Germany Is Building a Wall to Protect the Berlin Wall

An effort to limit damage done to the Cold War landmark by tourists.

Souvenier-seeking tourists have done serious damage to the Berlin Wall, leaving Germany with no choice: A wall in front of the wall will be erected in summer 2018, to protect the landmark structure from further vandalism, reports the Art Newspaper.

This isn’t the first time the idea of a protective barrier in front of the Berlin Wall has been raised. In November 2015, authorities of Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, home to the “East Side Gallery” section of the wall, which is covered in murals created in 1990, announced plans to erect a permanent protective fence.

The wall, a designated heritage site, was erected in 1961, dividing citizens of West Berlin from the rest of the city and the surrounding East Germany until November 9, 1989. The wall began coming down in June 1990, but parts of the structure were left intact as a monument.

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Look out, London. Berlin’s startup scene is ready for a Brexit bonanza

Startups that previously looked to London are being wooed by Berlin’s fast-developing scene. But can Germany capitalise on Brexit uncertainty?

At a co-working space on Friedrichstraße, Berlin’s startup economy is getting ready for Brexit. Mindspace’s first location in Germany, opened in April 2016, sits in the heart of Berlin’s Mitte district, flanked by high-end fashion shops and perfumeries. Its walls are adorned with hand-stencilled signs directing people, in English, to the “yummy kitchen” and “awesome offices”. It feels exactly like the startup scene in London – and that’s deliberate. What London stands to lose after Brexit, Berlin hopes to gain.

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“Berlin is starting to be considered as a startup ecosystem, particularly targeting the tech startup scene,” says Nijvenko. The company’s “official language”, she explains, is English. All signs, documents and posts on the community’s private Facebook group are auf Englisch. Its co-working spaces bare an uncanny resemblance to a template Silicon Valley, faux-hipster style – superfluous clocks; plush, well-worn armchairs; Communist-era televisions; and work from local artists adorn almost every remaining inch of space. Around 760 members pay between €250 and €450 per month (£215 and £390) to use the space, with the two additional sites in Berlin upping capacity to more than 2,000 people. Business is booming. “The political incentives right now are targeting the startup ecosystem. Berlin is very affordable, so for startups it’s the best place to be,” says Nijvenko.

Link to the article

Berlin Workers seeking Home away from Home

Short term employment contracts on the rise as Berlin booms
Millenial contract workers seeking home comforts face reduced options since AirBnB ban

An interesting survey was recently conducted by a travel expenses company showing that alternative options for business travel were becoming increasingly popular and that Berlin was the fifth most popular business travel destination across all cities in the UK, France and Germany.

Given that we are in a day of disruptive innovation, it is no surprise that workers, as much as tourists, want to stay in less conventional accommodation or locations when they travel and use platforms such as AirBnB to find them.

It might be for the home comforts of a bedroom, lounge and kitchen or to get a better sense of the area in which they’re staying. It may simply be to save money. Unfortunately for Berlin, these options have been on the decline since the restrictions brought in last year, making it harder for short term contractors looking for a home away from home.

There is a real possibility that the city of Berlin will become the victim of this change. It’s a burgeoning city with falling unemployment, a rising population, strong educational facilities and significant investment into the city’s infrastructure. The tech companies are arriving and booming, new industries are opening up; as a united city it is still in its infancy, but we mustn’t forget that it is a capital city and to fuel its growth it needs to provide flexible solutions to maintain social mobility and give entrepreneurial companies the opportunity to grow.

This means, as much as anything, providing affordable accommodation for short term workers, often drafted in to fill skills gaps for specific projects or corporate objectives. The recent survey made it clear that whilst hotels were still popular, the demand for alternatives from Millenials in particular, is driving a booming market in alternative business accommodation.

Hotels, as much as they try to evolve, still lack basic home comforts. Hotels will forever sit firmly on the side of tourism and short-term travel, not residence, and many young contract workers want to feel as if they are living in the real Berlin, in a comfortable apartment that has been furnished like home, with their own food in the fridge, neighbours to speak to and local amenities to enjoy. If Berlin doesn’t fill the gap in supply for such accommodation, Berlin’s industries will struggle to bring in the talent they need for the time they need it. Six months of living in a hotel is not what many workers want these days, not to mention the exorbitant cost for the company.

Companies like AirBnB have launched into business travel successfully but Berlin’s restrictions are making it harder for the city’s companies to house short term workers. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that many landlords are seemingly unaware of the option available to them to provide short term, furnished accommodation to the city’s workers through alternative means, such as Buy Berlin’s Corporate Furnished Service.

If landlords fully furnish their apartments, they can be rented out to companies seeking fixed, short term rental contracts for their employees. The tenancy agreement is different to your standard tenancy, allowing landlords to have more control over their property and the rental price. It is a highly successful model that benefits all parties involved and is proving particularly popular in city centre districts and those located near to major project hubs, such as the airport.

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BuyBerlin

Buy Berlin Investments is an independent property company that provides turnkey services to global investors, both individual and institutional, who wish to purchase real estate in Germany’s capital city, Berlin.

Established over ten years ago, the company recently expanded into Asia with the opening of its Hong Kong office, providing on the ground customer service in English, German and Chinese.

BuyBerlin supports its clients every step of the way – it seeks the very best properties, assists investors through the intricacies of financing, taxation and German legalities, and provides ongoing asset management in the form of property management, rentals, furnishings and eventual resale.

Tel Aviv vs. Berlin: The same hotel – more than double the price

The price difference between hotels belonging to the same chain in the two cities is so high that Israelis could spend a week-long vacation in the German capital – including a flight and a hotel room – and pay much less than for a Tel Aviv hotel alone.

Israelis thinking of travelling to Berlin this summer in order to check the prices of pudding, for example, should know that the trip could easily turn out to be cheaper than a vacation in Tel Aviv. Much cheaper, in fact.

A Yedioth Ahronoth inquiry reveals a significant price gap between a hotel in the Israeli metropolis and a hotel belonging to the exact same chain in the German capital, so that even if you add the price of a flight to Berlin – the vacation abroad will still cost you less. (Continue reading…)

Colossal Nazi holiday camp converted to luxury seaside apartments

With estate agents waxing lyrical about the “smell of the sea, the scent of pines and panoramic views of nature” you could almost be forgiven for forgetting the sinister past of the luxury Baltic seaside apartments at New Prora, which were purpose built for 20,000 members of Adolf Hitler’s Aryan “master race”.

Comprising a single and monstrous five-storey concrete housing block stretching almost three miles along the sand dune and pine-studded coast of the east German island of Rügen, the former Prora holiday camp is one of the longest buildings in Europe. It was designed as the Nazis’ answer to Butlin’s.

Now, 76 years after it was built,  the first full-time tenants are moving in to the so-called “Colossus of Rügen”. After decades of inaction and shame about its Nazi past, the complex is being gradually turned into luxury flats. Fifty-seven have been sold, the lowest priced costing €176,000 for  a small three-room apartment.

The knowledge that the site of his flat was meant to provide “quality time” for the German masses under the Nazi “Strength Through Joy”  recreation programme did not seem to worry its new owner Roland Glöckner.

“It may sound peculiar, but it was love at first sight,” said the 51-year-old Berlin advertising executive after moving in to his 60sq metre flat.

(Read more – http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/colossal-nazi-holiday-camp-converted-to-luxury-seaside-apartments-31226643.html)

The 5 best coffee shops in Berlin

Every city has a personality, but few European cities are as unique and iconic as Berlin.

The German capital is the perfect mix of regal architecture and rough urban streetscapes, beautiful laneways and grungy concrete, vintage shops and cutting-edge modern spaces.

Berlin is wonderfully rich in history and culture, and its coffee scene reflects this richness.

1. Oliv

Cafe Oliv Facebook/Oliv

On a pretty street corner in the fashionable district of Mitte, Oliv has a warm, welcoming feel and some of the best coffee in town.

Their homemade teas are also wondrous: order a mint tea and you’ll receive a sprig of fresh, leafy peppermint in a tall glass. Plus their food is wholesome and simple; think autumnal vegetable salad and crispy hot croissants.

2. Godshot

Godshot coffeeFacebook/Godshot

Berlin’s modern cafe scene is booming and Godshot is one of the main forerunners. The space is sleek, the baristas are experts and the beans are perfect. An ideal spot to recharge one afternoon.

Plus names don’t get any cooler than this; perhaps we should start calling espresso shots “godshots” from now on…………

Record number of visitors in Berlin

Tourism keeps booming in Berlin. With 28.7 million overnight stays and 11.9 million visitors in 2014, the numbers have significantly increased compared to the previous year.

Berlin East Side GalleryBerlin East Side Gallery, one of the most popular tourist attractions

The number of overnight stays topped the 28-million mark for the first time, increasing by 6.5 percent compared to 2013. Berlin’s Socail Democrat mayor Michael Müller said at a press conference that 2014 was a record year for the city’s tourism and congress industries. The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall attracted many tourists. The reception for the soccer world champions, the “Karneval der Kulturen” urban festival, the Berlin International Film Festival and the Berlin marathon were also major events contributing to the city’s popularity. “Many visitors come to Berlin from Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands,” said the mayor. Most of the overseas visitors are from the United States – over a million Americans came last year. Müller hopes to reach over 30 million overnight stays this year.

The number of foreign visitors in the German capital has increased sixfold since the beginning of the 1990s. As one of the fastest growing international cities, Berlin has established itself among the three most popular destinations in Europe.

Source – http://www.dw.de/record-number-of-visitors-in-berlin/a-18265831

Berlin named most ‘fun’ city in the world

Berlin has pipped London to the title of “most fun” city in a poll of travellers.

The German capital was among 1,800 cities ranked according to categories such as “bars”, “clubs”, “shopping”, “adult entertainment” and “activities”. Factors such as the average price of a beer, and whether or not public drinking is permitted, were also taken into account.

While it did not finish top in any major categories – London’s clubs and concerts, Tokyo’s bars and shops, and New York’s activities were voted the world’s best – it did enough across each area to warrant the number one spot. Berlin’s beer was also the cheapest of the top 25 cities.

The survey was commissioned by GetYourGuide – a travel review website – and GoEuro – a booking agent. It was based on an analysis of data on various websites around the world, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, and a poll of almost 2,000 travellers.

Paris rounded out the top three; eight of the top 10 cities are European, while some of the more surprising cities to feature in the top 25 included Dubai, New Delhi, Macao and Moscow.

Rio reached just 18th on the list, and Bangkok only 22nd. See the rankings in full here.

There may also be accusations of bias – GoEuro is based in Berlin, after all.

Telegraph Travel’s Adrian Bridge, a former foreign correspondent who was in Berlin when the wall fell just over 25 years ago, recently described it as “possibly the coolest place on the planet” following a recent revisit.

“There are many journeys through Berlin,” he wrote. “There is the Berlin of great culture, of grand opera houses and masterful orchestral manoeuvres; the Berlin of artistic genius and the treasures of antiquity captured in the bust of a still fresh-faced Queen Nefertiti.

“There is the Berlin of a thousand nightclubs and myriad alcohol and drug-fuelled voyages of self-discovery into the dawn; the Berlin of cutting-edge fashion; of grand monuments and sweeping boulevards and fur-coated (frequently Russian) ladies.”

Paul Sullivan, our Berlin expert, said: “Berlin’s nightlife is justly world-renowned thanks to unpretentious dress codes, an inherently low-key/low-hype culture (many clubs are hidden away and don’t allow photography of any kind) – and a propensity to stay open until the last person is more or less stretchered out.

“From slick spots like Watergate and Weekend to industrial behemoths like Berghain and Stattbad Wedding, the party never seems to end here – and the beers and eventual taxi home won’t break your wallet either.”

(Original article – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/germany/berlin/11230604/Berlin-named-most-fun-city-in-the-world.html)

Berlin Beats Rome as Tourist Attraction as Hordes Descend

Wieland Giebel’s stores near the Brandenburg Gate that sell Berlin Wall pieces for less than $10, miniature Trabant cars, and 3,000 books about the German capital were struggling four years ago. Then tourism kicked in.

“The interest in Berlin’s turbulent history is huge,” said Giebel, a 64-year-old whose sales have risen 20 percent since 2011. “If I ask my customers why they’re visiting Berlin, they tell me: ‘Because everyone wants to come here.’”

Berlin — which has surpassed Rome as Europe’s third-most visited city, after London and Paris — is the fastest growing of the continent’s top 10 destinations. The city’s economy expanded the most of all German states last year after overnight stays from tourists climbed 8.2 percent to 27 million.

The boom is changing the face of a city once termed “poor but sexy” by outgoing Mayor Klaus Wowereit for a bustling nightlife that came with cheap living costs, low wages and high unemployment. While it’s a godsend for business owners like Giebel, others view the influx as an invasion of visitors rampaging through their once-quiet neighborhoods.

Adam Tellmeister, a Swiss artist who’s been living in the eastern district of Prenzlauer Berg since 1989 and deals in his works with belonging and home, says Berlin is undermining the quality of life by focusing on ever-growing tourism.

Juggling Jobs

Many “Berliners have two jobs, and are trying to pay their rent that is rising fast, and on the weekends, when they need calm, hordes of flat-rate drinking tourists are bussed into their neighborhoods,” Tellmeister, 53, said while eating beef goulash on Oderberger Strasse, an area filled with bars and cafes. “That leads to stress, the fear of losing your clanship and eventually, anger. This can’t go on.”

Visitors get their first glance of Berlin’s struggle to keep up when they arrive at Tegel airport, designed for a fraction of the 55,000 people traveling daily through the gateway and only connected to the rest of the city by bus.

A new airport, under construction since 2006 and first set to open in 2011, is years behind schedule and has almost tripled in cost amid at least 60,000 construction faults. There’s still no opening date.

The new airport is critical to the city’s economy, with tourism sales more than doubling from the turn of the millennium to 11.5 billion euros ($15 billion) last year. The city-state’s job market expanded the most in Germany in the first quarter as restaurants, hotels and others in the service sector added positions. Berlin’s unemployment rate was 11.1 percent last month, moving the city out of the bottom slot among Germany’s 16 states for the first time since 1997.

Dynamic Growth

Cornelia Yzer, Berlin’s economy minister, said she expects another visitor record this year on the heels of what will probably be the city’s busiest weekend ever in November for celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The city will place 8,000 illuminated balloons where the Wall once stood and release them on Nov. 9 to symbolize the event that ended the Cold War.

“Berlin’s dynamic economic growth is to a large part positively influenced by tourism,” Yzer said in her wood-paneled office in Schoeneberg, a stone’s throw from where John F. Kennedy made his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech five decades ago. “The retail industry alone gets 40 percent of its sales from tourism.”

Sold-Out Concerts

Berlin, which has almost as many hotels as New York, will increase the number of beds by 20,000 to about 150,000 in the coming years, Yzer said. The boom is accompanied by concerts that sell out in minutes, crowded subways that used to be half empty, and 300-yard-long lines to get into Berghain, the cathedral-like dance club that on weekends draws Berliners and tourists alike for two-day techno parties.

Monika Herrmann, the mayor of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district that’s turned from a gritty area with yearly punk riots to the center of cool with trendy bars, said Berlin should seek less tourism and hand visitors a code of conduct instructing them on trash, noise and respect for residents.

“I have the impression that some visitors think this is some sort of Disneyland and we locals are the extras,” Herrmann last month told daily newspaper Tagesspiegel.

On weekend evenings, the train, tram and bus lines arriving at the Warschauer Strasse station in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg disgorge hundreds of locals and tourists, who meander around on an 80-meter-long bridge with a view of Berlin’s TV tower.

Red-haired punks pull at the leashes of their barking dogs as Australian backpackers stroll around. A group of singing stag partygoers from England block the way of bike riders ringing their bells furiously as their revelry merges with that of nearby street musicians. A 24-hour supermarket supplies partygoers with beer, sparkling wine and hard liquor.

Josephine Froehlich, a 25-year-old architecture student with blonde, chin-length hair and a bright smile, lived not far away on Simon-Dach-Strasse — until she’d had enough.

‘Reckless Partygoers’

“It was packed day and night, summer and winter with many reckless partygoers,” she said. “I had to get out.”

While her new home in the back courtyard of a Kreuzberg apartment building shields her from noise, she’s trying to avoid nearby streets where quiet hangouts have turned into places providing “food and drink for the masses,” she said.

Some shops now sell “Berlin doesn’t love you” stickers with a crossed-out heart which locals have plastered on lampposts and walls. The city is spending 300,000 euros starting this autumn to find “concrete solutions” for issues that crop up from tourism, such as dispatching garbage trucks more frequently to visitor-heavy areas or sending more night buses to streets dotted with bars and clubs, Yzer said.

The central Mitte district has tried unsuccessfully to block beer bikes — vehicles equipped with kegs, a sound system and space for 16 singing tourists pedaling away — from streets around the Brandenburg Gate. The Berlin government has banned illegal rental flats and those wanting to offer apartments to tourists now have to register with the city.

Tourism Needed

“Some people may complain that the line at the baker is too long, but without tourists, that baker may not exist,” said Burkhard Kieker, the CEO of VisitBerlin, the city’s tourism marketing arm. “Today’s partying tourist who feels welcome may come back as a father tomorrow and the day after start his own company here.”

The bottom line is that Berlin is seeking more visitors because it needs them. Tourism made up 10.6 percent of the city’s gross domestic product last year, according to a Bloomberg calculation. By comparison, the figure is 5.1 percent in London, according to the city’s marketing company. Most Berliners understand this dependence, with 88 percent saying in a recent poll that they welcome tourists and the economic benefits they bring, Kieker said.

Guided Tours

Dallas resident Rachel Sheppard visited the city for five days in August, taking guided tours of Berlin’s city center and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and said she didn’t run into any disgruntled locals.

“When I was standing in the U-Bahn station and didn’t know what to do, a local Berliner came up to me and said: ’You look lost, can I help you?’” said Sheppard, a 22-year-old industrial engineering student at Southern Methodist University. “So I had a good experience.”

Giebel, whose mother fled with him from East Berlin to West in 1952, started his business 17 years ago and has expanded into publishing. He now churns out a new book every two weeks, explaining to visitors the city’s many facets.

“They come here because they want to know what we have made of our city,” Giebel said. “Tourism is saving Berlin.”

Source – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-03/berlin-beats-rome-as-tourist-attraction-as-hordes-descend.html