Have you also been wondering why some towns in Germany have to put a “Bad” before their name?
Well, this happens when a town misbehaves. If they are found to have done so, they need to put the “Bad” before their name on all signs and in all correspondence for three years. It actually happens more often than not.
Usually, the reason is that the municipality has overspent its budget, especially on frivolous things like a fun park with water slides or some huge museum in a small place, where there will never be enough visitors for the revenue to recover the investment. But they can also get pilloried like this if they failed to guarantee safe drinking water or didn’t act against industrial pollution. Or when a bridge collapses, although in that case, it depends whether it was a local bridge, a county bridge, a state bridge, a federal bridge or a railroad bridge. German federalism is famously complicated.
For three years, the town is then put under supervision of the respective state oversight authority
As a tourist, though, a city being branded a “bad city” shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting. This has nothing to do with the attractiveness of the city, let alone levels of crime or danger. Quite the contrary, many of those “bad” towns are really beautiful, as I recently experienced in Bad Münstereifel, Bad Mergentheim and Bad Kötzting.
Come to think of it, maybe those towns are often quite beautiful because they did overspend on frivolous things, like building parks and renovating their old towns?
I will soon be able to find out, as part of my quest to visit all geographical centers of Europe. Because one of these points, Mount Dyleň (Tillenberg) is on the Czech-German border, and the municipality on the German side is Neualbenreuth. Or Bad Neualbenreuth, as it has just been designated.
I wonder what they have done wrong. Hopefully, it wasn’t about tinkering with the border again.