Berlin Notes

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

Friday, January 19, 2007

Following yesterday's storm, the Berlin-Hauptbahnhof's upper section - the east-west tracks of the Stadtbahn - is closed due to damage to the station's structure. This affects both the S-Bahn and regional / inter-city trains. S-Bahn trains from the east are terminating in Friedrichstraße, while trains from the west terminate at Zoo Station or Bellevue_Station.

Trains which run through the North-South Tunnel are not affected. However, as a result of the suspension of all intercity trains yesterday, and storm damage in the region, most trains are running with delays and some are cancelled.

Currently it is not known how long the closure will last.

Update (2:30pm): the S-Bahn is now running through Hauptbahnhof again; regional and intercity services on the Stadtbahn are expected to be restored during the afternoon.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

modekultur.infoAs befitting its status as a fast-developing fashion and cultural metropole, Berlin now has a new online fashion magazine, "" ( In its own words wants to be "a magazine that opens up new perspectives on fashion in and from Berlin". The first edition is already available, and while the main content is in German there's an English version which should contain translations of some of the articles, although at current the selection is pretty limited and the site still has that certain "under construction" flair.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Anyone who's lived in Germany for any length of time will no doubt have come into contact with the GEZ (Gebühreneinzugszentrale), the organisation which is responsible for collecting the compulsory fees for Germany's public broadcasting system. In the last few days threatening-sounding, but quite plausible e-mails from the GEZ have been appearing in many people's inboxes. Be warned: these are fakes and the attachment contains some sort of virus or trojan - just delete the mail without reading.

Should the real GEZ want something from you, they will communicate via an ordinary (albeit equally threatening-sounding) letter.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Is winter in Berlin a thing of the past? This week saw the highest January temperatures ever recorded, with the thermometer reaching around 15°C on Wednesday. In the surrounding state of Brandenburg the storks - which usually fly south for the winter - have chosen to stay at home. And more exotic creatures can be expected in the region - Berlin's government is planning ahead and will be creating 53 new zebra crossings - partly because they're cheaper to build than traffic-light controlled crossings, although 29 of these will also be built during 2007.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

The two Sundays on which shops can open in Berlin (verkaufsoffene Sonntage) for the first half of the year have been announced: January 28th (Grüne_Woche, International Green Week) and May 20th (on the occassion of the 88th X-Ray Conference). Shops can open from 1pm until 8pm, although most will close earlier, generally at 6pm.

See Shopping in Berlin for general information on shop opening hours in Berlin.

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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Hi Flyer balloon, Berlin

The Hi-Flyer balloon

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Friday, January 5, 2007

The Tempelhof Airport saga continues: it looks like the airport's closure date will be put back a year, to October 31, 2008. Personally I don't think they'll ever actually manage to close it... We'll see. Meanwhile, it appears someone has been taking pot shots at Tempelhof's radar tower, a structure erected in 1984 by the US Army. Traces of seven bullet holes were found in the radar tower's outer shielding, although it is not clear when the shots were fired or by whom. German military intelligence is investigating.

More financial scandal: the Technikmuseum (Museum of Transport and Technology) was promised a donation of five million Euros by British millionaire and transport fan Glenn Lacey to buy a plot of land adjacent to the museum. It looks like Mr. Lacey is not actually going to cough up the cash - and for legal reasons too boring to go into here, it looks like Berlin's government will have to scrape together the 5 million from its own meagre resources.

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Friday, January 5, 2007

Berlin is to get yet another hotel, this time a 4-star establishment on Alexanderplatz from the Spanish Sol Meliá hotel chain, who have just opened the Hotel Melia Berlin in the Friedrichstraße. The hotel, whose name has not yet been decided upon, will be located on the site of the former GDR health ministry, a 13-storey prefabricated building in the Plattenbau style which has stood empty since German reunification.

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Television Tower in Berlin

The Television Tower in Berlin

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Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Warschauer Brücke (Warsaw Bridge) in Berlin (Friedrichshain)

The Warschauer Brücke (Warsaw Bridge) in Friedrichshain by night

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