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Berlin Notes

News and views from Germany's federal capital in easily-digestible blog format.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Following the sudden 39 hour U-Bahn, bus and tram strike last Friday and Saturday, little progress has been made in negotiations between the public transport workers' union Verdi and public transport operator BVG. Verdi has however announced that no strikes or other industrial action will take place before Monday, February 11th.

The strike last week was haevily criticised by public transport users due to the short notice given - many commuters were caught out on Friday morning and had to make alternative travel arrangements. It looks like further strikes will not be quite as disruptive; Monday, February 11 and Tuesday, February 12 are likely dates for the next round of industrial action.

Note that services run by Deutsche Bahn - particularly the S-Bahn network and regional trains are not affected by this round of industrial action, although in the event of any strikes they will be more crowded than usual.

On Friday and Saturday a bus shuttle service was in operation between Tegel Airport and Alexanderplatz via Berlin-Hauptbahnhof replacing the TXL airport bus. It's likely this service will be operated during any future strikes, providing a reliable public transport connection to Tegel.

Schönefeld Airport| is mainly served by the S-Bahn and Regionalbahn|regional trains, meaning access from there to the centre of Berlin will not be disrupted by any BVG strikes.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

From midight Friday until 3pm Saturday, the BVG - Berlin's public transport system - will not be running due to strike action.

All U-Bahn and Tram services are affected. A few bus lines run by private companies on behalf of the BVG will run as usual, but these are mostly in the suburbs.

The TXL bus service from Tegel Airport to Berlin-Hauptbahnhof will be operating at 10 minute intervals.

The S-Bahn and Regionalbahn services operated by Deutsche Bahn will not be affected and are running as normal. The S-Bahn will be running more frequent services.

Taxis will be hard to get and traffic jams can be expected.


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Monday, December 31, 2007

Germany takes its public holidays seriously: they're "celebrated" on the day they fall on (no postponement to the following Monday etc.), and - with certain exceptions - all shops are closed.

Note that public holidays in Germany differ somewhat between federal states (Bundesländer), and some of the more Catholic states have extra holidays.

2009 Public Holidays in Berlin


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Friday, November 23, 2007

Map of Berlin's "social development" by area

Berlin is a huge city, and if you're not familiar with it, it's not always easy to judge what a certain area's "character" might be like. Viewed from the streets, some districts can look quite attractive, but this isn't always a reflection of the social structure behind the fassades. The city government has just released a "Social Development Status Atlas" (Entwicklungsindikator Soziale Stadtentwicklung, pictured right) which provides an easy-to-understand overview of where's hot, and where's not quite so hot


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Monday, November 19, 2007

One thing you won't find in the works of Roger Melis, Martin Roemers and Walter Vogel are clichés. Their works, depicting different aspects of working life in the post-war Germanies, go on show today at the Willy-Brandt-Haus, headquarters of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), under the title "Arbeit und Alltag 1951-1992" ("Work and Everyday Life 1951-1992")


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Monday, November 19, 2007

Winter is slowly arriving in Berlin - the last few days have seen the odd flurry of snow (quite unusual for November), and some of it has settled in Knut's enclosure. Click here for pictures.


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Friday, November 16, 2007

The body charged with marketing Berlin's surplus real estate, the Liegenschaftfonds, has just announced that the Amerika-Haus next to Zoo Station is up for sale.


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Germany is a nation of renters - and animal owners. With over 8 million cats and 5 million dogs, the issue of keeping pets in rented apartments is a frequent source of conflict between renters and landlords (and quite often the neighours too). Standard German rental contracts include a clause which specifically allows only small birds and aquarium fish: for any other kind of pet, whether hamsters or alligators, the landlord's explicit permission is necessary.

The standard text (§8 No. 4 of the standard rental contract) is as follows:

"jede Tierhaltung, insbesondere von Hunden und Katzen, mit Ausnahme von Ziervögeln und Zierfischen, … der Zustimmung des Vermieters"

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Due to maintenance work between Wittenbergplatz and Gleisdreieck, U-Bahn line U1 is being split into two parts from today until December 21. During this period the station Kurfürstenstraße will be closed.


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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So - you're in a rush to catch your plane, and realise you left the suitcase with the ropes and gags in it at home. Or your Aunty Maud sends you a text asking you to get one of those German vibrators. Or you were going to go to Beate Uhse but it was a Sunday. Or you just need a little something to while away the lonely nights in the business hotel in Runcorn. Then worry not! For Berlin's Tegel Airport now has its own, erm, adult shop in Terminal E: the "LSD Erotik Store" is open daily from 6am to 10pm in the Boulevard Tegel.


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