Introducing Dresden’s districts (2) Dresden Neustadt

L ively cafes, street art and any number of alternative lifestyles: if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like to be classified, you will be inexorably drawn to Dresden Neustadt. One such resident is tour guide Anett Lentwojt, who knows and understands what makes the district on the north bank of the Elbe so vibrant and a place where people want to live.

Neustadt is the most beautiful part of Dresden because … 

… it is always changing. Anyone who lives here soon gets used to the fact that, as one shop or business closes down, it is replaced by some new imaginatively furnished café or pop-up store. And in between, traditional crafts are practised just as they have been for generations and just like you might find around a village square. Neighbours know each other, for example from working together on projects such as the Bunte Republik Neustadt district festival. Visitors are always amazed by the amount of street art on display here: brightly decorated houses as well as professionally executed graffiti. Here, the day starts a bit later than elsewhere – but there again, the evenings last longer.

How would you explain Neustadt to a stranger? 

It is the city’s ‘alternative quarter’ – a travel guide would probably describe it as a hippy hangout. But in fact, Neustadt is a family-friendly area during the daytime: there are plenty of playgrounds where parents can either take their kids or simply turn them loose. At around 5pm, though, the atmosphere begins to change. That’s when Neustadt becomes somewhere to go on an evening out. That also goes for the locals who are generally easy to strike up a conversation with.

What sort of person feels particularly at home in Neustadt? 

Someone who is open-minded: Neustadt is home to many different communities – people from all over the world. There are also punks and party types here. It’s a mix of urbanity, creativity and the ultra-cool, so what’s not to like about that?

If Neustadt were a person, how would you describe it?

As a rainbow character with Rasta hair and skin of an indefinable colour. Above all, it would be a musical person. I’m always surprised by how many people here in Neustadt are able to play a musical instrument. And our ‘Neustadt-Mensch’ would obviously be into alternative forms of music.

The right soundtrack for a stroll through Dresden-Neustadt would be this song:

My Town by the Dresden band Goldener Anker.

Anett Lentwojt 

Works as a city guide, manages the municipal archives for Dresden Neustadt and is a member of the organising committee for Bunte Republik Neustadt (BRN). In 2010, she opened the BRN Museum in the Dresden Äussere Neustadt community centre. Anett Lentwojt grew up in the Erzgebirge hills but has lived in Dresden since 1995.

Bunte Republik Neustadt (Multicoloured Republic of Neustadt)

Between 1990 and 1993, Bunte Republik Neustadt (BRN) declared itself to be a ‘micronation’ within the Äussere Neustadt district. It subsequently downgraded itself to the status of a festival which has taken place every June since then. This is characterised by a variety of artistic and cultural events organised by private and commercial groups.