On the holiday island, they fear doom since activists called for storming the island with the nine-euro ticket. But hand on heart: would the end of Sylt really be that bad?
Once I was in List for a lecture. The organizer had booked a room for me in the “Hotel Arosa”. If you looked out the window you could see the sea. The sea was far away because the Wadden Sea lay in between. But if you made an effort, you could see it.
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Christian Wulff was also on Sylt. I didn’t find out about that until after he was home. The visit didn’t go so well for him. He had rented a hotel in Westerland with his wife. If I had the choice between Westerland and List, I would always choose List. In a way, Westerland is the Bottrop of Sylt. Still, there was trouble.
A friend made the booking and later settled the bill. Wulff said he returned the money to his friend in cash. But nobody believed him. The story was then big in all the newspapers. If the Federal President forgets his wallet, that’s a godsend, even if it’s only enough for Westerland.
If you believe the Sylt fans, Sylt is paradise on earth. That’s why everyone wants to go, as it is said, starting with the Federal President, which in turn has driven real estate prices up, making even people who live in Starnberg am See pale at the first meeting with the real estate agent.
Now the people on Sylt are afraid. Not in front of falling prices, but in front of the nine-euro crowd that has announced itself. Activists have been drumming up drums to storm the island for weeks. Seven million people already have cheap tickets in their pockets.
I didn’t quite understand why it takes the nine-euro ticket to haunt Sylt. They don’t earn so badly in left-wing circles that one would have to rely on cheaper train journeys for a trip to the North Sea. Even in Antifa, which knows only the word about regulated employment, most of them make ends meet with government subsidies and some undeclared work.
In addition, fast connections are excluded with the cheap ticket. And with the slow train, you can get to Sylt relatively cheaply. Nevertheless, an obituary for the island has already appeared in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, a melancholic review of Uwe-Düne and Rotes Kliff before the mob tramples everything down.
I have never been able to share the Sylt enthusiasm. Some say: Sylt is something like the Hamptons of Germany. The comparison is correct – in the sense that Bottrop is the Paris of the Ruhr area or Chemnitz is the Shanghai of East Germany.
Because the building regulations hardly permit new buildings, the thatched roofs over the slug panes look as if each stalk had been plucked, plucked and groomed individually. I think if they could they would also build an underground thatched roof garage for the Ferrari. And for the dog a thatched roof cozy room. Although, who knows, maybe that has been around for a long time.
Sylt is as casual as a 60-year-old who absolutely wants to look 40. Too much surgery, too much filler, too much effort. It’s actually a miracle that the island wasn’t more popular with the Russians when they were still able to travel. This is probably due to the fact that you can only navigate the Wadden Sea to a limited extent with a mega yacht.
In terms of weather, don’t expect too much. You can be lucky, then the sun shines. But there is a reason why beach chairs are everywhere, protecting you from the vagaries of the weather. When I was there it was May and lousy cold. But they raved about the champagne air that is said to make Sylt so unique.
This compulsive feeling of well-being is also expressed in culinary terms. What is particularly remarkable about the famous “Zanzibar” is that you have to book months in advance to get a seat. The other major restaurateur is the fishmonger Gosch. That you can bring it to the quintessential coastal gastronomy with sticky fritters crammed with a few boiled-to-death scampi is undeniably admirable. However, this has nothing to do with the kitchen.
Sylt is proof that money and good taste don’t necessarily go hand in hand. There were other times when Hamburg’s cultural high society discovered the island as a summer resort – Augstein, Nannen, the great Fritz J. Raddatz. For a few years, even Gunter Sachs and his entourage mingled with the party people. But that was a long time ago.
Today, Sylt is firmly in the hands of the millionaire dentist from Wuppertal or Wanne-Eickel, who thinks it’s incredibly fancy when you have a sauna built in to smooth your cashmere sweaters and who tells everyone about it. In short: it is the ideal place for people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. You don’t feel so alone.
Which brings us to the question of whether rich people are happier people. Most automatically assume that money lifts spirits, hence the envy that wealth inspires among the less fortunate. It is true that money makes you happy, but only to a certain extent. If you are relieved of all money worries, this initially demonstrably increases your well-being. After that, however, begins to be rich, in which it does not really matter whether you have ten million or ten billion.
Man compares himself to others, it is in his nature. There is always someone whose house is bigger, whose yacht is longer, and whose car is faster. Not even Elon Musk is exempt from it. When in doubt, Jeff Bezos has the bolder headlines and Bill Gates has the more benevolent reviews.
The really rich people are not on Sylt anyway. If you have enough money to live on for several lives, you usually don’t need to show it off. Also, many mega-rich are not made for idleness, which is why they are so rich. In the “Spiegel” I read a portrait of the entrepreneur Klaus-Michael Kühne, who made it to one of the richest men in Germany with logistics. The man is 85 years old, but to this day the day begins at six in the morning. Meetings, phone calls, and an endless stream of emails follow. I doubt that someone like Kühne will set foot in Sylt again. It would be too boring for him there.
The real charm of Sylt is that you are among yourself, says real estate agent Eric Weißmann. That makes sense. Boat parking problems are easier to talk about with people who are also suffering from the fact that berths have become so scarce. On the other hand, I imagine it being terribly boring to always have to have the same conversations.
I once spoke to Gloria von Thurn und Taxis about her former jet set life. It was funny at first, she said. But then she got terribly sick of it: always the same places, always the same faces, always the same topics. Which is why she soon dropped out and henceforth dedicated her life to the family and securing the company.
The strangest aspect of the nine-euro activists’ call to storm the island of Sylt is certainly that people turn their noses up at others who, in their world, are at least as meticulous about keeping to themselves. The wrong hairstyle is enough here and you’re out.
For that reason alone I would be in favor of a storm on Sylt. This could be instructive for both sides. Contact with foreign cultures is sometimes supposed to open your eyes.
The readers love him or hate him, Jan Fleischhauer is indifferent to the least. You only have to look at the comments on his columns to get an idea of how much people are moved by what he writes. He was at SPIEGEL for 30 years, and at the beginning of August 2019 he switched to FOCUS as a columnist.
Fleischhauer himself sees his task as giving voice to a world view that he believes is underrepresented in the German media. So when in doubt, against the herd instinct, commonplaces and stereotypes. His texts are always amusing – perhaps it is this fact that provokes his opponents the most.
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