District of Düren grows

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When her daughter was born, Yasmin Gruber turned her back on the city and came back to her home town in the district of Düren. She has not regretted the step to this day, in fact quite the opposite: she now enjoys being close to both nature and the cities.

Yasmin Gruber grew up in the district of Düren. After school though she moved to the big city to start her career. “Cologne had a particular pull for me because I knew the city from an early age and it’s not far away,” she tells. In her early 20s, as with many of her friends, she enjoyed the bustle of the metropolis on the Rhine, which never really settles down. Every two weeks she travelled home to the Düren district, and visits home provided a sense of balance to life in the big city.

“Cologne was stressful, loud and confusing. I lived there but I never really thought I’d arrived. The connection to home was always particularly important to me,” says Yasmin. She wanted for her daughter what she had had as a child: a childhood in familiar surroundings that is still like a huge discovery playground and that has a new surprise every day.  

Three questions for Yasmin

What’s your favourite memory from childhood?

As a child and youngster I always liked the fact that everything was so close together and manageable – we were able to let off steam as much as we wanted. My friends lived very close so we met up almost every day after school. We were always outside a lot, for example in the Burgau forest. Our parents didn’t always know exactly where we were but they could be sure we’d be back at the dinner table safe and sound in the evenings. The highlight of the year was the ‘Annakirmes’ fun fair. We were there every day. 

Why did you want to come back to the Düren district?

When my daughter was born I was strongly drawn back home. I wanted to have this family environment again, which is special here in the region and gives me a feeling of safety and security. Many of my friends also left the district to study or train, and later returned to start up a family. My neighbour even did her secondary school diploma with me – after some time with her children she’s now come back home as well. So now our children are growing up together, just like we did.

In your opinion, what is quality of life in the Düren district?

When I was in Cologne I missed the close-knit community that I knew from Düren. You meet a lot of people in the big city every day but everything tends to remain anonymous. Here on the other hand I almost always meet people I know and I can have a quick chat with them, even if I’m doing a short trip – that’s real quality of life for me. As a family we simply feel at home here, and you can sense that this is important for the district of Düren, from free nurseries to schools and training options. And of course all the other leisure activities. We love black light mini golf and bowling and we enjoy going to cafés and restaurants. We have all of it right on our doorstep – if I hadn’t lived somewhere else for a time I probably wouldn’t appreciate it so much.