From April 3rd until April 14th 2011 the first group of 10 students (between 15 and 18 of age) and two teachers of the Helmholtz-Gymnasium Hilden, Germany, enjoyed their first visit in Beijing, capital of China. The exchange of the HGH with the sister school DongFangDeCai School in Beijing was implemented under the motto „Sustainability and intercultural learning“.

It was an unforgettable experience for both sides. The Chinese students were already awaiting their German counterparts with anticipation as our group arrived in a minivan. The host students welcomed their guests wholeheartedly. They spent the next 10 days together, full of excitement.


Of course, our students went to see some of the most important historical Beijing sights, like the Chinese Wall, the Forbidden City and the Ming Tombs. But most of the insights were gained by having a closer look 'between the lines'. The extraordinary hospitality and also the enormous discipline considering the scholastic aspects were most remarkable for the German students. The marked independance of our youths was noticable to Chinese students.


True to the motto of „sustainability“ our group visited the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City. A city for 350.000 inhabitants is being built in the marshland of the coastal city of Tianjin. It is supposed to satisfy all modern requirements for being sustainable. Aspects of city management, water management, transportation, energy supplies are all treated in a sustainable way. Up to 60.000 new jobs are expected to be generated.

Early next year the first residents should move in. A fast train connection to Beijing is anticipated. The nearby district city of Tianjin is only 120 km away from Beijing. Within 25 minutes you can reach the Chinese capital by a fast train with a maximum speed of 330 km/h.


Our students were warmly welcomed by David Wei Gang in the visitor center of the Eco-City. They were driven through the construction site of impressing scale and invited to lunch.

In the second week of the exchange the two groups of the sister schools focussed on joint projects at school.

The Chinese students had prepared nice presentations and some art work on the topic „The sea and sustainability“. They had produced some drawings and paintings.


Students and teachers listened attentively to the presentation „Sustainability and the Sea – Why the Sea Needs our Help“ by Mundus marisVicepresident Ansgar Beer.


A group of Chinese students will continue working on this theme and promised producing some pieces to be sent in time for the Mundus maris exhibition „See(a)-Art“ in Hilden (June 26th to July 17th 2011).



On April 12ththe basis for a further successful cooperation was established: a memorandum of understanding was signed covering cooperation between the two schools.

We hope there will also be further cooperation of the DFDC School with Mundus maris!

Ansgar Beer