Ulrich Damrau frequently went to secret meetings of the ACE to which his father took him as a young boy. His love of architecture, foreign countries, and mysterious stories dates back to this period of his life. During his triennial commitment at the State Theatre in Turkey, Damrau heard about the crying Ney, an ancient flute from pre-Christian times that supposedly belonged to the Sumerian King Nur-Adad. It was said about this king that it was he who united his scattered people and led them back home. Legend has it that wisdom and inspiration are given to the one who plays the flute.

Damrau searched for clues about the flute for three years, but he only found out that there was no talk of the Ney after King Nur-Adad. He assumed it still to be somewhere in the ruins of Sumer. Chance came to Damrau’s aid. Precisely at that time, the ACE found another king’s tomb during excavations in the former city of Ur, not far from the zigurrat of the moon god Nanna. As expert in ancient architecture and oriental construction methods, Damrau was consulted to examine the authenticity of the king’s tomb. When Damrau was about to uncover an ornament on one of the walls, the wall – thin as paper – collapsed and revealed another room which had long outlasted its creators, still untouched and richly decorated. In the middle of the room there was an end-blown flute. Magically attracted, Damrau took it and coaxed the quaintest, mystic sounds out of it even though he had never played a flute before.

Damrau was allowed to keep the Ney in the interest of the ACE, so as to explore it better. Only years later would its magic completely unfold. It was in a small town in the South German province where Damrau was approached by a man full of admiration. He turned out to be Roland Mack and offered him to reconstitute the countries of Europe according to his own imagination. When Damrau sat in his apartment in Munich the next evening, struggling with his decision, he remembered the Ney and the story of Nur-Adad. He picked up the Ney and played.

It shouldn’t only say “to unite the people“, but “to unite the peoples”!

The most beautiful buildings in all of the countries of Europe suddenly appeared before his mind’s eye. Europa-Park as we know it today, received its appearance through Damrau’s creative power and inspiration. What most people don’t know is that Damrau built a secret room designed in the style of the palace of Nur-Adad and in which the Ney still is located today. Only a few selected ACE members know about it…