The German highway A40 is known for its long and tiring traffic jams. But on Sunday, July 18 between Dortmund and Duisburg there were no cars in sight for 60 kilometers (37 miles). It was shut down for Still-Life A40, a cultural event of the Ruhr region’s European Capital of Culture 2010. There was still plenty of movement going on with all sorts of performances and about two million people coming to visit.
People from all walks of life created the program on the Ruhr highway and everybody was invited to participate.
It was a special experience for a philharmonic choir to sing on the highway.
[Konrad Ruprecht, Philharmonic Choir Bochum]: (German, male)
“We are a philharmonic choir and we have our 150th anniversary this year. This is pretty long for a choir and we thought this Still-Life A40 is the ideal opportunity not only to celebrate our anniversary, but also to celebrate our annual summer party, because we won’t experience this highway—we all know from driving on—like this for a long time.”
Cyclists and inline skaters were allowed on one side of the highway. On the other side 20 000 tables and 40 000 benches were put up for the probably longest picnic table in the world.
Thousands of people from different organizations helped make this ‘logistic masterpiece’ possible.
[Ralf Bruns, Director Technisches Hilfswerk]: (German, male)
“The THW has put up 20,000 tables. We also closed down the highway exits in cooperation with the police. We are also presenting ourselves to the public today.”
Each table could double as a stage. Music, sports, arts and culture organizations presented their local customs, like this music school.
[Puppeteer, Puppenbühne Götterspeise]: (German, male)
“Everybody who didn’t come today, really missed something!”
NTD News, Ruhr, Germany