Saturday, October 1, 2016

Germany trip 2016, part 4: Göttingen

I studied biology and obtained my doctorate at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, but I had not visited the town in quite a few years.

The Gänseliesel fountain is probably the most iconic landmark of Göttingen. For many decades graduating Ph.D. students have said goodbye to their university by climbing up to the statue, attaching a bouquet of flowers to her, and kissing her. I did so about eleven years ago. When the tradition started, the town government tried to outlaw it, but today pictures of students kissing the Gänseliesel are shown prominently on tourist brochures.

Part of the botanical collection of the university, with the official herbarium acronym GOET. I visited to examine some specimens.

Afterwards I rejoined my family, and we strolled through the garden. Göttingen is blessed with three botanical gardens:

The Alter Botanischer Garten is in the town centre and features various glasshouses, e.g. fern house, orangerie, succulent house, carnivorous plant and cacti house, cycad house and tropical rainforest house.

It serves mainly public education, teaching and, with the outside areas shown above, as a city park. But it also assisted my research when I did my postgraduate work.

The Experimenteller Botanischer Garten (a.k.a. Neuer Botanischer Garten) was built in the northern part of the city in 1967. With larger grounds but less greenhouses it primarily serves ecological research and teaching, e.g. by growing plants for identification courses, but also has its public education angle.

Finally, the Forstbotanischer Garten is an arboretum on a hill just east of the town. It is large, and when I last saw it parts of it were still undeveloped. Obviously it is largely a tree collection with a few flowerbeds under them. On good days it offers great views over the town.

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