25 years of German Unity – Deutsche Einheit

I wasn’t so sure what the correct English term would actually be: German Unity? German Unification? German Reunification? Anyways – it’s now 25 years that the once divided two German countries became one. On 03 October 1990 the papers were signed – and that was that.

Such an anniversary is of course also always a good opportunity to look back: what went right? What went wrong? And what could have gone better? These days German Media is of course looking at all that. And I took the opportunity to put up another info-page with basic information about the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

25 Years of German Unity – Photo of East German car Trabbi: Trabant 601s

Typical East German car ‘Trabbi’ Trabant 601s parked in Berlin Mitte – Photo: T.Bortels

25 years of German Unity – blooming landscapes after all?

25 years ago the West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised that many people would be better off (not using’ everybody’ probably was on purpose) and that we’ll soon find ‘blooming landscapes’ (Blühende Landschaften) in former East Germany. I should point out that in German that term could also refer to an economic situation – but it doesn’t have to. So today, with many East German factories closed and many people moved away that picture of ‘blooming landscapes’ can also be seen in a different light: nature. And yes, in many areas nature has recovered in East Germany – and it’s beautiful to see.

I grew up near the river Elbe. Back in the days of two Germanys, for us the river was also the border to East Germany. And it was dirty. It was basically poisoned with everything the East German chemical industry had to offer. So we basically had two common jokes: We would approach the river betting what color it would have on that day – pink? Purple? Blue? Sometimes it smelled like chlorine – sometimes worse. The other common joke was, that there would only be two species living in the river Elbe: Eels and Crabs. Each of the species living on the dead bodies of the other.

These times are over – the river has recovered – and is still recovering. And also the banks of Elbe are now finally ‘alive’ again. The walls and fences are down, nature is back – and thanks to the decades of separation most of the areas along the former death strip are now part of a green strip – ‘blooming landscapes’ of a different kind than Helmut Kohl originally thought of 25 years ago.

Berlin Weather in September: the driest, the warmest, the sunniest

Berlin Weather in September was kind of nice, but not too nice. The official statistics point out, that in all of Germany the weather conditions were a bit ‘below’ normal weather conditions: a bit colder and a bit less rain compare to previous year.

Photo: Berlin Sunset – Weather in September

Berlin Sunset – Weather in September: dry, warm and a lot of sunshine – Photo: T.Bortels

Statistically Berlin had in fact a ‘record’ September – at least compared to all other German states. Berlin’s September weather was the driest, the warmest and the sunniest.

Only 35 liters of rain made it to an average Berlin square meter. That is indeed not much if you compare it to the German average of 56 liters per square meter. The temperature however was slightly higher, than in average. Berlin had some rather comfortable 14.4°C / 58°F while Brandenburg had ‘only’ an average temperature of 14°C / 57°F. With almost 170 hours of sunshine Berlin had the most sun of all states in September – the average across Germany was around 137 hours of sunshine.

And: Berlin had some gorgeous sunsets, too. Yes indeed.

Data source: Deutscher Wetterdienst, www.dwd.de

Berlin’s new Observation Deck: the Marzahn Skywalk

Berlin has a new tourist attraction: the Marzahn Skywalk, an observation deck on top of a high rise apartment building in Berlin Marzahn provides an unfamiliar view on Berlin.

From a height of approximately 70 meters the platform offers a view over the east Berlin borough Marzahn Hellersdorf – but basically with good weather conditions you should also be able to see as far as Teufelsberg.

Berlin Observation Deck Skywalk Marzahn

Opening of the new Berlin Observation Deck Skywalk Marzahn – Photo: © Cathrin Bach, Bild und Konzept

Admission / Tickets

The access to the platform is free of charge – but you should make a reservation in advance. You’ll find the related contact information of degewo on their website:
www.degewo.de/content/de/Unternehmen/4-1_Aktuelles/4-1-Aktuelles-2015/Skywalk-Eroeffnung.html or at the office of degewo-Kundenzentrum Marzahn.

Opening Hours

Tuesday: 10.00 – 12.00
Thursday: 14.00 – 16.00
Saturday:  10.00 – 12.00 Uhr

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Original Berlin Bolle Milkman Memorial Plaque in Moabit

Today Berlin officials will unveil a memorial plaque in honor of Berlin’s original milkman Carl Bolle (1832-1910). The memorial plaque will be situated in Moabit, Alt Moabit 98, near the grounds where Bolle’s dairy empire was operating some 130 years ago (opened in 1879).

Around 1880 Carl Bolle was basically the first, who bought milk from farmers around Berlin and sold it in the streets of Berlin. Milk became his business – and it became a big business: over the years Bolle had a growing fleet of horse powered cars and wagons that were used to get the milk to the city and then sell it. In 1910 his company owned already 250 horse powered milk trucks – over 2000 ‘Bolle Boys’ and ‘Bolle Girls’ were busy selling milk.

Bolle Logo on Milk Bottles Berlin

Bolle logo on empty milk bottles at Museum der Dinge, Berlin Kreuzberg – Photo: T.Bortels

Basically ‘every’ Berliner knows Bolle. There are various stories and legends – and even a song about about the original Berlin Milkman. Carl Bolle’s sons later continued the milk business and over the years they turned it into the Berlin supermarket chain “Bolle”.

Today milk bottles featuring the original Bolle Logo can still be found at least in museums – for example at Museum der Dinge in Oranienburger Strasse, Kreuzberg. And if you happen to see one of those bottles at a flea market, then I would recommend to buy it.

Berlin Marathon Weekend – and how to get around

Every year on the last weekend of September the Berlin Marathon is held – and it can become a bit difficult, to get from A to B. The actual Marathon is held on Sunday – but since the actual Marathon is not the only Marathon this weekend, there are probably more streets closed than on any other weekend during the rest of the year. Let’s have a look at what is closed – and how to literally get around…

First things first: U-Bahn and S-Bahn are probably the most reliable means of transportation over the Marathon Weekend. So if you need to go to the Airport or catch a train, you better neither try to get there in time by bus, by tram or by Taxi – unless you’re sure you’re not crossing paths with the Marathon route.

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Statistics: Traffic Accident Casualties in Berlin 1995 – 2014

The Berlin office for statistics Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg have recently released numbers about traffic accidents in Berlin. The good news is: the overall trend seems to be that numbers are declining.

statistic of fatal traffic accidents: casualties in berlin

graph of fatal traffic accidents in Berlin: casualties between 1995 – 2014 // data CC BY Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg // graph by nuberlin.com

While in 1995 over 140 people died in traffic accidents in Berlin, about 20 years later that number is down to ‘only’ 52 casualties. The bad news: that is still one person killed in Berlin traffic each week!

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Housing Refugees or Fashion Event Bread & Butter at Berlin’s ex-Airport Tempelhof?

When I today first read the article “A German fashion startup called off an event because Berlin wants to use the venue to house refugees” over at uk.businessinsider.com I though that this was a bit weird situation: Zalando basically ‘bought’ the fashion fair Bread & Butter just recently and now they cancelled it almost two years in advance because the City of Berlin might want to use the location to house refugees?

I do understand that it may feel a bit strange to hold a fashion event at a temporary refugee shelter in general. But what I didn’t understand was why is Zalando was actually cancelling their fashion event Bread & Butter at the former Airport Tempelhof in particular? As far as I know the event used to be quite important for the City of Berlin – and (correct me if I’m wrong) I suppose it would also be an important event for Zalanzo.

picture of Berlin Airport Tempelhof – housing refugees or fashion event Bread & Butter at

visitors looking at an areal picture of Berlin Airport Tempelhof – Photo: T.Bortels

To understand my doubts about Zalando cancelling Bread & Butter at the former Airport Tempelhof you have to understand that talking about the former Airport Tempelhof is not just talking about any other Berlin building. The former Airport Tempelhof still is one of the largest building in the world!! So basically there should be plenty of space available!

Only the hangar is over 1200 meters long and would probably provide more than enough space for a couple of parallel fashion trading shows. I once actually was at a festival at Airport Tempelhof (Berlin Festival) with literally thousands of visitors, gathering in one ‘corner’ of the hangar while two (2!) fashion trade shows took place at the same time. At the same location! Anyways.

Some facts and figures: together with office spaces and other rooms, about 179.000 m² of the building are currently theoretically available to be rented. Or actually currently *only* about 99.000 m² (equals about 1.075.000 square feet) can be rented, because 80.000 m² are already rented (thf-berlin.de/flughafengebaeude/mietflaechen/). Or, in other words, since we’re in Germany, to draw an image of the space available compares football fields: 99.000 m² equals about 10 football fields of space currently available at the former Airport Tempelhof building.

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Historical Photos of Landwehrkanal, Berlin Kreuzberg / Tiergarten

The Berlin Landwehrkanal just turned 165 – a good reason to compile a few historical photos:

Historical Photo of Potsdam Bridge in Berlin Tiergarten

The “Potsdam Bridge” in Berlin Tiergarten, 1898 – Photo by Waldemar Titzenthaler (1869-1937) – Berliner Leben, 1. Jahrgang, Heft 11. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Historical Photo  Berlin Tiergarten Hercules bridge

Herkulesbrücke (“Hercules bridge”) across Landwehrkanal in Schöneberger Vorstadt, Berlin (now in Tiergarten district), ca. 1900 – Photo by Waldemar Titzenthaler – Landesinstitut für Schule und Medien Berlin-BrandenburgScanned from Janos Frecot “Helmut Geisert: Berlin in frühen Photographien 1857–1913. Schirmer/Mosel, Munich 1984. ISBN 3-88814-984-3. – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Historical Photo Berlin Kreuzberg Moeckernbruecke Landwehrkanal Hochbahn

Landwehrkanal and Hochbahn near Moeckernbruecke, Berlin Kreuzberg, 1928 –  “Landesarchiv Baden-Wuerttemberg Staatsarchiv Freiburg W 134 Nr. 000614 Bild 1 (5-94930-1)” by Willy Pragher – Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 Landwehrkanal Hallesches Tor Berlin Kreuzberg

“Hallesches Tor, 1901” by Waldemar Titzenthaler – Scan from: Nick Gay, Berlin Then & Now, San Diego 2005, p.114. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Historical Postcard: Berlin Kreuzberg U-Bahn and Train Bridge Landwehrkanal

Prussian T3 train on railway bridge over the Landwehrkanal in Berlin Kreuzberg, near today’s “Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin” – Historical Postcard “Berlin Bruecke Landwehrkanal Hoch und Anhalter Bahn” by Unknown – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Historical Photo: Berlin Kreuzberg Bridge at Görlitzer Park - Lohmühle Ufer

Train Bridge at Görlitzer Park / Lohmühle Ufer in Berlin Kreuzberg – 1869 – by Hermann Rückwardt – scan. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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