A Füßgängerzone Fixture
If you’ve spent any time around Bitburg in the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard the words “am Spittel” at least once.
The “Spittel” is a new-ish element of the Füßgängerzone. For those of you who spent time there a few years back, you’ll remember this area as being where the post office was. In 2013, they tore the post office down and redesigned the entire square.
Here’s what it used to look like –
And here’s what it looks like today –
It’s kind of bland, I know, but it was also empty that day. To be honest, a lot of the locals also didn’t like it at first. Too monochrome. But, as restaurants started opening up around it, and people started to frequent it more in the summer, it’s really grown on everyone. And it made a great space for festivals and markets.
Now, when the post office was here, they called this area the (Bitburger) “Postplatz.” But, today, the locals refer to it as “Spittel.”
“Wo ist das Eiscafe?” (Where is the ice cream place?)
“Es ist am Spittel.” (It is at the Spittel.)
So, why are things now “at the Spittel?” What is a “Spittel?”
Well, way back when, before there was a Post Office, there was a hospital. Now, the German word for hospital is “das Krankenhaus,” but before the language evolved to what it is today, many Germans used the word “das Hospital” (which is actually French – and where English also gets its word). Over time, it morphed into “Spital” and then later “Spittel.” So, the name of this area is essentially, “the hospital.”
When a Bitburger hears that something or someone is “am Spittel,” they know exactly where that is and why it’s called that.
And now you do, too!