The White Mountains of Germany

One of my expat friends passed by one these white mountains in Germany. With her mobile phone, she took a photo to inquire about this phenomenal sight of a mountain.

At first, I had no idea either, as I had never seen this before. But I learned, in Germany, there are a few of these.

This is Kaliberg, also referred to as Monte Kali or Kalimanscharo in other locations. It is an artificial mountain, created by dumping its innards of potassium salt.

Kaliberg

This form of mining poses environmental hazards as nearby rivers are getting too salty. Additionally, each rainfall delivers more salt into the soil. Some worry about the quality of the drinking water as this is slowly getting contaminated as well.

The mining of this Kaliberg in the photo has been going on for 30 years and another 35 years of mining are expected.

Locations of these white mountains are:

* Kaliberg near Vacha (Widdershausen) – click here for a better image: Anywhere you want to go
* Bokeloh and Sehnde (both in the Hannover region),
* Kaliberg mine Neuhof-Ellers near the ICE- tracks in Neuhof (near Fulda, Hesse),
* near Zielitz in Saxony-Anhalt
* closed mine Kalimandscharo in Sollstedt.

Salzsteuer

Salzsteuer was a tax in Germany on salt, specifically on table salt.

Originally salt was considered to be a luxury and hence was taxed.

The tax was discontinued in Germany at the beginning on 1993, in Austria in 1995, but continues to this day in some parts of Switzerland.

The type of salt that is used to keep roads clear in winter was not taxed. To avoid people buying the “wrong” type of salt and avoiding the tax, the latter was coloured and had a bitter taste added – a process called vergällen.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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