You know it’s the 21st century when few things give you so much sense of belonging as memes. That’s definitely the case with Berlin Ausländer Memes – an ironic social commentary that just couldn’t be any more relatable.
You must have seen them around already: the widespread appeal of Berlin Ausländer Memes unites virtually all expats, and earns the appreciation of Germans and even Urberliners with a sense of self-irony. The memes are impossible to miss with their eclectic aesthetic featuring Spice Girls and stock images. They’ll eventually make you laugh, but not before brutally confronting you with the unglamorous reality of the expat’s lot.
photos: Roger Sabaté.
This year’s 75th anniversary of the liberation from the Nazi regime and the end of WWII was supposed to be a big thing with lots of live events and exhibitions and whatnot. Due to the pandemic, most of their program had to be changed and brought into the digital space. It’s great that this was even possible and that the culture workers were able to adapt so quickly. But of course, it feels quite anti-climactic for the culmination of the whole festivities not to be able to happen IRL.
One thing that did happen in the real world came as a bit of a surprise late last night at the pretty empty Pariser Platz. A space that is usually filled with people, even at night, became the sight for only a few eyes of a projection onto the Brandenburger Gate with a simple message: a thank you in the 4 languages of the allies that freed the world from the Nazis.
illustrations: Berk Karaoglu.
Berlin without its nightlife is like a bath with no bubbles. In other words, we won’t stand for it. And since nocturnal establishments of all kinds have been closed for weeks now, one just has to get creative. But what else can you do to channel that party animal other than perfecting your dance moves to a United We Stream DJ set? Well, aren’t we glad you asked!
Have you ever wondered why German lack in a certain sense of Humor? For humor, you need irony and exaggeration. Both skills are not necessarily imprinted in the German DNA. Also for some sort of comedic effect you need things to go a bit wrong. Not apocalyptic wrong like right now in this pandemic of course. Yet in every funny story, there is the right amount of wrong that makes you excited about how the hero*ine might gonna fix the problem.
One this is for sure: that Germans hate troubleshooting. No wonder they are one of the countries with the most insurance and safety measurements in the world. And this cautiousness makes Germans very successful in dealing with big problems (like the one we have right now on our hands).
With literally every single queer bar, club and venue closed until further notice and all Pride parades and other queer festivals canceled this year, it looks pretty dim on the queer visibility front right now. But all clubs and bars are closed and festival canceled – what difference does it make, you might wonder? Of course, every nightlife and cultural space has its importance – but for the queer community these places and events are not just for fun and socializing, they are important platforms for activism and for the fight for acceptance and equality. There is still a lot of homophobia and transphobia in the world, even here in Berlin. Queer visibility is an important act against those nasty phobias – and for queers to disappear into quarantine behind locked doors and behind anonymous masks is quite the setback.
Musician, stage performer, editor, and Berlin’s only real Diva Kaey has come up with a clever plan on how queer visibility can continue in a creative way in times of Corona. For over a month now, she has taken the time during the quarantine to sew hundreds of colorful facemasks with rainbows, sequins, and Tom of Finland prints for the queer community. This way we can be out and proud every day when we’re complying with the new face mask rules in the city.
photos: Roger Sabaté.
Like countless others in early March, I certainly didn’t expect the extent of the impending pandemic. Fearing it would interfere with my long-awaited vacation, I actually stayed in denial of it for as long as I could. But the ominous news screens incessantly broadcasting Corona updates which had followed me across San Francisco ultimately proved fateful as I ended up booking an emergency flight back to Berlin.
Coming back in times of a worldwide pandemic made me consider Berlin home more than ever before. Having been here for over four years now, I’d already mused on the reechoing metaphor of Berlin as a lover and even written on staying committed to the city over time. As I was coming back, I’d ask myself whether experiencing Berlin in this bizarre Corona edition will affect my love for it. Certainly, I’d never seen the city like that: with deserted streets, sealed off clubs, and a ban on gatherings.
Previously on iHeartBerlin, you could learn some unique German words of happiness, get your casual German on fleek, delve into the charming world of German insults and even pimp up your Deutscher dirty talk. But as we’ve realized, we haven’t published any new installments of this series ever since we’ve issued these four articles in our Learn Deutsch with iHeartBerlin book! And because we’ve really missed this format, here goes the brand new edition of our German lessons: 10 German Terms that Describe Complex Personalities in One Word!
Do you know the saying that a picture can be worth a thousand words? Well, as it turns out, a specific German word can sometimes convey a thousand words of another language. Here’s a list of 10 German terms used to describe complex personalities that less efficient and imaginative languages could only dream of.
A couple of weeks ago, on the hight of the lockdown tension, I had a curious conversation on a late-night ride with a driver that I simply can’t get out of my head. It was related to one of these “wonderful” new terms that came up in the course of the pandemic that has been once thought up, maybe not as considered, by politicians, but then spread wide and far by the media. The first one that comes to mind is, of course, Social Distancing (coincidently, the German version “Kontaktverbot” is as misguided a term as the English one), but the one I’m addressing here is “essential jobs” (or as we call it in German “Systemrelevante Berufe”).
I was on my way home, responsibly avoiding public transport, using one of the available ride services. It was during the period, where Berlin was actually pretty empty, both on the streets and on the sidewalks. In those weeks there was so much uncertainty and fear, that you could tell people actually didn’t dare to go out.
Berliners and their apartments continue to serve as an inspiration to numerous projects, including this recent photography series portraying Berliners through their windows in times of Corona. But now more than ever, we especially need projects that aim to connect people. That’s the goal of Nomads at home – an online network for quarantined Berliners which collects their various definitions of home.
Nomads at home is a project created by the architect Zuzanna Kotecka. It’s an online space for quarantined Berliners to showcase their idea of home and connect with others, with the aim to establish ”a network of people that support each other, personally and professionally.” Each entry on the website features a particular Berliner, along with their photo, job description, country of origin and an answer to the question ”What does home mean to you?”.
photos: Lovis Ostenrik.
These last couple of weeks it became almost a mantra: Stay at home! Angela Merkel said it, viral expert Drosten said it, your mom said it, we said it. It’s in everyone’s ears, and in everyone’s mouths.
But what does “staying at home” mean for everybody? It’s certainly not the same for everyone. If you’re living alone in a dark studio apartment in the backyard it can certainly start to feel claustrophobic at some point. But if you’re lucky to live in a big bright Altbau with balcony (or even better: a garden) together with loved ones, it can also be pretty ok in the end. No matter if it’s a big sacrifice or just a small one, the importance as one of the most significant measures to battle this pandemic cannot be denied.