Introducing Dresden’s districts (6) Löbtau

Advertisement W est of the historic city centre, just before you enter Gorbitz, is the district of Löbtau. As the party scene in Dresden is to be found anywhere but here, people who don’t actually live in Löbtau see little reason for visiting it. Cultural engineer Felix Liebig tells us what they are missing.

Löbtau is the most beautiful district of Dresden because…

…it is simply very well laid out. Surveyor Emil Überall defined the anatomy of the district in 1875. Since then, it has been characterised by detached houses, lots of greenery, the large central cemetery and the three smaller parklike squares of Dorfplatz, Conertplatz and Bonhoefferplatz. Everything is airy, built on a generous scale and green. Add to that a cosmopolitan mix of people, young and old, who bring life to Löbtau.

How would you explain Löbtau to a stranger?

Imagine a pasture on a slope southwest of Dresden which caught the eye of the Bishop of Meissen as he approached the city 950 years ago. He named the small settlement ‘Liubituwa’. He observed the farmers herding their cattle and described the scene as picturesque and serene. With industrialisation, the village took on an urban character. It was incorporated into the city in 1903, and the inhabitants were now predominantly factory workers. At the same time, there was an influx of white-collar workers and academics. It’s still very mixed today: there are run-down areas but also streets where it is clear that people care deeply how the place looks.

What sort of person feels readily at home in Löbtau?

Families like to live here, and there are many older people who have spent their entire lives in Löbtau. There is also a sizable student population – the bus connections to the university are excellent. But going out is a problem, as there is not much on offer. We have only a few owner-managed cafes and bakeries, and it’s the usual national chains that dominate the main street. Nevertheless, we have a lot of improvised events, special places and spaces used by alternative groups that you find out about by word of mouth and won’t find advertised in any city magazine. Our neighbourhood shop is such a place.

If Löbtau were a person, what would be its distinguishing features?

A student who is not sure yet what direction to take in life. Conventional or alternative? Left wing or right wing? A student who has not yet fully outgrown a child’s view of the world.

The right soundtrack for a walk through Löbtau would be this song:

Architect and cultural engineer Felix Liebig has lived in Löbtau since 2011. He is on the three-member executive committee of the Löbtop association which promotes civic engagement and supports cultural, social and urban development. Löbtop e.V. operates a district shop. The association is also in charge of arrangements for the anniversary celebration, 950 Years of Löbtau.