Gottlieb Daimler, a Swabian, was born in Schorndorf and he invented the automobile in Bad Cannstatt in 1886. Carl Benz, on the other hand, was from Baden. He was born in Mühlburg near Karlsruhe and invented the automobile in Mannheim at the same time. Amazingly, the two men didn’t know each other and they never met. To this day, the respective regions are proud of the origins of the two inventors. As a result, people in places such as Sindelfingen and Untertürkheim have traditionally said that they work at Daimler, while those in Rastatt and Mannheim say they work at Benz. Although this provides some historical context, why on earth do members of the younger generation usually now refer to Stuttgart as “Benztown”?
This curious name goes back to the 1990s, when Stuttgart began to distance itself from its image as a conservative industrious city where the sidewalks were traditionally rolled up every night. Vibrant nightclubs suddenly began to appear in the city center and Stuttgart became a hotbed of techno music, along with Frankfurt and Berlin. The city spawned a number of hip-hop bands, such as Die Fantastischen Vier, Massive Töne, and Freundeskreis, who caused quite a sensation and helped to suddenly make Stuttgart a place that could almost be called “hip” — a city in which you could also party.