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Schleußig: Leipzig’s best-kept secret

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Yep, Leipzig is awesome. In general. But some neighbourhoods are clearly more awesome than others. Today I want to to tell you about Schleußig, which I think is one of Leipzig’s most amazing areas. No, that is not just because I live there, but as you’ll see, Schleußig arguably has more to offer than any other Leipzig neighbourhood. In fact, by the end of this article, I’d be surprised if you’re not busy packing, because I guarantee you: Schleußig is hot.

Leipzig’s Island

Believe it or not, Schleußig is actually an island. If Leipzig is Klein-Paris, Schleußig is its Île de la Cité. Leipzig actually has more bridges than Venice, and quite a few of them lead to our neighbourhood. If you want to feed some nutrias (aka muskrats), Limburgersteg is the place to be. Leipzig’s famous Sachsenbrücke too is in Schleußig. Renting a boat to navigate Leipzig’s canal and river system can be done at Schleußig-based Bootsverleih Herold (you pay 5 euros for an hour of kayaking). Schleußig is Leipzig’s water paradise.

Schleußig’s Fascinating History

Up until the 1880s Schleußig was a rather small village just outside the boundaries of Leipzig. Industrialist Karl Heine bought huge swathes of land belonging to the municipality and designed a sophisticated urban planning scheme which resulted in the densely built-up neighbourhood we know today. A railroad traversed Schleußig from east to west, crossing Könneritzstraße right about where the Konsum supermarket is located today. If you look carefully, you can still follow the train tracks. After 1990 Schleußig’s villas attracted high-income residents, and the district became one of Leipzig’s first gentrified communities. Rents remain slightly above average, but our island offers a very high quality of life.

Creative Parking

Germany is known for order and discipline. Nevertheless, living in Schleußig makes you doubt whether these qualities are truly universally followed. Finding a parking spot in Schleußig can become somewhat of a challenge, but then again, where else in Germany do you have cars driving on the pavement? If you visit Schleußig on a Sunday night, you will find the sidewalks of Holbeinstraße utterly packed full of cars. Leipzig’s Ordnungsamt had tolerated this state of affairs for decades, but lately occasionally you do receive a parking ticket.

A Great Place to Raise Kids

Schleußig has Leipzig’s highest birthrate and it is one of our city’s youngest neighbourhoods. The entrance to our own building is usually packed full of prams and strollers, and it certainly is no exception. When you open the window to our courtyard on a sunny afternoon you hear dozens of children playing and laughing. Schleußig’s playgrounds and parks make it the ideal place to raise your kids. This is true for English-speakers in particular, as Schleußig hosts Leipzig International School.

A (pretty much) Nazi-free Neighbourhood

For the 2014 European elections only 20 of 9,184 eligible voters in Schleußig voted for the NPD (i.e. 0.4%). This is the lowest percentage of Nazi voters of any district of Leipzig. The AfD also got its worst result in Schleußig (4.3%). At the same time Schleußig also had Leipzig’s highest turn-out. Left-wing parties received 67.6% of votes, which is their best result in the city.

Awesome Small Businesses

Leipzig is a pretty centralised city and most shops and services are located in the city centre. Nevertheless, our island actually hosts a wide-range of small businesses which often make trips to the city centre unnecessary. On Könneritzstraße there are three (rather expensive) shops for children’s clothes and families are spoilt by two brilliant toy shops. The bakery on Blümnerstraße bakes the best buns in the city (although you often have to queue for 15 minutes…). My favourite place to visit is Hans Kohlmann’s bookshop Whodunnit. I stopped buying books on Amazon ages ago, as Hans gets me all the books I need (in English!). I usually just write him an email and pick up my goodies the day after.

Organic Food Scene

Most people in Schleußig are probably either flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan or fruitarian and they are certainly very environmentally conscious. As a result Leipzig’s first package-free supermarket opened in Schleußig a few months ago. We have a great vegan burger place (I Love Veggie Burger), Leipzig’s only paleo restaurant (The Flow), as well as the best place to eat pasta in town (Fratelli’s). There is a fantastic organic ice cream parlour (Tonis) and if you don’t mind long queues, get Leipzig’s best Spaghettieis at Stieglitzstraße tram stop.

Give-Away Culture

During an afternoon walk through the streets of Schleußig you will most certainly encounter boxes filled with stuff in front of people’s homes. The idea is to give away rather than bin things you no longer need. Alex and I have actually picked up the arm chair in our living room from the sidewalk outside our house. In Brockhausstraße there is actually a ‘Givebox’ where you can bring your old stuff to share it with others. Books, cutlery, plates, toys, printers, radios – you never know what you might find.

Clara-Zetkin-Park

By now you are probably on Immobilienscout, looking for a nice flat in Schleußig. If you’re not searching already, you certainly will be in a minute, as Schleußig hosts the Leipzigers’ favourite place to chill on a hot summer’s day: Clara-Zetkin-Park. With public barbeques, giant oak trees providing lots of shade, the enormous Elsterflutbecken, trendy SachsenbrückeClara-Zetkin-Park is Leipzig’s green lung and it’s got lots to offer.

No, Schleußig hasn’t got it all. If you like to party and go for drinks, our neighbourhood is somewhat lame. But then again it’s 15-minute walk to Karl-Heine-Straße and getting to Karli requires a 5-minute bus or bike ride. Our neighbourhood is clearly one of Leipzig’s prettiest districts and if you’re thinking of settling down in Leipzig, Schleußig is the place to be. It isn’t easy to find a flat in Schleußig, but if you walk through its streets you will probably find some signs in windows. Move to Schleußig, people!

 

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Harald grew up in Großpösna, a village just outside the boundaries of Leipzig, but it is only after living elsewhere for four years that he really came to appreciate the city he was born. He is an idealist, a Christian, a socialist, a Europeanist, and, above all, a true Leipzig-lover. He will write about Leipzig’s history and politics, both of which are rather inaccessible to our English-speaking audience.

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