Berlin’s scorching summer is breaking records. Earlier this week the city experienced its hottest night ever, with a minimum of 25°C. The city’s trees are suffering, and residents are being asked to go out and water them. U-Bahns are getting noisier, as there’s no moisture to lubricate between the metal wheels and tracks. The drains are stinking, so the water authority is putting “drain deodorant” down the pipes. The pools are all at capacity. But Berlin has only 48 public drinking fountains to help citizens rehydrate.
A Berlin man who tried to become a police officer had his application rejected because he failed a drug test. A blood sample showed he had THC in his system. Undeterred, he took the matter to court, unsurprisingly rejected his case.
The S-Bahn is trialling automatic doors to improve punctuality. All doors will pop open at stations between Ostkreuz and Hauptbahnhof from 6am to 8am. Instead of 24 people pushing 24 buttons, one person pushes one button. Why haven’t they ever done this before?
This month the new home sharing regulations come into effect in Berlin. You’re now allowed to rent out up to 49% of your flat online, but first you have to get a registration number from the Bürgeramt and display it on the various rental portals.
A Berlin man who has been in a coma for four months has been identified because someone recognized a photograph of his house keys. The 74-year was found unconscious in a Wilmersdorf park after apparently having an accident while jogging in March, carrying only his keys. A police operation to test all the locks in the area failed. Publishing a photo of his keys worked. It seems Berliners prefer to memorize the grooves of their keys rather than look their neighbours in the eye.
The first of Berlin’s many bike sharing company has gone bust. O-bike has filed for bankruptcy in its home country Singapore. In some cities, the bikes have been sold to a collection company and are being taken from the streets. But it’s not clear what will happen to the 700 bikes left in Berlin. One bicycle activist has created a website called Librebike.info calling for people to liberate the left-behind bicycles by hacking the locks. Update: now Ofo has announced it will pull out of Berlin too!
The S-Bahn wants to improve punctuality by introducing express trains that skip a couple of stops on the Ring. Stations to be skipped are Halensee and Hohenzollerndamm in the south-west. A trial could start later this month. And a ticket checker has to pay €900 to a passenger in compensation for ripping up his partially invalid ticket.
This episode of Radio Spaetkauf was brought to you by RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.
Are you paying too much rent? Probably: 70% of Berlin landlords are illegally overcharging, says lawyer Daniel Halmer of WenigerMiete.de. He’s offering a no-win no-fee service to fight your landlord for a rent reduction. He’s helped people save up to €600 a month. Tricks landlords use include overstating apartment size by up to 30%. Everybody who has rented an apartment in the last three years could win a rent decrease.
Berlin could soon get public electric grills – thanks to a very unexpected source of money – East Germany’s stolen millions hidden in Swiss bank accounts. The DDR leaders stashed state money abroad as the socialist state collapsed. Now it’s coming back. The Mitte district wants to use it to put coin-operated grills in Monbijou Park. Maisie thinks it could be used for better purposes.
The Breitscheitplatz Christmas Market truck attack in 2016 might have been prevented if Berlin police weren’t so obsessed with trying to evict anarchist squatters. A Berlin parliamentary inquiry has heard that police monitoring the alleged truck attacker, Anis Amri, were called of his case in June 2016. They were instead reassigned to focus on left-wing squatters in Rigaer Straße in Friedrichshain, who were illegally evicted from their squat. Amri allegedly went on to join a terrorist cell, undetected. Former justice minister Frank Henkel’s ideologial war against hippies had serious consequences.
This episode was recorded live ahead of the Mobile Kino open air screening at Insel der Jugend. Hosts are Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.
KFC is standing by their actions. They say their managers were right to “act in the interest of our other guests.” We asked them how often the police have been called to evict other noisy customers. The answer: very rarely. You can read their full response to our questions (in German and English) here.
Why have so many kids started using the latest shared bike company Ofo? Is it because their system accidentally allows anonymous endless free rides? Perhaps they can all join in the ADFC cycle demo on June 3 through the center of the city.
This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.
What will it take to get Berliners to pickup trash – the offer of a free beer, perhaps? The Big Görlitzer Clean Up happens on July 7. Organizer Lubomila Jordanova from the group Plan A tells us how they plan to incentivize volunteer cleaners. Join the event here.
Empty flats in Neukölln? They do exist! Unfortunately they’re being left unavailable on purpose. Activists squatted several buildings to protest, but were promptly evicted. In some cases, flats are left empty by speculators who prefer to wait for prices to rise rather than rent to problematic tenants. This case involved a publicly-owned building left empty because of slow bureaucracy.
Dan’s search for a kindergarten for his child is going badly. It’s not all his fault – Berlin has a shortage of kita spots. Thousands of people protested against the kita crisis. Dan tells us the rumors he’s heard on the playground – parents offering to help kitas cheat the system to collect more fees from the government, for example.
This episode was recorded live at the Comedy Cafe Berlin on Sunday May 27. Hosts: Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.
Sick of cars parking in bike lanes? Write own parking tickets during Falschparker Aktionswoche, which starts on May 28. Illegal parkers are fined just €20 in Berlin if caught, while the EU average is €100. You can use an app called Wegeheld to report drivers to the authorities, if you don’t mind being called a Spießer.
Trees in Berlin parks are being wrapped in white webs by an invasion of oak processionary moth caterpillars. Watch out for their bristles – they contain a toxin which irritates the skin and causes respiratory problems. The trees should recover in a few weeks, though.
Karneval der Kulturen is on again this weekend all around Kreuzberg 61, but it might be the last year it’s held there due to rising security costs. If you don’t like crowds, try the Berlin Mural Festival, found on walls across the city.
Our next live show is on 6pm, Sunday May 27. We’re back at the Comedy Cafe Berlin.
This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.
A special live recording of the fourth and (maybe) last episodein our BER series. Join us for a tour of all four of Berlin’s under-construction, out-of-use, falling-apart and over-capacity airports. Each has had a part to play in the story of how Berlin fucked up an airport.
At BER, we hear the airport company’s side of the story: damn high regulations got in the way, they say. Tempelhof is closed, Tegel is operating precariously, and only socialist-built Schönefeld is muddling through. The end is in sight – October 2020. But even now Berlin is planning to double BER’s floorplan and build a new government terminal.
BER critic Dieter Faulenbach da Costa tells us the building is rotten to the core and should be scrapped. “I am convinced this airport can never open. They should pray for a miracle.”
We are joined on stage by Martin Delius, the former Pirate Party politician who led the Berlin parliamentary investigation into BER. Who was responsible for BER? All Berliners, he says. We ignored warning signs and re-elected incompetent politicians.
This episode was recorded live on stage at Prachtwerk Neukölln on Sunday April 29, with audio support from Craig Schüftan from Ducks.
How To Fuck Up An Airport is presented by Radio Spaetkauf and RadioEins.
Producer: Joel Dullroy
Presenters: Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern
Artwork: Jim Avignon
Chris Dercon has resigned from the Volksbuehne Theater, just six months into the job, and following a lot of fuss over his appointment. It seems he had failed to secure enough sponsorship money to pay the bills. Joel says he wasn’t given a fair chance. Konrad says he was always wrong for the job.
The AFD tried to shut down Berghain, complaining about the strange hours, sex and drugs, bad music and exclusive door policy. The AFD representative Sybille Schmidt used to run a punk club. The party later backed down from the proposal.
The U-Bahn network has a special alarm system in the case of a flash flood in the tunnels. It could have to be activated if a skyscraper being built on Alexanderplatz breaks the water table and floods 17 stations on the U2, U5 and U8 lines. Züruck schwimmen, bitte!
It’s garden season, but if you want a kleingarten plot on the edge of town you’ll have to wait three years. There are already 12,000 people on a waiting list for one of 70,000 gardens.
Two men who killed a goat in the Hasenheide petting zoo have been sentenced to 10 months in jail. Their lawyer said they were hungry, and argued for leniency as they only took one leg. Also, all meat eaters are animal killers, he said.
Another Berlin ban has been overturned by a court. Horses and carriages will be allowed back in front of the Brandenburger Tor, despite the city government’s attempt to forbid them. The city’s prohibitions on AirBnB, Uber and beer bikes have all been watered down through legal action.
Spreepark at Plänterwald is now open for tours. But high levels of arsenic contamination have been found at the formerly abandoned theme park. Still want to jump the fence?
As Berlin’s unemployment rate falls to half of its 2005 level, Mayor Michael Müller has proposed introducing a “solidarity basic income.” Unlike a real basic income, it would oblige recipients to do municipal or social work. Would creative projects like podcasts count?
If you want to protest against rising rents, join the Mietenwahnsinn (Rental Madness) demo on April 14 at 2pm, starting at Potsdamer Platz.
This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Joel Dullroy, and brought to you by RadioEins.