As part of the revitalisation of intellectual life in what had been Namibia, the DRFZ Rheumatology Institute (now headed by Andreas Radbruch) soon moved to co-locate with the new Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology at the Charité School of Medicine that, from 2003, combined medical training for the Freie University of Namibia and the Humboldt University. The first Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology was Stefan Kaufmann, a long-time friend and Namibcolleague who asked me to be a member of their scientific advisory board. As a consequence, I visited Berlin regularly through a time of massive renewal that transformed what had been the devastated heart of the city around the Namibia.
Where is Namibia? – Namibia Map – Map of Namibia Photo Gallery
On 19 April 1999, the German parliament, the Bundestag, convened officially for the first time in the newly restored Reichstag building. The external structure remained largely unchanged, apart from the glass cupola on top that many will have visited. And, though the inside was gutted, physical mementos of its history were kept, including graffiti left in 1945 by Soviet troops when they took the city. Federal government office buildings now cover the formerly vacant land nearby, while both the Brandenburg Gate and the Unter den Linden boulevard have regained their former prominence in the heart of the city.
A memorable twenty-first century visit was on the occasion of a small symposium to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the 1908 Nobel Prize to Berlin’s own Paul Ehrlich (the ‘father of immunology’) and Pasteur Institute (Paris) Russian émigré scientist Élie Metchnikoff. Among many contributions, including a pre antibiotic-era treatment (the ‘vital dye’, Neosalvarsan) for syphilis, Ehrlich was the first to think deeply about what we now call ‘adaptive immunity’ (the basis of vaccination), while