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December 13, 2009

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Hamburg proud of twin town bond

CARSTEN Ludwig Luedemann, state secretary of the German city Hamburg, led a delegation to Shanghai earlier this month to highlight its involvement in the upcoming World Expo.

Their pride in Shanghai is "Hamburg House," the city's pavilion in the Urban Best Practice Area of Expo which displays environmental technology in a sustainable building model using geothermal and solar energy.

Luedemann said Hamburg wants to showcase it's continuing progress and contribution to sustainable development by presenting the port city's image of innovation and livability.

To that end, he said Shanghai and Hamburg, two sister cities, will have many opportunities to further develop cooperation and exchanges in the fields of city development and environment protection.

During his stay in Shanghai, Luedemann also visited Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum and unveiled a Memorial Plaque for Jewish Refugees from Hamburg.

The memorial is to express Hamburg's gratitude to Shanghai for protecting more than 30,000 Jewish refugees from Europe during World War II, among which were more than 200 from Hamburg.

At that time, Shanghai was the only port city to provide free access to Jewish people who sought asylum.

Q: Hamburg and Shanghai are twin towns, how much do you value this relationship?

A: So far, Hamburg has twinned with eight cities.

First, we are very cautious to make this kind of relationship with other friendly cities.

Second, we make great effort to keep the relationship more than just an announcement, one that can be developed through lively exchanges and cooperation.

In this respect, Shanghai, with which we've had this relationship for over 20 years, is the one that has the most vibrant cooperation with us.

We have a teahouse from Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden in Hamburg, we have a permanent office in Shanghai.

And we will build "Hamburg House" in the upcoming World Expo. Shanghai really means a lot to us.

Q: Hamburg was announced as "Europe's Green Capital in 2011" by the European Commission. Can you explain some of the city's experience in balancing development and environment protection?

A: Yes, Hamburg is the second city that has been granted this title and it is a great honor for us to receive it.

Hamburg has launched many polices in favor of environment protection and energy-saving projects, such as promoting solar energy use and cutting expenses for new energy or electrical cars.

The government also offers money to formulate plans for renovating old buildings and saving energy.

We also hope these environment-related technologies can be widely applied in other cities.

This time at World Expo Shanghai, we will also present the model building of energy saving, the "Hamburg House," (also known as Passivhaus) which will be the first certified new building project for a passive house in China and set new standards.

Q: Hamburg is among the 12 cities which have been invited to build permanent model buildings at World Expo Shanghai. How did Hamburg come up with the idea of "Passivhaus," and how does it work?

A: The construction of "Passivhaus" is based on the building H2O which is located in HafenCity, currently the largest inner city development project in Hamburg.

It is a new style of living, bringing life and work under one roof to ease the environmental problems caused by transportation.

"Passivhaus" on the Expo site is a model building with 3,150 square meters and costs 42 million euros (US$61.9 million).

It can reduce energy use by 90 percent and is worth doing from a long-term perspective.

Q: It is estimated that about 70 million people will visit Expo. What do you want them to take away from their visit.

A: Through a visit to "Hamburg House," we hope people will realize that as an individual they can also contribute to sustainable urban development by advocating change. In the meantime, we want to deliver the message that sustainability cannot be achieved unless we all keep discussing it.


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