Feels like Hessen – Regional Delicacies


Looks like documenta, sounds like babo, tastes like Handkäs’! Feels like Hessen! The new Feels like Hessen blog serves as a monitor and gauge for creative lifestyles and workplaces in Hessen. This is a special journey set out with the aim of discovering Hessen.


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Feels like Hessen, a blog operated by the creative industry in Hessen offering creative material to creative-minded people and to all those who exhibit enthusiasm for fresh and innovative ideas from their home region.

We provide a monthly overview of what’s going on in each region of the state of Hessen. Young and experienced entrepreneurs alike have been contributing clever ideas that add vibrancy to our everyday lives. These ideas include home-brewed beer, a new home for founders and nerds, and the digital counterpart to the tried-and-tested old 10 D-Mark newspaper advertisement. This blog profiles the people who put their words into action and turn their ideas into reality.


What’s going on in KASSEL? Bee in Japan!

Fresh winds can give rise to annoyance at first - particularly for creatures of habit. What lifestyle editors casually designated as LOHAS several years ago, namely sustainable consumption and the rediscovery of locally made products, is now a strongly anchored mindset that is prevalent across broad segments of society.

And that’s not all. The many great ideas associated with this movement have led to the emergence of numerous new companies. The catchword here is crafting, which in this case refers to craft beer produced by a young Kassel-based beer brewing company.

Beekeepers Michael Busse and Michael Hertweck came up with the novel idea of combining beer with honey during a brewery festival in the summer of 2015. Brewmaster Sascha Nicolai’s decision to get on board gave this project wings and led to the birth of craftBEE.

After some initial testing of the recipe, the company ultimately produced multiple award-winning honey-infused beer concoctions such as amber and golden honey and received first prize at the 2016 World Beer Awards. And there’s more. When craftBEE came across a Japanese importer at the Mainz craft beer exhibition, it capitalized on this opportunity to expand its sales territory to East Asia and did so with tremendous success. The Japanese were delighted by craftBEE’s German honey beer.

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What’s going on in GIESSEN? Chord for chord for perfect harmony.

Music has the power to inspire, create a pleasant atmosphere, nourish the soul, and build bridges. We’d like to take a look at the traditional handcraft of guitar-making against the background of today’s music, much of which is generated and mixed on computers.

The trained plucked string instrument maker Michel Brück, who resides near Giessen, makes classical concert guitars for customers across the entire world. Demand for these guitars is rising steadily and is coming increasingly from China.

In the basement of his half-timbered house constructed in 1632, Brück carries out his handcraft the same way his predecessors did centuries before without applying any industrial production methods whatsoever. This requires a great deal of time and experience, both of which Brück possesses ample amounts of. He makes about eight classical concert guitars custom made for his customers each year. A unique feature of these guitars is the type of wood used, which ranges from Canadian cedar and European spruce for the top to rosewood for the body.

His large client base includes renowned guitarists such as Tatyana Ryzhkova, Ekachai Jearakul, and Rene Izquierdo. Brück, who received many years of classical guitar instruction at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory in Frankfurt, understands exactly what his customers want.


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What’s going on in FRANKFURT? A new home for innovations

The notion that great digital ideas are only produced by nerds tinkering with gadgets in California garages has long since been outdated. A growing number of European cities have been establishing their own scenes for young entrepreneurs and are quickly turning into hotbeds of ideas. Alongside Berlin, which has played a leading role in attracting start-up companies for a number of years, Frankfurt has now served as a central venue and magnet for the start-up scene in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region for the past year.

TechQuartier is a company that brings together founding teams, corporate managers, and multipliers. Co-Director of TechQuartier, Dr. Thomas Funke, is excited about the dynamic scene incorporating numerous partners from the fields of science and industry. It is important to point out that the founding of TechQuartier is not attributable to one single person, but rather to a large number of institutions and stakeholders who continue to contribute to the company’s success.

Frankfurt anticipates a spike in the number of companies moving to the region in the near future as a result of the looming implementation of Brexit and the resulting changes set to affect the European market. This will give an even greater boost to the scene’s new hotspot and will present interesting opportunities to entrepreneurs with regard to the exchange of ideas and experiences with one another.


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What’s going on in DARMSTADT? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Practically everyone has realized at some point in life that his or her house or apartment is cluttered with items that were used only occasionally in the past and now are destined to lie in the corner and collect dust. There’s never been a better time to rediscover bartering, an ancient institution that had proven its worth as far back as the Stone Age. How about a TV for a Thermomix? Or a Furby for a Barbie?


The online exchange platform Swapper brings people together wishing to exchange items in one-to-one trades and features a setup similar to that of the dating app Tinder. Items that a user intends to trade are matched with items of equal value offered by other users. Users simply swipe to the right on the display screen if interested in a proposed trade.

Swapper is the brainchild of Darmstadt business student Joel Monaco. The exchange platform went live in December 2016 and has been exciting a large number of users ever since. The key advantage over other exchange platforms, all of which require users to find interested buyers themselves, is that Swapper immediately displays trade suggestions for other equivalent-value items. Video games, electronic devices, toys, and children’s clothing are some of the most sought-after items on the platform. The target group includes schoolchildren, trainees, university students, and young parents.


Together with his business partner Julius Kaden, Joel Monaco consulted HIGHEST at the Technical University of Darmstadt prior to launching the company. This allowed him to turn his pet project Swapper into a serious business model, which has paid dividends in light of the booming start-up scene in Darmstadt. Swapper plans to add a number of new features in the future such as a parcel delivery service and a payment system for the settlement of differences arising from items traded for higher-value items.


The Swapper app is available on iTunes and in the Google Play Store.


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