"MAXIMILIANEUM" and it’s neighbourhood!

You may say now “on my goodness, couldn’t they find an easier name?” … and I can’t even blame you – it might indeed take one or more attempts to decipher this word. It was Maximilian II of Bavaria who – still Crown Prince – planned to …” site a great national building on the banks of the Isar-river near Munich in order to enhance the people’s national and royalist sentiments” and was at the same time it’s name-giver! To our ears that sounds all very bombastic indeed but this kind of language had the purpose to glorify the Royal House as well as the decisions taken there.

The building he planned should function as “Atheneum”, an institution …” to assist talented Bavarian youths of any social rank to achieve that level of academic and spiritual education requisite for meeting the higher task of state service”! What all that means in common language is that a genius who succeeds to get a straight 1.0 average in German rating or in other words a straight “A” at final graduation, is permitted to get lodging and classes in there free of charge! Needless to say that any graduate of this institution will not face any closed door or obstacle of any kind while looking afterwards for an appropriate position!

Unfortunately, Max II did not live to see the building completed and it was only under his successor, Ludwig II (the fairy-tale king), that the foundation finally received its final form. After abolition of monarchy in 1918, patronage of the Maximilianeum passed to the Ludwigs-Maximilian University of Munich.
Since 1980 the “Wittelsbach Jubilee Foundation” has also granted scholarships “to 12 gifted young Bavarian women in addition to 28 young men” … as conscious female I can not make myself skip the remark that the sentence “equal rights for all” does not seem to have been very popular back then!

King Max II’s dream was to put “his own” acropolis at the end of the boulevard, which still carries his name and is the most expensive and exclusive shopping-mile of the city! Who thinks he/she needs to have the name “GUCCI” written on labels and purses to feel better or possibly more accepted or respected – that’s the place to go. The prices are sky-high and therefore the ordinary mortals have to be content with window-shopping … something, I found out can be as satisfactory if wrapped up by a visit to one of the numerous café-shops and crowned by an ice-café topped by whipped cream or banana-split ice “dream”!

In 1949 the Bavarian Parliament and Legislative Assembly decided to move in and occupy the front part of the building, a move, which did not interfere with the original purpose and dedication. According to the law, every citizen is permitted to attend sessions or conferences but it is advisable to call before and inquire after times and as well guided tours!

Before we wrap up our trip, I want to introduce to you the Greek goddess Pallas Athene, who represents the warrior and woman as well as the peaceful general, thus respecting strength and wisdom and who posed as godmother to the house named after her! Her oversized statue stands on the bridge spanning over the Isar-river adjacent to the Maximilianeum.

The Isar, “our” river, intersecting Munich, inseparable from the picture of the city and the hearts of the people, sometimes peacefully flowing but occasionally, especially in late winter or spring when the snow melts, as well changing into an angry and unpredictable lady, by the Romans already ominously called “Isara rapida” … I will introduce to you another time. I’ll show you our secret spring/summer/fall retreats with its multiple surprises! It’s worth to remain curious … so stick around!


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