still dominates the scenery. While it was founded by the Nazis and Hitler personally loved all symbolism associated with wolves (he interpreted his first name to be related to the word "wolf"), the town only officially got its name after the war being called "Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben" (city of the strength through joy car near Fallersleben) during the Nazi-era. Wolfsburg is a rare case of a German town that was founded in the 20th century (other examples include Salzgitter and Eisenhüttenstadt) and as such it is often ridiculed as bland, generic and without history, however the suburb of Fallersleben (the author of Germany's national anthem, Hoffmann von Fallersleben is originally from that town) used to be an independent town and there is a castle, that gave Wolfsburg (literally castle of the wolf) its name. During the 50s and 60s Wolfsburg attracted many immigrants and most of them came from Italy, which is still visible in the city today, and some of the Italian quarters have gotten the nickname Castellupo (Italian calque of Wolfsburg) over time.

The Mittellandkanal and the railway-line (which both existed before Wolfsburg was founded) served as primary drawing factors to put Volkswagen there, and still serve as a rough dividing line with most of the plant north and most of the city south of it.

Wolfsburg's location was seen as advantageous during the 1930s as it sat pretty much in the middle of what was then Germany (albeit a bit towards the North) and had both a major railway and a major canal right next to the VW plant. However, German partition would happen to cut off much of the eastern hinterland of Wolfsburg and to this day the Autobahn connection of Wolfsburg is less than would be expected for a major center of car manufacturing. Wolfsburg also lacks a truly major airport, though VW handles corporate flights through a nearby airfield. According to a tale commonly told by VW workers, the British occupation powers that came after World War II rejected dismantling the plant and taking the patents because they thought the Käfer was a worthless design that would find few buyers and British cars were clearly superior. The Käfer would of course prove to be a major economic success and become the most sold car in the world until overtaken by the VW Golf (its indirect successor), remaining in production until 2001 in Mexico.

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Source: wikivoyage