Goethe once said: 'You only see what you know.'
Back home there is a road. I have cycled, driven and walked down it. And that numerous times a week for a number of years. I also saw that factory on the right hand side most of the times I went past it. Yet I never really noticed it, because I didn't know anything about it. If you had asked me who used to run it, or when work had stopped; my face would have been blank.
But a couple of weeks ago I did notice the huge site and asked myself these questions. A bit of the good old googling and I quickly found out that it was part of Henkel. Research and production of detergents was once undertaken in these old buildings.
In 2006 the abandoned buildings were sold. They are now in the process of being converted into offices and space for artists.
Many people I have met in Germany in the recent few weeks have advised me to ask for permission to a building if work is being undertaken. So me and my mates went there on a Monday afternoon hoping to be let in. After half an hour of walking around the site we finally found the person to talk to. After a bit of explaining why we wanted to take photos and showing that we did indeed had cameras and not paint in our bags, we were asked to come back on the next Friday. We were promised access to the buildings!
Friday morning came, we were all tired, but looking forward to it. We went into the office, but there was noone there. Yet again we had to walk around the site, looking for people, without anyone asking us what 3 guys were doing on a building site.
It turned out that noone was expecting us. After a few calls a worker showed us one room that had been cleaned already. All other buildings were to "dangerous" to enter.
Maybe asking for permission isn't as great as people say it is.