hidden europe 28

In spite of Trier

by Nicky Gardner

Picture above: The exhibition in the Karl-Marx-Haus in Trier very successfully brings alive a potentially rather dry topic (photo © hidden europe).


The birthplace of Karl Marx is, a little improbably it might seem, in the Moselle city of Trier. It is a place that nowadays seems irredeemably bourgeois. Yet Marx' legacy is superbly documented in Trier's Karl-Marx-Haus.

There are many lessons to be learnt on the streets of Trier. The small city in Germany’s Moselle valley seems to be the very epitome of bourgeois perfection, evidently populated by citizens who cannot get too much cake and surely tend gardens decorated with gnomes. A guide preaches to a party of French tourists, reminding them that the Romans were living the good life in Trier long before Paris was founded.

Surely there is poverty in those run-down apartment blocks on the wrong side of the railway tracks. And, yes, old men do sleep rough in the alley behind the cathedral, but they are not seen in the heart of Trier by day. Out of sight, out of mind, for a society that likes cake and clean streets.

Walk west from the all-too-neat city centre onto Brückenstraße and Trier becomes more interesting.

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