Berlin Notes

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

Monday, February 26, 2007

Heads up for budding design artists: a scholarship for the private Design Akademie Berlin ( in Kreuzberg is up for grabs. Together with Berliner Zeitung and pop radio station 104.6 RTL they're running a competition for a Berlin poster, subject title "Mein Berlin" ("my Berlin"). First prize is a scholarship for their communication design course worth €20,000. Second and thirds prize winners get a three day taster course at the Akademie. 

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Monday, February 26, 2007

StilinBerlin StilinBerlin - "Stil in Berlin" or "Style in Berlin" is a photo blog showcasing the capital's street fashion and aims to "document the urban, cosmopolitan and multicultural spirit of the city we live in". While Berlin doesn't exactly have a reputation as a well-dressed metropole, there are a lot of promising subjects on the streets of Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte, and StilinBerlin carries plenty of photos and short interviews with them.

Updated ca. weekly.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

This week was the high point of the Carnival Season in Germany. If you missed the Parade last Sunday, you probably won't have noticed much of it though: Berlin doesn't really go in for carnival. The only really visible indication of what's called the "fifth season" (fünfte Jahreszeit) citywide was the sudden increased availability of doughnuts at bakeries.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Berlin's city government has just released a new information booklet with the title "Homo migrans" documenting the legal situation of bi-national gay and lesbian couples.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

In Berlin, tram construction is tradtionally conducted at glacial speed, it seems. The much needed extension of the M10 to Berlin-Hauptbahnhof from the current provisional terminus at Nordbahnhof won't now be completed until 2011.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

New York, stark black and white street photography: the trademarks of photographer Arthur Fellig (1899 - 1968), commonly known by his pseudonym "Weegee". Beginning on Saturday 24th February (vernissage: 23rd February, 7pm) an exhibition at gallery C|O Berlin in the Postfuhramt (Oranienburger Straße) will show 217 photographs by Fellig from the Berinson Collection as well as documentary videos about the photographer and his work.

Fellig's nickname is said to derive from "Ouija" due to his seemingly uncanny knack of arriving at incident scenes just minutes after they occurred. This wasn't through some paranormal abilty though - he was the only New York newspaper reporter who was allowed to have a portable police-band shortwave radio.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Love Parade, Berlin, 2006
Ravers at the 2006 Love Parade
Good news for the Tiergarten: Berlin's (in)famous techno festival, the Love Parade, will not be taking place this year - the organisers cite administrative problems with the authorities and are considering taking the parade to another European city. This is the third year the Love Parade hasn't taken place: it was revived in 2006 under new management after a break in 2004 and 2005.

It's possible, but unlikely that some last-minute arrangement can be made to "rescue" the parade; if not it's probable some other dance event will take place around the same time.

Opinion: it's time for the Love Parade to be put to rest, by an injection at the vets if needs be. I went to the 2006 event (as an observer, I hasten to add - neon-coloured hairy leggings are really not my thing) and it was a pale shadow of its former self. At least a third of the "participants" were "normal" people who'd come to gawk like me, and there was even a elderly people being pushed around in wheelchairs, for heaven's sake.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's Carnival Season in Germany, although until recently Berlin was largely immune to the sight of Germans in silly hats engaging in what is a very ritualised form of "humour". If you can't resist, or have kids who probably enjoy this sort of thing, check out the carnival parade on Sunday along the Ku'damm.

For a more international outlook on the new year season, mosey on down to the Berlin-Hauptbahnhof (fear not, it's been made safe and no high winds are expected this weekend), which is playing host to Chinese New Year celebrations. Events wil be held on Saturday and Sunday from 2pm onwards, with two dragons of "up to 40 metres in length" prancing about. There'll performances of Chinese boxing, calligraphy lessons, and stalls selling Chinese kitsch craft and decorative articles. We also predict the presence of the inevitable China-Pfanne.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Good news in these times of ever-increasing energy prices: Berlin's dominant natural gas supplier, GASAG, will lower its price for gas by 30 cents per kilowatt hour, which works out at about 5%. A four-person household which uses 20,000 kilowatt hours a year will save around €60.

Reason for the reduction: gas prices are linked to oil prices, which have been falling recently. Competition from  gas market newcomer  NUON is also said to have influenced the decision.

Announcement from GASAG: (German) 

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In recent years Berliners have witnessed the introduction of a strange ethnic festival to the German capital: yes, Fasching - carnival season - has come to town, brought in mainly by migrants from less cosmopolitan areas of the nation such as the Rheinland, particularly Cologne and Bonn. Fasching was virtually unknown in the city until the federal government moved here; since then it's become an event, but one which Berliners have not really taken into their hearts, which is understandable because it seems to involve very silly hats.

Pratts in Hats

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