Knut
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Berlin Notes

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The long overdue reforms to Germany's shop opening hours at the end of 2006 brought with them, in Berlin at least, an odd side-effect: due to either an oversight or bad wording, Flea Markets in Berlin are no longer allowed to open onpublic holidays. This is particularly stupid because those days are particularly popular with visitors and vendors alike.

However, it's just been announced that the law will be modified soon, and sanity will prevail.


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It had to happen some time: Knut is getting bigger by the day, and Berlin's Zoo has decided it's time for him to get used to life without humans. Since Sunday he's in his enclosure on his own, and the daily "show" with keeper Thomas Doerflein has ended. It came as a bit of a shock for Knut too: he spent much of the time searching the enclosure for signs of human life, but eventually gave up and dived into the water.

Fans of cute baby bears shouldn't be discouraged though: next door you can see Malaysian bear "Ernst", who's just half the size of Knut.


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Monday, July 2, 2007

Train travellers beware: Germany's national rail system, Deutsche Bahn, is suffering from industrial action by train drivers. While Berlin itself is not directly affected, regional strikes in Rostock, Magdeburg, Frankfurt and southwestern Germany may cause delays on regional and intercity trains to and from the capital.

Berlin's S-Bahn is not part of this action. However, it is suffering from personnell problems of its own, with drivers and other staff orchestrating an unofficial "go-slow" campaign in protest at detoriating working conditions. This is resulting in fewer trains running, and of those trains which are running, many are reduced in length.


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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Today - June 27th - is an important day in Germany if you want to know what the summer's going to be like. At least according to agricultural tradition, which holds that the weather on June 27th - Siebenschläfertag - will determine the general meteorological trend for July and August.

There are several rhymes of weather lore to go along with Siebenschläfertag, such as:

  • Das Wetter am Siebenschläfertag sieben Wochen bleiben mag
  • Wie's Wetter am Siebenschläfertag, so der Juli werden mag
  • Wenn die Siebenschläfer Regen kochen, dann regnet’s ganze sieben Wochen

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

From June 1st to October 7th, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York will be making a guest appearance at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) with around 150 masterpieces of nineteenth-century French artists. Highlights will include Manet's "Boating", Monet's "La Grenouillère", Ingres' "Odalisque in Grisaille", Courbet's "Woman with a Parrot", Degas' "The Dancing Class", Gauguin's "la Orana Maria (Hail Mary)" and Rodin's touching sculpture "The Burghers of Calais".


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Berlin is to get two new international destinations: from November LTU will start flying three times a week to the Thai capital Bangkok. Fares are expected to be around €700 (economy / coach) and €1600 (business). LTU will also fly once a week to Melbourne in Florida.

LTU was recently taken over by Germany's second largest carrier, Air Berlin, which operates an extensive network of domestic and European flights from Tegel Airport. It's thought this is part of a move by Air Berlin to build up an international air network based at Tegel, and later at the newBerlin Brandenburg International airport.


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Terminal C at Berlin's Tegel Airport (TXL)
Tegel's new Terminal C

Berlin might be getting a brand new airport - the BBI - in a few years time, which will replace the city's exisiting airports, but that hasn't stopped construction work at the city's mainTegel Airport, which is bursting at the seams.


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Monday, May 21, 2007

It's been a long time in planning, but it looks like construction on the new S-Bahn station Julius-Leber-Brücke on lineS1 will finally get underway in June.

The station, which will be located beneath the Julius-Leber-Bridge on the Kolonnenstraße in Schöneberg, should open in 2008 at a cost of around €6.4 million. The station has been in planning since the late 1980s, but reunification put other priorities on the S-Bahn's repair and expansion plans.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Knut Medal (Knut-Medaille)
The Knut-Medal

The latest item of Knut paraphanelia has just been announced: now you can buy an official Knut Medal, produced by the State Berlin Mint (Staatliche Münze Berlin). It features an image of Knut when he was about three months old on the front (with a small logo saying "Respect Habitats. Knut", and the German State's heraldic eagle bearing the coats of arms of the 16 German federal states on the back.

The medal costs €10, of some of which goes directly to the Berlin Zoo. Unfortunately it only seems to be available directly from the Mint's own shops in Germany.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Berlin isn't just about polar bears - it has its very own Bear Pit where the official Berlin bears (brown, not polar) reside - and, following the death of "Thilo" in April this year, "Schnute" has now been formally named as the official Berlin City Bear (Stadtbär).


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