Berlin Weather: August-Autumn vs September-Summer

Currently Berlin Weather seems to behave a bit weird: it’s still August, but the temperatures are hardly climbing above the 20°C mark (which would be 68°F). And the trees actually seems to loose their leaves already. So is this still summer? Or is it already Autumn? Autumn in August? Please not. It’s not really cold – but it’s not warm either. It doesn’t feel like Summer at the moment.

Berlin Weather: autumn leaves in August 2015

Autumn in August: leaves covering the lawn at Zionskirchplatz – Photo: nuBerlin.com

Good news / not so good news: it’s not Autumn yet – and the leaves probably ‘just’ fell off the trees because the past months were just way to dry. And it seems that another ‘heat wave’ is just ahead of us: the weather report is promising whooping 33°C already this weekend, topped by 34°C on Monday. For the Fahrenheit aware folks: that would be some 91°F – 93°F on Sunday / Monday. And the sun is actually supposed to come out already this afternoon.

So far the forecast says this ‘heat wave’ will only stay for couple of days – next week temperatures will go down again towards the 20°C mark. But – you never know.

So – chances are, we have another Summer Weekend ahead of us – and all the summer activities should once again be possible. Whether you prefer hanging by a lake or grilling in the park – this weekend should be a good one for such activities. Time to leave the August-Autumn behind and hope for a September-Summer.

Top 17 Home Countries of Berlin Visitors

Roaming across Berlin City you may have noticed, that there are quite some tourists visiting Berlin in the summer. And you may have asked yourself “So where are all the tourists actually coming from?” Spoiler: the top 3 home countries are Germany, USA and the UK.

The Berlin office for statistics (Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg) actually knows quite well, where Berlin’s visitors are coming from. And recently they released a data report on the actual numbers of people that stayed at Berlin hotels and hostels in June.

I flipped through the numbers and decided to take only the data for countries with a five digit number of visitors. I also added the change compared to June 2014. What I find most interesting here is that tourist numbers for tourists coming from Germany and directly neighbors France, Denmark, Poland and The Netherlands are actually declining while the total average is up more than 4%.

So – here’s the Top 17 Home Countries for June 2015:

Origin: Number: Change:
Germany 672.380 -2.8%
United States of America USA 52.325 +21.9%
United Kingdom UK 50.159 +13.9%
Spain 28.658 +58.7%
Italy 23.340 +25.6%
Switzerland 21.841 +10.4%
Netherlands 20.188 -4.6%
France 16.992 -8.4%
Sweden 15.055 +14.5%
China and Hong Kong 13.932 +60%
Poland 13.253 -5.1%
Austria 13.198 +0.2%
Russia 12.860 +2.2%
Denmark 12.550 -5.1%
Israel 11.713 +13.1%
Australia and New Zealand 11.161 +5.6%
other countries 138.517
total 1.128.122 +4.3%

Data: CC BY Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg

And where are you from?
Please feel free to leave a comment…

Violence and Mugging at Berlin’s nightlife hotspot RAW

Last weekend was a bad weekend for Berlin’s bubbling nightlife and clubbing area known as the RAW area near Warschauer Brücke / Revaler Strasse in Berlin Friedrichshain. Two violent attacks made it to the headlines of Berlin’s news.

What had happened? First two dutch tourists were attacked and robbed – and only shortly after another night crawler was attacked and robbed violently in a quite similar manner.

RAW-Area Berlin-Friedrichshain Entrance Revaler Str Tor1

RAW-Area Berlin-Friedrichshain, entrance at Revaler Strasse – Photo by Mikado59 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Both attacks followed a similar pattern: first a wallet was ‘almost’ stolen. On the victims fighting back the attackers called for reinforcements and things got out of hand.

The two dutch guests were beaten up badly by a group of around fifteen people. One of Dutchmen’s wallet got stolen and the group of attackers vanished. After the fight the two suffered “significant facial and head injuries” (Telegraaf) and had to be treated in hospital.

Also the other attack ended in hospital: after the victim fought back he was attacked with a knife by a partner of the original attacker. He had to be hospitalized with an almost fatal cut on his throat.

As far as I know in a first statement to the press Berlin police didn’t see any connection between the two cases. At least Berlin police didn’t see any signs of organized crime here. Maybe it’s then un-organized crime?! Anyways. In a facebook posting Berlin’s police now has released a list of tips for Berlin party crawlers. I’ll try to translate some of the details of that statement:

  • When you’re going out, leave valuable things you don’t necessarily need at home – such as jewellery, watches etc. Other valuable things like mobile phones and money should be kept close to the body. Money can be hidden in pockets, socks and shoes.
  • When you’re approached ‘strangely’ by somebody you don’t know ask your friend if they know him/her in a loud voice. Chances are that the person will refrain from … whatever he/she intended to do.
  • When you realize that somebody has just taken something from you, speak out loudly what just happened. Try to attract the attention of your friends or bystanders – a group is less vulnerable or ‘attackable’ than a single person. Try to get a door keeper’s or bar keeper’s attention.
  • Don’t try to hinder the mugger by force. No thing is as valuable as your health.
  • Do not provoke the muggers. most likely they are prepared for such a situation, while you are not. Do not try to use ‘things’ as a weapon – the attackers may have weapons with them.
  • Try to escape the situation as quick as possible. Run!
  • Contact the police as soon as possible. Only if the police knows of such incidents they can do something about it so that you can go partying safely.

see also:

 

7 Historical Photos of the Berlin Wall 1961 – 1989

Today 54 years ago people of Berlin woke up in a divided city. In the early morning hours East German border police had secured the border line between the East and West Berlin sector and workers had begun zu build the actual wall.

I took the opportunity to update the Berlin Wall page of nuBerlin – and to look for some historical photos. Here is a selection of what I found:

Berlin Wall was built 1961

border patrol securing Brandenburg Gate when the Berlin Wall was built on 13 August 1961 – photo by Steffen Rehm (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John F. Kennedy at the Berlin Wall / Wall Brandenburg Gate, 1963

John F. Kennedy at the Berlin Wall / Wall Brandenburg Gate, 1963 – Photo by Robert Knudsen, White House, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Berlin Wall Potsdamer Platz 1975 looking east

Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz, 1975 looking south-east towards Kreuzberg / Stresemannstrasse – Photo by Edward Valachovic [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Berlin Wall Art: graffiti in Kreuzberg

Berlin Wall Art: Graffiti and paintings on the Berlin Wall in Berlin-Kreuzberg, Bethaniendamm – photo: Thiery Noir, 1986 – CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Berlin Wall Potsdamer Platz 1986

Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz, looking down Pariser Platz / Leipziger Strasse, 1986 – Photo by Nancy Wong [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ronald Reagan Berlin Wall Speach

Ronald Reagan giving a speach at the Brandenburg Gate / Berlin Wall, 1987 – Photo by White House Photographic Office (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, ID C41244-9.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fall of the Berlin Wall Berlin Brandenburg Gate

Fall of the Wall: A crane removes a part of the Berlin Wall near Brandenburg Gate, Berlin-Mitte – Photo by SSGT F. Lee Corkran CORKRAN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

related pages:

BVG testing free WiFi in subway station

Berlin’s public transport provider BVG is currently testing free internet access in Wedding’s subway station Osloer Strasse (U8 / U9). Until the end of October everybody on that station can simply login into BVG’s hotspot “BVG Wi-Fi” and use their internet connection free of charge.

BVG is hoping to gather information about the practicability of such free WiFi hotspot in subway stations. How will the network react, when a train enters the station and literally hundreds of users login to the same hotspot? Will people even use the free service – or are people too suspicious about the network’s security? Will the subway station be more frequented / will more people be using the U-Bahn because of the free WiFi hotspot?

Of course BVG could also do a research on how other European cities and other public transport operators are handling free WiFi hotspots – probably they have already. Here’s just a quick look at three other European capitals:

  • London’s tube is offering free Wifi in about 150 stations in cooperation with other major partners. So you have to be a (registered) of one of those partners to access one of the hotspots.
  • Finland’s capital Helsinki basically offers free all across the city: “The city of Helsinki offers a free WLAN-service for residents and travelers alike. No passwords or registration required. Just look for “Helsinki City Open WLAN” from the available networks.” (visithelsinki.fi) As far as I know WLAN is also accessible in various buses, trams and at tram- and bus stops. And it’s fast.
  • Also Estonia’s capital Tallin offers free internet access to residents and visitors – and has been offering for about ten years now: “Tallinn city provides free wifi to its citizens and visitors in 30 different hotspots around the city (not including city libraries and schools). It is free to use and has been so since it started in 2005.” (www.visitestonia.com)

My honest opinion: I would strongly suggest it’s about time that Berlin also offers free internet access to residents and visitors. The BVG-Test is a step in the right direction – but instead of testing free WiFi hotspots in just one station, BVG staff and the City Council should probably take a weekend trip to some other European capital and then finally start installing hotspots across the city.

Photo Exhibition: International Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC)

The International Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC) is probably one of the most important post-war buildings of West-Berlin. The building is a gem of architecture of the seventies, a design icon of international importance.

Currently the ICC is closed for renovation. But luckily enough the Berlin parliament decided for its renovation  not for its demolition. In the past coulpe of years there had been quite a discussion – and some politicians probably would have wanted the ICC torn down and replaced.

Since it is currently not possible to visit the ICC, I would recommend you visit the photo exhibition instead, that is on display at “Lichthof der Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt” (Am Köllnischen Park 3, 10179 Berlin). You may get an impression of the scale and importance of this particular piece of Berlin architecture.

Photo Exhibition International Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC)

Photos by Claus Rottenbacher (see also: clausrottenbacher.de/icc.html)
31 July –  24. August 2015
Lichthof der Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt,
Am Köllnischen Park 3, 10179 Berlin
Free admission

Berlin ICC: Saal 6 © Claus Rottenbacher

ICC Berlin: Saal 6 © Claus Rottenbacher

Design-Details Kiosk inside ICC  © Claus Rottenbacher

ICC: Kiosk © Claus Rottenbacher

Further details in German:
www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/aktuell/kalender/kalender_detail.php?id=4234

10 things you can do in Berlin – but should you?!

I recently stumbled across an article published already last summer, featuring the catchy headline “10 things you can do in Berlin, but not in the US“. The article listed ten things, the author wants to make you believe ‘you can do in Berlin’. I had a closer look at those ten things ‘you can do’ and I must say I’m a bit concerned. Is this the picture people have of Berlin? Is this, what tourists think of Europe? Is this, why so many people choose to travel to Berlin? I hope not.

I know – publishing business is difficult. Listicles do ‘click well’. And the more provocative an article is, the better the chances are, that the article can ‘go viral’. But still: the article is really bothering me. Not that I think, the article would not tell the truth – which in some parts it does, in other parts it doesn’t. But only because you can do something, does it mean you should?

I know – the author of the article “10 things you can do in Berlin, but not in the US” probably does not really want to encourage the reader to do all those things, while in Berlin. I suppose the article was originally written rather out of curiosity – and I must admit I think I do understand the original purpose and I share the curiosity for differences between cultures, habits, laws. There are even some things missing: drinking in public is listed. But for example smoking in bars is missing. Anyways. In the end I probably had a very similar motivation, when I started this ‘Berlin guide’ nuberlin.com:  to simply point out, what you can do, when you’re in Berlin – and how things are done in Berlin in general. And what the local habits are. And – well. So far so good.

I really don’t want to be a ‘Spaßbremse‘ when I quickly go through the list, adding my opinion to each of the “things you can do”. I just have to add my ‘five cents’ (“my mustard“) and point out, what I think of each point. Hope you enjoy it still.

1. “Drinking in public”

Well – yes. Of course you can drink in public in Berlin. But please consider not getting drunk in public. Or at least try to behave. I even put up a hole page about this, because I think it’s quite an important subject: Drinking in Public

2. “Urinate outdoors”

What?! Well. Ok – compared to the US, maybe this is something, you can do – but should you?! I mean – would you really like the idea, of… Anyways. If it is really necessary, you may of course try to find a spot – behind a tree, in the bushes – but… Please try to avoid urinating in public. And by the way: urinating in public is not allowed in Germany! In some cities, you’ll risk a fine up to 5000 Euro! In Berlin however it’s only 20 Euro, as far as I know.

3. “Buy sex on the streets”

Excuse me?! Well. Ok – again I can just say: compared to the US, maybe this is something, you actually can do – but should you?! I don’t really want to go into details – but to me it just sounds so wrong. And it appears to me even worse to point this out in such an article in an encouraging way. Basically I find it good, that ‘sex workers’ are not criminalized for their job in Germany – but there is just so much more to this topic than just “legal vs. illegal”. There is a lot of human trafficking in Europe, young girls are promised ‘model careers’, passports are taken away, girls do risk their health for a ‘better’ life, etc. …

4. “Be naked… anywhere”

Again: What?! “Anywhere”?! Don’t! Well – again: compared to the US, the situation here probably is quite relaxed. But what does the author want to say by pointing out that “everyone is swimming naked, including entire families with kids”?! Of course, there are actually some spots, where people do go swimming naked. But when you are actually visiting Berlin please try to spot one naked person – it may be quite difficult.

5. “Reach countless other countries by train”

Yes, this is so true, especially ever since the Berlin Wall came down. You can basically book a train ticket to every and any European, or even Asian destination.

 6. “Stay a student until your mid-30s without shame or judgment”

Well – true. Somehow. But without shame of judgment? I’m not so sure…

7. “Drive at 150 on a public road, legally”

Yep. Or let’s put it this way: there are still parts of the German Autobahn where you have no speed limit – but not in Berlin anymore. On some days, if there is not so much traffic and the weather conditions are fine, on these parts of the Autobahn you may actually go “as fast as possible”. But again: should you? I actually have to admit I do enjoy it myself from time to time. But please remember: driving f***ing fast it is f***ing dangerous!!

 8. “Get a massage courtesy of your health insurance”

Well – if the doctor decides, that a massage would help, then you’ll get a massage. And depending on the health insurance contract you won’t have to pay for it. Of course!

9. “Evacuate due to bomb threats… from unexploded WWII bombs”

OMG yes. This is actually probably kind of unbelievable: about 60 years after the heavy bombings there are still bombs hidden underneath the city. And every now and then streets are closed, houses are evacuated, bombs are removed. Scary.

10. “Ride public transportation for free”

This is a good one. You could also claim, that you could have free lunch – if you just ate and run. But as we all know: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!

Please feel free to head over to thrillist.com and read the original article “10 things you can do in Berlin, but not in the US