Classical Arts and High-Class Sports: Neustadt Presents European Culture and International Sailing

August 3, 2007

Neustadt located in Holstein, Germany, on the sheltered western side of the Bay of Luebeck is more than a renowned sailing centre. Set picturesquely at the end of a fiord-like harbour on Schleswig-Holstein's Baltic coast, the town will host the 4th edition of the Rolex Baltic Week from 17 to 23 August.

Melges 24, MAS AMANTES, ITA, Photo by: Rolex / Daniel ForsterCultural variety is a key value for Neustadt, and this European town in the Holstein region will welcome visitors from all over the world with high-class music, arts and sports. The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival concerts, opera performances in Eutin's castle park and an arts and crafts fair in Cismar's cloister, the European Folklore Festival, the Europe running contest, and of course international sailing regattas such as the European Championships of the international Melges 24 class and the final series of the Farr 40's European Circuit at the 2007 Rolex Baltic Week.

Since 1986, the surroundings of Neustadt have hosted the renowned Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival (SHMF) every year. This year's SHMF focuses on Hungary , and the festival will once again attract a number of international artists to the East Holstein district (Ostholstein). From 14 July to 2 September, more than 135 concerts, six music festivals in the country-side and two children's music festivals will take place at 75 attractive venues between the North Sea and Baltic coasts.

Among these SHMF locations are the manor and barn of the Gut Hasselburg estate near the Bay of Neustadt , the sailing area of the Rolex Baltic Week. The Hasselburg estate is an outstanding example of a complete and excellently restored 18th century building. Its gate-house is the biggest and most elegant of its kind in Schleswig-Holstein. Guided tours of the manor and the private collection of historic keyboard instruments from the 17th and 18th century can be attended during cultural events at Hasselburg.

Start Farr 40 , Photo by: Rolex / Daniel ForsterEvery three years over the past 50 years, the market place of Neustadt sees an international gathering of folklore fans at the Week of Traditional Dresses (Trachtenwoche). Neustadt's European outlook is rooted in this event, which has brought the town and its citizens much acclaim in Germany and abroad. The festival takes place from 28 July to 4 August this year. And there is also the Europe running contest, near the time of the Rolex Baltic Week in August.

There are plenty of events to enjoy with all senses: In July and August, the opera festival attracts more than 40,000 visitors to the tranquil "city of roses" of Eutin. The capital of the Ostholstein district is only 20 minutes by car from Neustadt, so attending great opera performances such as this season's "Aida" by Verdi, or operettas such as Strau▀' "A Night in Venice", as well as gala performances of beautiful voices, are all within easy reach to visitors in Neustadt. The open air performances on the "green hill" near the ducal castle on the lake shore do not need acoustic amplifiers. This image has brought much acclaim to the "Opera in the Castle Park " festival (Oper im Schlo▀park), which was founded in 1951 in honour of one of the city's great sons, composer Carl Maria von Weber.

In the 18th century, the castle park had been one of the most extensive baroque gardens in Schleswig-Holstein. The Eutin castle was re-opened to the public after lavish restorations a few years ago. Its' four red-brick wings with baroque windows and two balconies enclose a Mediterranean-style courtyard.

The venerable brick cloister Cismar, a few miles northeast towards the seaside resort of Groemitz, is an important cultural centre. In the summer, the cloister presents high-class art exhibitions. The Cloister Festival Cismar is known well beyond Schleswig-Holstein as a high-level nostalgic arts and crafts market. On the second weekend of August, about 150 stalls lure up to 80,000 visitors to Cismar.

But the surrounds of Neustadt also offer glimpses of quite a different lifestyle. Timmendorfer Strand, only a few kilometres down the coast towards Luebeck, is the jet-set refuge and definitely worth a visit. To see and to be seen is the motto at the so-called "CafÚ Important", officially named "Engelseck", right in the centre of the trendy resort. Leaning back with a coffee latte, guests may watch extravagant cars of all kinds and from all over. Of course there is shopping too. High-end brands abound in the shops lining Timmendorf's fashionable pedestrian zone.

Jim Richardson and his crew, winners of the Rolex Baltic Week, BARKING MAD (Farr 40), USA , Photo by: Rolex / Daniel Forster Last but not least, Neustadt would not be hosting the renowned race week of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) Hamburg , if it were not a true sailing paradise. The town harbour at the end of the fiord-like sea arm with the ancora Marina at its entrance is a popular water sports base and logistics centre. Sailors find all they need here from general equipment to specialty yachting accessories, including a sail-maker's shop. With 1,400 berths, yachts up to 35 metres can visit the Rolex Baltic Week from the sea. The Marina has been received several awards for its ecological design.

Ten kilometres of fine white sand and shallow waters make the Bay near Neustadt a Mecca for windsurfers. For several years, the area has also become very popular with kite-surfers, who indulge in their spectacular and very "hip" sport in front of awed onlookers. But with a long southward facing beach, a true rarity on the German Baltic coast, everyone will find a perfect spot to simply enjoy the wind, the water and the waves.

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