The Big Ponder – A Transatlantic Podcast

Series produced by Goethe-Institut

Caption: The Big Ponder, Credit: © Goethe-institut
Image by: © Goethe-institut 
The Big Ponder 

This transatlantic podcast explores abstract concepts and phenomena through personal radio essays. Every other week, one of our producers transforms a broad topic into a captivating story told from a US-German perspective.

In cooperation with radio stations and independent producers in the US and Germany, the Goethe-Institut has created the transatlantic podcast THE BIG PONDER. We invite listeners to reflect on abstract ideas and phenomena through hyper-local stories. Each topic will be explored from a transatlantic perspective: do the US and Germany share the same values? What divides us? What unites us?   

In addition to sharing our passion for great storytelling, THE BIG PONDER hopes to further strengthen the transatlantic network of journalists and podcasters through our close collaboration with radio stations and partners on both sides of the pond. We are especially thankful for the support from our friends at the Bertelsmann Foundation, RBB Kultur, and the RIAS Berlin Kommission. 


89 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Why is a Nazi resistance fighter famous in Brazil yet unheard of in Germany? How did an African American musician become a hero in East Germany? Di...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: May 26, 2022
  • Length: 29:35
  • Purchases: 1
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As a lifelong photographer and filmmaker, Harald Rumpf has spent decades exploring the cities that his subjects call home. In this retrospective of...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: May 12, 2022
  • Length: 28:14
  • Purchases: 1
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During World War II, over 400,000 German POWs came to the U.S., where they worked on local farms alongside civilians. Cariad Harmon tells the story...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 27, 2022
  • Length: 30:35
  • Purchases: 1
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Tosca Terán creates soundscapes using fungi. In this immersive piece, Tosca takes listeners on a soundwalk, pausing periodically to interview other...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Apr 14, 2022
  • Length: 25:59
  • Purchases: 1
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The demand for affordable housing has reached an all-time high in both Europe and North America. In this episode, Tomma Suki investigates the housi...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 31, 2022
  • Length: 28:41
  • Purchases: 1
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What happens inside our brains and bodies when we experience something new? What is it like to perform surgery for the first time? Or to swim in a ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 17, 2022
  • Length: 28:44
  • Purchases: 1
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In the endless sunshine of Dubai, Bilal Qureshi revisits Franz Schubert’s acclaimed song cycle “Winterreise.” The lyrics of a heartbroken man’s jou...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Mar 03, 2022
  • Length: 28:48
  • Purchases: 1
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Growing up, Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller traveled the world with his family. On their trips, they always made time for a visit to the local zoo: in Ber...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Feb 17, 2022
  • Length: 28:06
  • Purchases: 1
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Despite the cliché of the unfunny German, there is a rich tradition of comedy in German culture. Soraya Nelson visits comedy clubs in Berlin and in...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Feb 03, 2022
  • Length: 27:41
  • Purchases: 1
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In the heart of Berlin, there is a small corner store, lovingly dubbed the “living room of the neighborhood.” Sadly, the shop’s owners are facing e...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jan 20, 2022
  • Length: 28:42
  • Purchases: 1
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Immersive artwork breaks down the border between the viewer and the artist, submerging the spectator in the exhibit. Nancy Pettinicchio discusses t...

Bought by KVSC, KMXT, and KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Jan 06, 2022
  • Length: 27:02
  • Purchases: 3
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In the U.S., Santa keeps tabs on who’s been naughty or nice, but there isn’t much follow through on the naughty list. In much of Europe, however, S...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Dec 23, 2021
  • Length: 27:27
  • Purchases: 1
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To newborns, there is no discernable difference between night and day. Evening and morning blur together in this piece as Katie Marquette rocks her...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Dec 09, 2021
  • Length: 26:12
  • Purchases: 1
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How do you quantify something as indescribable as happiness? Michael Hobbes searches for a way to measure life satisfaction that works in both the ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Nov 24, 2021
  • Length: 28:17
  • Purchases: 1
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A lot has changed since the first days of aviation, from beverage service to affordable plane tickets. Florenz Gilly and Leon Ginzel recap the hist...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Nov 10, 2021
  • Length: 29:42
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The Big Ponder, Credit: © Goethe-institut
As a kid, candy makes the world go round. As an adult, it has the power to bring back long-forgotten childhood memories. Carol McKinley talks about...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Oct 28, 2021
  • Length: 29:06
  • Purchases: 1
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Community is the story of our lives. It is who we are, who we have been, and who we hope to become. Melissa Gerr visits Jewish congregations in Bal...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Oct 14, 2021
  • Length: 29:19
  • Purchases: 1
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Have you ever thought about dropping everything to pursue your passion? Susanne Papawassiliu profiles Mike Powers who left his life in Florida behi...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Sep 30, 2021
  • Length: 28:48
  • Purchases: 1
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How many people will you meet in your lifetime? How many will you remember? Fascinated by the countless chance encounters in their own lives, Susan...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Sep 16, 2021
  • Length: 28:45
  • Purchases: 1
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Cariad Harmon and her partner John Kesling embark on a long-awaited cross-country road trip. Cariad interviews locals and fellow travelers of all k...

Bought by KICI Iowa City


  • Added: Sep 02, 2021
  • Length: 28:33
  • Purchases: 1