Roland Dürre
Thursday March 11th, 2010


On Tuesday, March, 9th, they elected the workers’ council at Siemens Neuperlach. Throughout all the parts of the building still used by Siemens, the loudspeakers were heard inviting everybody in German and English in the most urgent terms to vote. It was so loud you had to interrupt your meeting.

Although I had spent plenty of time behind these walls during my life, this was the first time I heard the loudspeakers consciously. I am always a little moved by loudspeaker announcements in buildings. The reason must be a mixture of school, armed forces and Orwell.

All the time, some rumours are spread behind the fences at Siemens Neuperlach. Still being on friendly terms with quite a lot of people there, I am informed about all the newest whenever visiting.

Last Tuesday, a rumour of special quality was carried to me. It was said that on the very same day the sale of the Neuperlach Siemens AG area to a real estate investor was notarised. To be sure, the rumours you hear on the corridors are nothing but rumours. The question is if there is any truth behind them. Quite often, however, the rumours became facts.
Now let us assume the sale is not a rumour and really happened. For me, this would be some very special information. I would be deeply moved. For me, it would be like a fire signal (Fanal) at the end of an epoch.  It would signify the end of a line that ran alongside my life for almost 40 years.

Just remember all the things we achieved and created with Siemens. I guess only we who were “involved” and “part of the scene” can really appreciate it. It is painful to realize how much know-how has been generated and lost again. Also, the renunciation of the unique world-wide market position Siemens held over the last 100 years in the sector of communication hurts.

But things are as they are. You cannot change facts. It would be too easy and unfair to put the blame for this loss on the management and all the encrusted and apparently reform-resistant structures in our country. Probably, it was all just a matter of “unfortunate circumstances”.

Still, many mistakes have been made. And one of those mistakes was Neuperlach. I always considered it a relic from an industrial era that, at least for us in Europe, has been over a long time ago. For me, it was an inhuman monster misleading us in a perfidious way – on top of everything else – with alleged modernity and humaneness (kindness towards employees).  And when it married, we were invited to eat out of one-way dishes with plastic cutlery.

When I, as a Siemens AG employee, was moved from Hofmannstrasse to Neuperlach, my enthusiasm did not last long. I had hoped for free research and high-tech. And I had nursed a certain anticipatory elation about working in a modern technology park. As soon as I arrived in “Datasibirsk” or “Legoland”, however, I jumped at every opportunity that offered itself to flee the functional concrete and meet with customers whenever possible.
I also published an article about “dreams that never came true”.

Now is the time to say farewell to Neuperlach and with it to a time of the past. And I take my hat off to the new Siemens director Peter Löscher. It gives me hope to hear that he financed a chair for business ethics at TUM with his private property and is letting Datasibirsk go.

(Translated by EG)


Again, I owe thanks for the beautiful pictures to Wikipedia. They were taken in April of 2009. and published by the us Benutzer:Donaulustig. Holding the copyright, he gave unlimited access for all users and purposes. Many thanks!

4 Kommentare zu “Neuperlach”

  1. Chris Wood (Thursday March 11th, 2010)

    Roland, stop putting odd words of English in your postings. You get them right about as often as Real Madrid recently gets to the Champions’ League final! The term is “real estate”, German “Immobilien” and/or “Grundstücke”.
    I am particularly affected by this rumour. For years, as a Siemens pensioner, I have cycled to Siemens almost every weekday for my lunch in the excellent canteen there. In recent summers, I have also played tennis on the Siemens tennis courts in Neubiberg. Earlier my house was chosen for proximity (7km) to Siemens, 10 minutes by rail door to door. The underground and local railway there are so convenient. If Siemens gives up this site, it will hurt my meals, tennis and cycling. I liked working in these buildings. Their height is (mostly) just right to encourage use of the stairs, rather than lifts. They are all connected underground, which is good when it rains. They have a good microclimate, so that the crocuses have been out there for about a week. There are many scented flowering trees with nesting boxes in them. I have seen squirrels, boletus and even a green woodpecker there. Earlier, there was also a library where I could read “New Scientist”, particularly if it started to rain during lunch. The works council seemed to function better there than elsewhere. Perhaps that is why Siemens may close it down.

  2. rd (Thursday March 11th, 2010)

    Hi Chris,

    leider habe ich und auch andere Autoren immer wieder Tippfehler in den Texten, zum Teil, weil wir diese oftmals schnell und nebenher schreiben.

    Wir Autoren im Team helfen uns dann gegenseitig und korrigieren bzw. melden uns die Tippfehler gegenseitig.

    Du bist der einzige, der solche Fehler genüsslich und unkameradschaftlich ausweidet. Ich verstehe nicht, dass es Dir Spaß macht, andere Teammitglieder immer wieder vorzuführen.

    Natürlich weiß auch ich, dass es “real estate” heißt. Muss ich Dir jetzt erklären, das ich es ironisch finde, dass wir im Deutschen immer mehr meinen modern zu sein, indem wir englische Begriffe nutzen.

    Inhaltlich kann ich nur sagen, dass Deine Argumente für viele Standorte zu treffen. Und wenn Siemens eine strategische Entscheidung fällt, dann dürfte der Betriebsrat oder ähnliches keine Rolle stellen.

    Allerdings kann ich mir gut vorstellen, dass an einem Unort wie Neuperlach der Betriebsrat besser gedeiht als z.B. in einem modernen Forschungpark, wie es ihn früher wohl bei Xerox gegeben hat oder heute bei Google geben soll.

  3. Chris Wood (Friday March 12th, 2010)

    Sorry Roland, I did not suspect that it was a typing error. I do not enjoy pointing out such things. On the contrary, I find it unpleasant that when people bring English into other languages, they often get it wrong, and then the mistake becomes established. My pet hate is the English word “handy”, which only in German is pronounced “Händy”. So why don’t Germans write it with an umlaut?
    Regarding Legoland and the Betriebsrat, I meant that bosses often regard the Betriebsrat as a nuisance, so a strong Betriebsrat may be a reason to close the site down. I am optimistic that the site will not close. I hope Siemens will use it even if it is sold. In the past Siemens has done this at other sites. It may be that the firm realises that it is not their business to rent out unused office space.
    That the “Betriebsrat dürfte keine Rolle spielen” worries me regarding 3 meanings of “dürfte”. I agree that the Betriebsrat probably cannot influence the decision. I think it should be able to influence the decision. I do not know whether the law gives it a right to do this.

  4. Chris Wood (Wednesday March 17th, 2010)

    I am now reliably informed ‘Siemens has sold Perlach to a real estate company, “sell and lease back”.
    They sold it for 2 Mrd Euro, and rented it back for 13 year with an option for another 15 years.
    They said they need cash for the internal pension fund’.

    It is nice to know that I guessed right about continuing to use it.
    I have my doubts about the reason given for selling it. Siemens could have raised the cash by mortgaging it.

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