What North Germans talked about this week: Prokon, Traffic and the weather

Maybe you have heard about ‘Prokon’. It is a company financing and building wind power plants. It employs about 500 people in its office in Itzehoe. There have been rumors about the company’s business policies being questionable.

Last week ‘Prokon’ announced the danger of a planned insolvency and made it very clear that the reason for it are investors pulling out money. They appealed to  their investors to sign a statement that they would leave their money in the company until  October and  asked people who wanted to withdraw their money to sign a form stating  that they were aware they  were contributing to the company’s bankruptcy.

Of course there have been many discussions and comments in the newspapers  trying to answer the question, whether it Is  right to put that kind of moral pressure on investors. However, when people talk about ‘Prokon’ they talk about the decline of the area around Itzehoe.

One of the biggest employers in Itzehoe is ‘Prinovis’, one of five or six printing houses in Germany. “Geo” magazine, “Stern” and many other well-known magazines are printed in Itzehoe.’ Prinovis’ will close this year. About 1000  work places will be lost, and some estimate that 2.500 others are endangered. Some years ago the government withdrew the military sites in and around Itzehoe. Soldiers and their families left the region,  and another few thousand jobs were lost. The threat of another 500 jobs gone is indeed an alarming prospect.

Empty shops in the center of Itzehoe
Empty shops in the center of Itzehoe

Itzehoe is a rural center and could be a nice little town to visit. During the last months more and more shops have closed. This afternoon I counted 8 empty shops, and you can’t blame that on amazon, eBay and zalando alone. It is sad to see, how a to town and its surrounding are going down.







How the finished cover could look according to the "Hamburger Abendblatt"
How the finished cover could look according to the “Hamburger Abendblatt”

Another topic widely discussed  and talked about is the planned cover across the A 7. The A 7 is one of the most frequented motorways in Germany, going from the Danish border at Flensburg to the very South of Germany. In Hamburg the  A 7 turns into a 3.3 km long  tunnel going underneath  the river. The A 7 is notorious for its traffic jams. To change that there shall be a new lane on each side between the Elbtunnel and Bordesholm. The motorway running through the city shall get a cover  in three places. On top of the cover shall be parks, playgrounds and walkways. All existing lanes shall remain open while the building goes on, but  they will be narrower and there will be no place at the side for broken down vehicles.  Many people are afraid of even longer traffic jams, of building noises and accidents. Being stuck in traffic myself almost every morning I am not looking forward to the hustle with all that building, but in the long run it will be a huge improvement both for the traffic situation and for the quality of life of those who live close to the motorway. We commuters at work are already exchanging ideas which side route to take.






Of course, like everywhere in the world, people are talking about the weather. We have had a lot of rain, dark days without sunshine and very mild temperatures up to 12°C. Here and there you find things blooming, that shouldn’t and when walking across the lawn my heels disappear into the ground. Shall it get cold next week? Will we have frost, or even snow? Each day, when walking the dog, I discuss these questions with one neighbour or the other, I think it is great not to have any snow but if I should believe the radio forecast there is a chance of snow during the next days. Then it takes at least half an hour more to get to work as we all have forgotten how to handle a car when there is snow on the road.

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