Visiting Wolfsburg - An occasional Visitor's View

By Bernd Felsche

There's a lot more to Wolfsburg than Volkswagen.

On previous visits, I'd used the extensive German Rail network to get to an from Wolfsburg. On this occasion however, I'd rented a Polo for the length of my stay, so I wasn't bound to the vagaries of rail timetables.

After a light breakfast on the outskirts of Halberstadt, a small city in the foothills of the Harz Mountains of central Germany, I set off in the rental Polo to visit its birthplace in the nearby Wolfsburg. Nearby in terms of Australian perceptions, as it is about 120km. Winding country roads took me through forests and fields of rapeseed also known as canola, interrupted every few kilometres by villages, and a surprising number of wind farms, generating electricity for local needs and feeding the surplus into the regional grid.

The castle which gave the town its name
The castle which gave the town its name
After about an hour, I reached the short stretch on Autobahn which leads to Wolfsburg, and within a few minutes I was weaving my way through the streets of the town on the way to the visitor's centre. The car park is located just off the main drag, next to the railway station, with a special section reserved for visitors.

I'd arrived quite a bit too early, having expected delays due to roadworks, etc., so I had a couple of hours to kill. It was too late to take in a full visit to the AutoMuseum, so I decided to take a walk towards the town centre took me to the Tourist Information Bureau where I found out what was on around town. The buzz at the time was the promotion of the local soccer team to the first division. One of the first things that strikes you about Wolfsburg is the proportion of VAG cars on the road; even for Germany. Only about one in 5 would not be a VW, Audi, SEAT or Skoda.

Wolfsburg is a lot more than just the Volkswagen factory. You could spend the best part of the week seeing other sights, but as I had just on a day and a half, I settled on a factory tour; and a visit to the castle and AutoMuseum on the following morning. There are dozens of places to stay in and around Wolfsburg and surrounding towns for almost every budget. Having decided on a hotel in nearby Fallersleben; the 80 DM for a night wasn't going to break the bank just this once, so I made the reservation before the factory tour.

The tour finishes before 5 p.m., so for about 6 months of the year, there's still at least 3 hours of daylight to scoot around town and to see the sights; to do some shopping, or to grab a bite to eat. It gave me enough time to check into the hotel in Fallersleben and to look at some of the sights in that town; which by the way, was the place mentioned in the original proposal of Prof. Dr. Porsche to build a factory.

Summer mornings start early in Germany, you can start your day a 4 a.m. if you're that way inclined! I maintained sanity and had a hearty breakfast at about seven, then made my way back to Wolfsburg to view the old town and castle. The museum opens late in the morning, so there's a chance to get an idea of what Wolfsburg was like before Volkswagen. A visit to one of the bakeries will whet your appetite if you're not already peckish. No sense having to step out for a bite to eat while you're in the AutoMuseum!

Do yourself a favour and see some of the other facets of Wolfsburg.

Park at the castle
Just one of the parks around the castle.
See what's on in Wolfsburg at anytime by hanging ten on your web browser at http://www.wolfsburg.de though some knowledge of German is probably required. This link takes you directly to the events calendar. Select the category and the time frame, then click on a seach button. That web site is also the source of the pictures on this page.


Email: bernie@innovative.iinet.net.au
Copyright © 1997,1999 Bernd Felsche.