A mixed bag of useless information under the title
Berlin-Splitter. In German "Splitter" means literally
"splinter" or "fragment", but in this context means, well, "a mixed bag
of useless information". A more-or-less weekly column of stuff from the German capital.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
It's the middle of the silly season, what better time to restart the Berlin-Splitter
series? Odd stuff from Germany's capital.
You'd think at least the Federal Construction Ministry would get it right - but no, their nice new building in the Invalidenstraße (inauguration year: 1999) is full of problems ranging from insufficient fire protection, ineffective air conditioning and instable structural elements. So the ministry is being repaired at a cost of €25 million (of which nearly €7 million are being spent on "planning and damage management" - nice work when you can get it). At least some of the costs are covered by insurance, but taxpayers will no doubt be stumping up somewhere along the line.
Friday, February 23, 2007
This week was the high point of the Carnival Season
If you missed the Parade
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.
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
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.
Friday, February 2, 2007
The warm winter continues: last week's snow has vanished, it's (comparatively) warm, windy and rainy.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Event of the week was hurricane "Kyrill
", which swept across
Europe on Thursday and Friday, uprooting trees and taking off roofs and
generally making a mess. There were no casualties and comparatively
little damage in Berlin - dire warnings from the authorities encouraged
many people to stay at home, and while maximum wind speed hit 146 kmh
in the southeastern district of Adlershof, the full force of the storm
was not quite as intense as had been predicted. However, there was
drama a-plenty at the Berlin-Hauptbahnhof
- a steel
girder weighing nearly two tonnes fell of the facade of one of the
newly-constructed office buildings which straddle the station onto some
steps. No-one was hurt, but the station was closed until midday Friday
for safety checks.
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.
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.
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.
Friday, December 29, 2006
A taste of winter: snow hit the city on Thursday, albeit only
for a few hours, and melted away during the night. Temperatures are
expected to rise towards the New Year, with a high of 10°C predicted
for New Year's Day, so don't rush out to buy a sledge just yet.
Talking of winter,
it seems we have a new annual event: disagreement between Russian gas
supplier Gazprom and at least one former Soviet state through which its
pipelines run. Last year it was the Ukraine, this year Belarus. Not so
interesting? Well, guess where Germany gets most of its gas supplies
from. But not to worry: there should be enough in Germany's gas storage
reserves to see us through the winter, which is looking to be on the
mild side anyway.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Big news of the week is of course the drama at the
Deutsche Oper: a Mozart opera was cancelled
because it contained scenes involving the decapitation of various religious
figures including the prophet Mohammed. I would like to take this opportunity
to point out that we here at this website do not condone the decapitation
(whether actual or nur symbolic) of religious leaders, and if you'd like
to take that explosives belt off very gently while I take shelter
behind this mound of ....BOOM .
Friday, September 22, 2006
Another week, another Friday: more Berlin-Splitter.
Berlin's largest "brothel",
Artemis (link not work safe),
(apparently a vast sauna / "wellness" club with very lax clothing
rules and a lot of freely circulating ladies
near the Messe Berlin),
has placed adverts on three BVG buses in Berlin. No-one is in the
The Berlin elections are over, thankfully, and all those beautiful posters
will soon be disappearing. Gay mayor Klaus Wowereit will be staying
in office, but possibly with a different coalition partner.
In Pankow every 10th election worker failed to
turn up, so the count was delayed by half a day: the district election
office will be dealing out fines of up to €1000 to those without
a very good excuse.