Chapter 11: Innovationes Jenenses: Some Insights into the Making of a Hidden Star
Uwe Cantner* 1 JENA: GENERAL SETTING AND AMBITIONS The years after the German reunification in 1989 have been characterized by a sharp difference in the economic performance of the two formerly separated parts of Germany, with the West flourishing and the East having to cope with outdated industrial structures which resulted in its lagging far behind in almost all sectors of the economy. An improving and prospering development in the East in the years following appeared to be slow and unevenly distributed. Exceptions were mainly related to some of the major cities or capitals of the East German Bundesländer, such as Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin on a first view, and Erfurt and Potsdam on a second. One notable and maybe surprising exception has been the city and region of Jena, neither one of the big cities nor a capital, but a city with a long tradition of optics and glass production, with one of the oldest universities in Germany, the Friedrich Schiller University (FSU). The way the Jena development after 1989 was received by the public has been reverential, astonishing and sometimes exaggerated. ‘Boom town Jena’ and the ‘hidden star’ on the one hand, and ‘science city’ and ‘learning city’, on the other, are examples from newspapers and TV programs. This all indicates an exceptional development within the East German states as well as within Germany as a whole – perhaps a kind of ‘miracle’. Jena’s recent extraordinary development calls for closer scrutiny and analysis of the facts. This is...
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