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Germany from all sides

Where in Germany will you get to if you want to visit the Zipfelbund?
Where in Germany will you get to if you want to visit the Zipfelbund? | Photo (detail): © Adobe

The name alone is puzzling: what on earth is meant by the word “Zipfelbund”? And what might a Zipfel Passport, Zipfel Prize and Zipfel Pact refer to? But be warned: you will need quite a bit of time if you want to see everything.

By Jan Zipperer

The German word Zipfel means the tip, end or corner of something, while a Bund is an association. So the Zipfelbund is in fact a kind of town twinning scheme. Albeit a very unusual one: it links the southernmost, westernmost, northernmost and easternmost communities in Germany, namely Oberstdorf in Bavaria in the south, Selfkant in North Rhine-Westphalia in the west, List on the island of Sylt in the north and the city of Görlitz in Saxony in the east.

The Zipfelbund was established back in 1999. During the celebrations to mark the Day of German Unity in Wiesbaden, the Zipfel Pact was signed – a partnership between the Zipfel communities. The idea is that the four places will collaborate, support each other and pursue joint activities. And then there is the Zipfel Passport: a kind of loyalty card that you can have stamped every time you visit one of the four Zipfel towns. Anyone who collects all four stamps within four years will receive a gift hamper containing specialities from all four places. More than 2,000 people have already achieved this!

The current record-holders in collecting Zipfel Passport stamps are the four friends Mischa, Sage, Leon and Hannes: they managed to visit all four towns in just 65 hours and 27 minutes. It even took Rita Hillenbrand and Wolfgang Jansen a mere 30 hours, though they didn’t receive an official stamp because this would have required them to spend a night in each place. Consequently, their record-breaking time was not officially recognized.

TV host and weather expert Jörg Kachelmann is likewise the proud owner of a Zipfel Passport because he runs a weather station in each of the four towns. This resulted in his being awarded the “Prize of German Zipfels” in 2008. The prize has been awarded on a regular basis ever since, and despite its somewhat silly name it often pays tribute to good campaigns and charitable work.


What does Görliwood mean, why can you find a piece of the Caribbean in Bavaria and where can you dance in front of bucket wheel diggers? In our series we take you on a trip each month to somewhere in Germany that you may not yet know but should definitely be introduced to. We reveal places that are not to be found on the usual tourist trails. Are you ready for a bit of a detour?