So, we're coming up to our first month living in Leipzig (and Germany), so I think I can now start to give some initial impressions. Especially as now we are moving out of 'Holiday' mode and into 'Work' mode.
You can find my continually growing photo gallery of miscellaneous Leipzig pictures here.
Co-working, tech scene, start-ups etc.…
Leipzig is a smaller city than Melbourne (or Berlin, or London), so all of the above were always going to be a little less active. I may have been somewhat naive about what I was going to find and how much I was going to find happening here. In fact, that was half the point of moving, to find the space to get involved with kick-starting or encouraging the scenes. I haven't thrown myself right into organising new events yet (despite having loads of ideas) as I want to get the lay of the land a little more first and not step on people's toes.
I tried a couple of the co-working spaces here (I will create a list on my Lean Traveller project soon) and have settled on one for the time being. They have all been very pleasant spaces, but quite different from Melbourne co-working. They are smaller and less frantic, I'm wondering if everyone is on Holidays because at the moment some of them are so quiet I wonder how they make enough money. Less distractions to get work done though!
So far I have discovered a handful of tech meet-ups and am helping get the Leipzig Drupal group re-started, there is also a reasonably active Open Knowledge group (as part of Code for Germany) and a LeipzigJS group. I would like to get more happening, but am planning the best course of action at the moment.
I've been given a few start-ups to look into, but haven't yet, so will report back on those soon, I would think that Leipzig's proximity to Berlin means that many relocate, but hopefully I'm wrong.
Board games and bike riding
I was assuming that board games would be popular here and whilst I'm still digging beneath the surface, last week I attended my first board game night last week, discovering that many seem to run on the same day(!).
Again, I was slightly naive about how easy playing a German board game with German people, in German would be. Fortunately many games come with English rules, but you miss the subtleties of interacting with others. I will try some other groups this week and again, I am wondering about the potential of organising games nights in English.
I hadn't started looking into bike riding groups yet, but seeing the popularity of cycling generally, I was assuming there would be some. As luck would have it, Critical Mass rode right past me on Friday night and it was as busy as the one in Melbourne, so that looks encouraging. As an aside, can I just say how civilised riding with a hat is.
So, general impressions. Leipzig is growing on me, but I still haven't quite figured it out. It constantly feels half empty, which in some ways it is, it's population is still rebuilding after many years of neglect and boom/bust cycles. There are so many empty buildings all over the town (many being rebuilt) and it's never really that busy (by my standards). In some ways this is great, relaxing, peaceful and un-stressful, but in other ways I constantly feel like I'm missing something somewhere. Leipzig does like to socialise though and at night, many of the seemingly missing people emerge into bars, venues and events. Again, this could be due to Summer.
Another noticeable thing is people's age. Judging by the number of 90s, Goth and over 30s nights, Leipzig has a youth that is slightly older, well, it's my age, 30 something. This is not a bad thing, but just an observation!