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Berlin Notes

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

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Following a successful test opening last year in the Friedrichstraße's Q110, Japanese lifestyle store Muji is to open a permanent branch early in 2008 on Mitte's trendy Hackescher Markt. The 380m² store, to be located at Hackescher Markt 1 (currently occupied by the British Council ), will be the third Muji store to open in Germany after Munich and Düsseldorf. It will have two sales floors and carry an extensive range of MUJI products.


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Friday, October 26, 2007

The evenings are drawing in and the direly grim month of November is almost upon us. To squeeze that extra hour of light out of the evening, clocks will be going back an hour on Sunday, October 28th at 2am, making it a 25 hour day.


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Thursday, October 25, 2007

After years in the doldrums, Berlin's population is continuing to grow - if ever so slightly. The Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Agency reported that the city's population has seen a net increase of 1,250 persons over the six months to the end of July, reaching a total of 3,405,300 inhabitants. This means that Berlin's population has been steadily increasing since 2005 - but is still some way below the level it reached during the early 1990s (see graph below).


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Monday, October 15, 2007

Current situation (Thursday, November 22nd, 10am): No strikes are currently planned.

Deutsche Bahn has made a new offer to train drivers' union GDL, who is considering whether to recommend acceptance. Their decision will taken by Monday next week (November 26th) which means no strikes are likely before then.


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Monday, October 15, 2007

Good thing the S-Bahn isn't going on strike in the next couple of days: the BVG, which runs Berlin's U-Bahn network and which is traditionally strapped for cash, is running trains on some lines this week to a reduced "holiday timetable" because it's the autumn school holidays.


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Now showing at the Märkisches Museum to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the friendship agreement between Berlin and Paris: Design Reference Paris, an exhibition of around 40 design objects by Paris designers such as Laurence Brabant, Ora Ïto, Cédric Ragot, Patrick Jouin, Matali Crasset, Inga Sempé, Florence Doléac, Philippe Starck und Éric Jourdan. Curators Cédric Morisset and Hélène Convert are working with the method of "working through" different aspects of Parisien design and highlighting the ways it uses references and citations.

Open until November 4, 2007. Tuesday and Thursday - Sunday 10am - 6pm; Wednesday 12 - 6pm; Monday closed. Closest statons Märkisches Museum (U2) and Jannowitzbrücke (U8, S-Bahn).


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

For updates on the current strike situation, see our entry Rail Strikes situation.

Current situation (Friday, October 12, 10.30am): the GDL is striking from 2am until midnight. The S-Bahn in Berlin is running to a limited timetable (20 minute intervals on most lines, 10 minute interval on the Ringbahn); the S-Bahn website has detailed information (German only). Regional trains are heavily disrupted.

I've just been past my local station (Schönhauser Allee), on the Ringbahn; trains were running at around 10 minute intervals, but the inner loop trains were running quite out of sync, e.g. the next train was in 14 min, the following in 21 min.).


Looks like another round of stoppages is upcoming: train drivers' union GDL will be striking across Germany on Thursday and Friday this week, and Monday and Tuesday next week. The strikes will affect non-intercity trains, i.e. regional lines and S-Bahn networks only, following an injunction obtained by Deutsche Bahn.

In contrast to the last strike on Friday, which was known in advance and only lasted three hours, the upcoming strikes will take place without advance notice. Deutsche Bahn won't be putting any emergency timetable in place this time.


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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Friedrichstraße's prestigious boutique mall, Quartier 205, has just changed owner: the 8 storey building has just been snapped for €275 million up by CEO of Spanish clothing group Zara, Amancio Ortega, working together with the private bank Banif. Previous owner was the US group Tishman-Speyer.

This purchase comes not long after Zara's announcement that it will be opening its largest Berlin store a little further up the Friedrichstraße in the Upper Eastside Berlin complex (currently under construction).


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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Today (Sunday, October 7) is one of the four verkaufsoffene Sonntage this year, when "normal" shops are allowed to open. Many larger stores and malls will be opening, usually from 1pm to 6pm.

For shopping possibilites on normal Sundays, see our page Out-of-hours shopping.


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Saturday, October 6, 2007

For updates on the current strike situation, see our entry Rail Strikes situation.

The rail strike went ahead on Friday as planned, chaos all around was the consequence.

However, neither party has yet changed their stance, and the GDL hasn't ruled out further strikes: in fact, judging from the tone of their statements, further stoppages from Tuesday Wednesday onwards are almost inevitable, and they're indicating that any new strikes will be at very short notice.

We'll keep you posted.


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