Countless words have been written on the magnificence of the Berliner Summer and its superiority to cold seasons of the German capital. Yet, I cannot stop thinking why we need to compare such dissimilar cases. Fall and Winter in Berlin can be tough even for the ones, who grew up here, with regard to the weather. Thankfully, there are always viewpoints of people who do not fixate on how many degrees above or below zero the temperature is, but focus on the beauty that lies in every situation instead. Watching the following video by Chloé Schnorhk, one cannot help but be positively surprised by her black and white take on the city with the numerous faces. The music of the cello in the background reminds me of the heyday of the European cinema. While I was watching this, I could not stop wondering how come Woody Allen has not shot a film here yet.
There is Kantstraße, Savignyplatz, Warschauer Straße, Lützowplatz, Hohenzollerndamm Platz and the list goes on and on… More than 4000 street names are to be encountered, upon wandering around Berlin. Their wild variety would leave one contemplating, if there is actually a system, according to which names were given to the streets. As stereotypical as it might sound, we are in Germany and, thus, it goes without saying that all these names were not randomly selected and allotted to the streets.
Map enthusiast and publisher Gerd Gauglitz has devoted considerable time and energy researching this topic. His unwavering love for city maps has culminated into the development of several fascinating and innovative projects, that shed light on areas and questions we might not even have been able to come up with on our own. On his Berliner streetname map the reader has the opportunity to look at the different neighborhoods of Berlin and recognize the name patterns that arise based on the thematic pools they were chosen from (e.g. poets, politicians, flowers, wars). Every area inside the S-Bahn ring as well as the closest surroundings are depicted. Apart from the street map, there is a booklet, that delves into the explanation of how different street names were adopted, discarded and changed through the years. You can purchase the map along with the booklet either on Tagesspiegel Shop, Edition Gauglitz or at various book and museum shops in Berlin.
Who draws the line between privacy and policies aiming at public safety? Is it the people through voting and demonstrating or is it the governments, who are in total control of this somehow delicate matter? The fact that these questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, but need to be thought through first, before shaping an opinion is what it renders this issue one of the most controversial and exciting topics of this century.
We are currently living in countries that are constantly under the shadow of potential terror attacks. As far as Germany and more specifically Berlin is concerned, this has led to the installation of nearly 15.000 surveillance cameras around the city, the vast majority of which are part of the system of public transport. Their presence is discreet making the feeling of being monitored rather rare. One of the current governing parties, the CDU, has always pleaded for the presence of closed-circuit television. Yet one inconvenient question seems to linger: does this measure have a positive effect on people’s safety and if yes, is it substantial enough to justify the countless eyes following us in our daily life? Especially in light of the recent assault of a young woman in the Berlin subway this topic has come up in people’s minds again.
The intervention artists Rocco and his brothers have addressed the issue through the following brass initiative documented in this suspenseful video.
photo: Berlin Station / EPIX
No matter how hard to believe it might prove to be at first, Berlin has hosted the shooting of a variety of tv shows and films, from unknown indies to massive, Hollywood blockbusters, such as Inglorious Basterds and Hunger Games. It is very hard to describe the feeling of watching your beloved city on camera being the centre of a plot that has very little in common with the way you choose to spend your time in the German capital. Here are my favorite picks, when it comes to tv shows and films worthy of binge-watching, that have been shot to a great extent or even entirely in Berlin. Make sure you share with us your opinion/suggestions on the comment section below.
Why the House of Red Doors’ theme parties are not to be missed and how Berlin’s authentically wild side is reflected in them, is something we have already written about. What you might have missed though is the mannequin challenge the whole Bad Bruises crew, that organizes the parties, has recently shot. If this does not make you feel butterflies of excitement in your stomach and the need to learn more about this talented group of people and their vision, I do not know what could then. I personally expected Jessica Lange’s Elsa Mars from American Horror Story to show up owning it as always.
January 26th 2017 will be day of the one year anniversary of this already iconic party and you should definitely check it out.
Christmas: the time of year, when buying, consuming and eating reaches the frequency of breathing; all this accompanied by an often neglected essence of religion in the background. It is the time of year, when you look back at the last twelve months of your life thinking how many of last year’s resolutions you failed to achieve and set a new array of brand new unrealistic goals. On a more positive note, Christmas is the time of year, when you are surrounded by your loved ones exchanging gifts and appreciating having them in your life. If you are still contemplating what to get them this year, check out the following suggestions of presents, that are all made in Berlin and neatly curated by the awesome of berlin platform for stylish local design products that make excellent gifts and Berlin souvenirs.
photos: Sascha Kohlmann / CC
There are these times – especially when adulthood seems to be overwhelming and I am supposed to pretend to be an adult among others who are trying to fake it until they make it -, when I reminisce the old days, when I was a child unaware of the grown-up world and its tedious complexity; when my deepest frustration would revolve around my aversion to the lunch my dad had prepared for me that day and my biggest joy would be Santa’s advent with his presents. I am inclined to believe that it is a universal tendency to look back at the past with nostalgia and think how beautiful it all was back then. This kind of nostalgia is the feeling that takes over when I see Sascha Kohlmann’s pictures of old gumball machines. I automatically have to think of my mom bringing me home after kindergarten and me stopping her on the way to ask her if I could have a gumball, which back then meant the world to me. What memories do gumball machines bring up to you?
Another stressful week comes to an end, another weekend awaits us to discover new places around the city that will make us forget our hangover from the day before and start, thus, our day with irresistible food porn. Here is the third edition of our district breakfast guide, which explores Friedrichshain this week. Once again, feel free to let us know about your favorite breakfast places located in this area of Berlin.
If modern politics were a telenovela, it would definitely have lots of avid fans, but also sworn detractors, who would wish to live just to see its cancellation. Yet, all of them would agree that the plot is not by far predictable or uneventful. Indeed, what is happening in the last few years in our privileged microcosmos called the West, is both scary and thrilling in the same way a traumatizing horror film would keep you at the edge of your seat or make you want to protect yourself behind your pop-corn. As fascism – or rather far-right conservatism to put it mildly – emerges steadily in countries that used to stand out for their respect and love towards life and its thrilling diversity, a gloomy pessimistic futures seems to lie ahead.
The most hurtful repercussions of this phenomenon seem to be three. Starting with divisiveness, we are all unconsciously grouped into squads based on our beliefs on social and political matters. We prefer standing exclusively next to the like-minded ones and right opposite the ones we disagree with. We constantly, proudly and fervently claim that there are way more differences than similarities among us. We have no love to give, only rants in support of our beloved “ideology”. This is exactly where the second consequence of the current affairs arises: powerful hatred and the urge to scream at everyone that might provoke us. To top that, fear lurks around the corner and renders us inactive and unable to cause any change that goes beyond the social media.
Learning a new language might prove difficult, especially when this language is German; pronunciation, declension, past tenses to mention but a few. Granted, every language has its own difficulties and challenges. However, the most difficult part in learning a language is not coming in terms with the basic rules of grammar, syntax or vocabulary, but maintaining regular contact with it beyond the few hours one spends in a classroom weekly.
The traditional teaching method would expect the student to improve his language skills by discussing rather mundane and/or out of touch topics and doing grammar exercises off a textbook. While that can prove efficient to a certain extent -annoying as it is, learning a new language avoiding grammar is impossible- it does not bring one’s language skills to the next level. By “next level”, I refer to the level, where the student is not exclusively dependent on a traditional course and a teacher, but they integrate them organically as one of their many tools in their attempt to elevate their language level.
In order to bring our German language guides to the next level as well, we spoke with someone who is an expert on the topic. Sela is the founder of the language school Sprachsalon in Neukölln and has had her fair share of experience with learning and teaching languages. We sat down with her and discussed some advice on how to fine-tune your German skills.