Berlin world wide – a documentary report on Berlin world wide

Berlin – the town I was born, the place I live, the city I love – is only one of over 100 cities, villages and places world wide called ‘Berlin’. Throughout history people have again and again called places ‘Berlin’ for various reasons – be it german missioners or colonists calling a spot ‘Berlin’ where they could build a harbour or be it german immigrants, calling their new found home after the german capital when they finally settled down in the United States of America.


In the US alone there are dozens of places called Berlin – even though many towns changed their name after the first and again after the second world war. But also in Russia and in many other countries people decided to call their city Berlin – and in most if not all cases they named it after the german capital Berlin.

Just recently a couple of german TV broadcasting stations and media institutions teamed up and produced a comprehensive documentary report which is available in different formats: as a one-piece video stream, as an interactive web-documentary and ‘in pieces’ on youtube. I highly recommend watching it since it’s really quite some entertainment – and a totally different view on “a place called Berlin”

On the website of Deutsche Welle you can watch english version of the ‘linear’ documentary report split in two: www.dw.de/program/worldwide-berlin/s-101261-9798

Here you’ll find the english version of the interactive web-documentary, featuring additional clips from the world’s various Berlins: www.worldwideberlin.com/en/

And here’s the youtube channel of worldwideberlin with lots of short clips from all over the world: www.youtube.com/channel/UClcOMPrMtL9tSV2861OyVAg

Also interesting: a radio special “How Many Berlins Are There In The U.S.?” by NPR News Berlin focusing on the Berlins located in the United States of America: http://www.nprberlin.de/post/how-many-berlins-are-there-us

Spring-like weather in mid-January

Berlin winter weather sunshine

After some weeks of Berlin’s typical mostly grey-grey-cloudy winter weather today the day began with a surprise: Good Morning Sunshine! And the weather forecast says that we might enjoy sunshine, blue skies and temperatures between 5°C to 15°C until next weekend.

Update: Maybe I misunderstood some details of the weather forecast: the early spring lasted for only two days – now it seems we’re back in the grey-cold-windy-and-wet phase of Berlin winter….

I took the chance to update the weather page.

Berlin advertising – poster pillars everywhere

Berlin advertising: posters pillars everywhere

In Berlin almost every flat object can be a billboard – and almost every round object can be a poster pillar. And ‘everybody‘ thinks, “it’s just me – hanging a single poster on that pillar” then lamp poles and traffic signal poles can easiely become huge round objects that may look like ‘real poster pillars’, but basically they are just lamp poles and traffic signal poles, burried underneith layers and layers and layers of posters.

An interesting side effect: these ‘Poster Pillar’ might even work well as bumbers – so if a car would crash into one of these well-cushioned / padded / upholstered poles, the layers of posters might soften the impact – almost like an air bag. So maybe every street pole should be covered with layers of posters for the sake of safety? Maybe so. Maybe not.

You probably won’t see these objects in every Berlin destrict – but at least in Mitte there are some. This one I found near Rosa-Luxemburg Platz.

Historical Berlin Maps online and offline (exhibition)

The Berlin Landesarchiv (Archives of the Land Berlin) in Reinickendorf / Tegel have recently opened an exhibition worth seeing. On display: historical maps of Berlin by Julius Straube, as well as historical photos and posters of Berlin of the 19th century.

One particular map of the year 1897 for example resembles what today would probably be called a “biking map” – a map made for bicycle riders. It shows which streets, which routes are comfortable to bike on – and which are not. And it also shows what pavement to expect: asphalt, cobblestone or cross-cut wood (yay!),

And additionally it also shows where it was forbidden to bike. Yes, there were already no-go areas for bicyclists at the end of the 19th century. The german king probably didn’t like the idea of having bikes and bicyclists all around him when walking down the boulevard Unter den Linden – so it was forbidden to ride a bike there. And also on Leipziger Strasse, Potsdamer Platz and Königstraße and anywhere near the castle no bikes were allowed.

The Landesarchiv also recently opened a web based research tool for historical Berlin maps. The interactive tool lets you explore Berlin while using any of the provided ‘historical map layers’. A bit difficult to explain – but pretty easy to use: www.histomapberlin.de (en). The so called Strauble-Plan is probably the most spectacular map layer available on that interactive tool – since it is really old – and really complex, mapping most of Berlin’s inner city district Mitte. Pointer: the Strauble-Plan layer is actually a bit hidden behind the tab “More Layers”. There you’ll also find a layer for the Berlin Wall. Interesting:  you can actually combine a map from 1897 with the Berlin Wall border line…

Berlin historical maps navigator
interactive navigator for historical maps of Berlin at www.histomapberlin.de

Details about the exhibition:

“Die Pläne mit der Berolina – Kartografische Exkursionen mit Julius Straube”
7th October – 31st December 2014
Landesarchiv Berlin, Eichborndamm 115 – 121, 13403 Berlin (map)

See also: news at Landesarchiv (german)
www.landesarchiv-berlin.de/lab-neu/home.htm

via Tagesspiegel:
www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/ein-berliner-stadtplan-von-1897-radfahrer-auf-dem-holzweg/10920130.html?r=7771522

Border of light: 25th anniversary of The Fall of The Berlin Wall

Already on sunday evening about 8000 balloons were released to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – one milestone of the reunification of East and West Germany.

For three days a 15 km “border of light” (Lichtgrenze) symobilized the line where over 25 years ago the Berlin Wall divided the city in two. Walking along the row of illuminated balloons gave a great impression of how and where The Wall once was: across bridges, along streets, around Brandenburg Gate – right through Berlin’s heart.

Here’s some photos I took during the three days the Berlin border of light was up. More photos will follow hopefully rather soon over at bilderbook.

Berlin Wall and balloons at Bernauer- Street light border
border of ligtht at Bernauer Street: Berlin Wall and balloons (© bilderbook/T.Bortels)

Balloons Berlin light border Mauerpark
Balloons of the border of light beeing released at Mauerpark (© bilderbook/T.Bortels)

And here’s an amazing fast-forward walk (video by ChrisK) along the light border – all the way from Bösebrücke at Bornholmer Street down to Oberbaumbrücke btween in Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain:

And somebody drew the path of the Berlin Wall on a Google Map – in case you really want to know where the Berlin Wall once was standing between 1961 and 1989:

And here it is at Google Maps.

see also:
BBC: “8,000 balloons released to remember Berlin Wall” (photos)
www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/29984351

Berlin S-Bahn on strike this weekend

07.11.2014 17:00 The Berlin S-Bahn drivers’ strike still continues – but it seems it will be over soon: media reports that the train drivers’ union announced, the drivers’ strike will end already on Staurday evening, November 8th, 18 o’clock (which  is 6 p.m.). Chances are that later that evening more or less all S-Bahn trains will be back on track. Well – have a nice weekend then! And please feel free to leave a comment, if you like…

06.11.2014 10:00 The good news this morning: Some S-Bahn trains are actually in service – operating on a ‘regular’ twenty-minute schedule. The bad news: by far not all S-Bahn trains are. This means basically there should be some S-Bahn train going every twenty minutes – but you can’t really be sure about it. The time table with details about the operating S-Bahn routes can be found on this page in german. I’ll shortly sum up the most important details about which connections are in operation – and which are not.

First the S-Bahn trains that are in service:

S1 • Potsdam Hbf <> Oranienburg • every 20 Minutes *1)
S2 • Blankenfelde <> Bernau • every 20 Minutes
S3 • Ostkreuz <> Erkner • every 20 Minutes *2)
S46 • Königs Wusterhausen <> Schöneberg • every 20 Minutes *3)
S5 • Friedrichstraße <> Strausberg • every 20 Minutes
S7 • Alexanderplatz <> Marzahn • every 20 Minutes
S9 • Flughafen Schönefeld <> Landsberger Allee • every 20 Minutes

*1) from saturday 4 p.m. under construction
*2) on the weekend only Karlshorst <> Erkner
*3) Friday and Saturday night under construction between 11:30 p.m. and 06:30 a.m

According to the S-Bahn information page the following trains are not in service:

S25, S41, S42, S45, S47, S75, S8, S85

So even if you want to / have to travel to Airport Schönefeld: there should be trains running every 20 Minutes… Good luck! And don’t let the S-Bahn strike ruin your weekend!

S-Bahn Station Hackescher Markt
Usually crowded, now abadoned S-Bahn station Hackescher Markt

S-Bahn Berlin station Nordbahnhof
Berlin S-Bahn station Nordbahnhof – view to TV-Tower

05.11.2014 09:22 The good news: I just heard on the radio that Deutsche Bahn, the owner of Berliner S-Bahn, will try to have ‘at least’ 30 percent of the trains running. And it was also said, that “some” of Berlin’s S-Bahn trains will be in service too. However, I can not find any (official) information about such “Ersatzverkehr” – neither in german, nor in english – neither on Deutsche Bahn’s, nor on S-Bahn’s homepage.

At this point I should also add that I also couldn’t find any english information about Berlin’s S-Bahn drivers on strike – and the concequences – at least not on the websites I would expect to offer information in english for tourists and travellers.

  • The Webseite of Berlin’s S-Bahn seems to have only basic ‘static’ information for tourists – in english language: sightseeing tours, ticket offers etc. No news about the strike.
  • The same situation on the english language version of Deutsche Bahn’s website: city trips, interactive offer advisor – but no news about the upcoming strike.
  • And even on the website of Berlin’s tourist information service: no news about the train drivers on strike, no information about alternative routes – nothing. Not even on their facebook page.

Did I miss something? Did you find any official information in english? Please leave a comment – I would be glad to add any pointers to english language information regarding the strike…

S-Bahn Berlin
One third of the S-Bahn-Trains in operation: two S-Bahn trains parked, one train moving. The Photo was taken during the strike of 2007 near S-Bahn-Station Gesundbrunnen /  between Wedding, Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte

04.11.2014 21:00 The train drivers of Deutsche Bahn will go on strike for another four days: from Thursday November 6th 2 a.m. until Monday November 10th 4 a.m.. And since Berlin’s public transport service ‘S-Bahn’ is owned by Deutsche Bahn, that means there will probably hardly any S-Bahn trains going over the weekend.

This is particularly bitter since this weekend Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the opening of the border between East and West Germany – and Berlin celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Probably thousands, if not tens of thousands (or even hundrets) were expected to travel on this occasion: visiting friends and family – or just visiting Berlin to be part of the great celebration, marking one of the most important turns in Berlin’s history: about 8000 illuminated ballones are placed along the former inner city border line – and most of the points of interest would usually be easiely accesssible by S-Bahn – linkr Nordbahnhof, Friedrichstrasse, Brandenburger Tor and East Side Gallery. But it seems, that visitor will have to find alternatives to travelling by S-Bahn.

Of course – there are other means of transportation in Berlin: first of all Berlin’s big yellow public transport service BVG, operating all Busses, Trams and U-Bahns. But as the past has shown, travelling with either U-Bahn or Tram or Bus can be challenging when no S-Bahn is operating.

see also:
The Local: German train drivers to strike for 98 hours
Reuters: Train drivers’ strike to mar Germany’s Berlin Wall party

pages linking here:
train strike « ZINEFEST BERLIN

Berlin traffic accident statistics

Less accidents, more people dead. That’s the shocking news from the Statistical Office for Berlin-Brandenburg (“Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg”).

During the first eight months of this year 34 people got killed in traffic accidents across the city. In 2013 there were ‘only’ 26 people killed during the same time period. That is more than 4 dead per month – or more than one per week – and means an increase of over 30 percent, compared to 2013.

What the statistics don’t tell us is who – or how people got killed. But it is pretty obvious, that most of the people killed were either bicyclists, or pedestrians. If you want to dig deeper there is another statistic – soley about bicycle accidents – at ->
berlin.de/polizei/aufgaben/verkehrssicherheit/verkehrsunfallstatistik/#radfahrer

So pease (PLEASE!) be careful, when riding your bike across Berlin city – or even when crossing the street. You may be on holiday, and the city may feel safe – but there is actually a lot of sh–t happening. Please try to avoid dangerous situations.
See also: Berlin by Bike

The full statistic report about this years deadly accidentscan be found here  ->
statistik-berlin-brandenburg.de/pms/2014/14-10-27a.pdf

This blog post was inspired by this german article at tagesspiegel.de ->
tagesspiegel.de/berlin/unfallstatistik-fuer-berlin-86000-unfaelle-auf-berlins-strassen/…

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Airport Tegel anniversary

40 years ago Berlin’s futuristic design airport Tegel “Otto Liliental” opened to the public. A revolutionary concept: short distances, maximum comfort for the traveller – cutting edge design.

The airport is built on the concept of triangles and hexagons – following nature’s rules of triangles representing the most efficient connection of three points. From roof to floor – the whole building was built on this repeating pattern, making it a design icon of its time. A space ship of an airport.

Airport Tegel Berlin plane take-off

Airport Tegel Berlin plane take-off

In cold war days Tegel Airport along with Tempelhof Airport was probably the most important connection of West-Berlin to… the rest of the West. In only ninety days the runway was built, connecting West-Berlin with West-Germany – and Great Britain, France, and the United States.

The wall came down, the two Germanys became one – Tegel suddenly became ‘too expesive’ and its closure was decided. A deal was made: a ‘central’ airport should be built outside Berlin under the condition, that all (two) inner city airports would be closed. But: the new airport still isn’t ready yet – Tegel is still in operation.

Happy Anniversary Tegel! Keep on operating! At least another 40 years!

Design Airport Tegel Berlin

Please feel free to look at some photos of Airport Berlin Tegel TXL at bilderbook ->
www.bilderbook.de/berlin/flughafen-tegel/

Berlin’s new major elected: Michael Müller

Last weekend the members of Berlin’s co-ruling party SPD (social democrats) elected Michael Müller as follower of Klaus Wowereit.

Wowereit had announced his resignation already in august 2014, leaving the question of who might follow completely unanswered. Three candidated were in the race, Michael Müller won with a majority of almost 60%.

Müller is well known in the political ‘szene’ of Berlin: beeing Berlin’s developement senator (beeing responsible for the city’s urban development and environment) he led the controversial project /debate around the future of the ‘great plain’ belonging to Berlin’s now closed airport Tempelhof.

please feel free to read on at TheLocal ->
www.thelocal.de/20141018/michael-mueller-elected-berlins-new-mayor