Berlin’s North Korean Hostel

rs berlin podcast may 19 17

The official Berlin Mietspiegel rent index has been released. It shows average prices grew by 9.6% in the last two years, twice as much as during the previous review. The Mietspiegel determines how much landlords can charge.

The City Hostel in central Berlin has been ordered to shut down because of its ties to North Korea. The hostel is next door to the North Korean embassy, which since 2004 has rented out the building for €38,000 a month. The German Foreign Ministry has ordered the hostel to close or face fines for breaching UN sanctions. The hostel operator says they will fight the order and are still taking bookings.

Berlin S-Bahn ticket machines were caught in the global computer virus Wanna Cry. Many ticket machines across the city were malfunctioning for several days due to the malware. Passengers might not have noticed as S-Bahn machines are hard to use at the best of times.

A project to make the Spree swimmable is progressing. The Verein Flussbad is installing a 42-meter barge near Museuminsel to test a water filtration system. If all goes to plan, we could be swimming in the Spree by the year 2025.

Come along to our next live show on Sunday May 21 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. Doors open at 17.30, and entry is free.

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy and Maisie Hitchcock, and brought to you by RadioEins.

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Two Stars for May Day

dan juri may 3

This year’s May Day party/protest attracted 200,000 people to Kreuzberg 36, including 10,000 demonstrators and 5,000 police. But there were hardly any public toilets outside the official Myfest area. Where people supposed to pee?

Holding the door open on the S-Bahn can be injurious to your body and wallet. A young man was dragged 50 metres along the Brandenburger Tor train platform after sticking his hand in a closing door. He could also be fined or jailed.

A medical research project has applied to distribute marijuana to 25,000 Berliners to test its effects. The Forschungsinitiative Cannabis would give 30 grams of weed a month to each participant. Smokers ignorant about data privacy can register online. But the study probably won’t happen since its chief scientist recently quit as the study wasn’t scientific enough.

This episode was presented by Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.

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Please support us with a monthly donation!

RS Live: City Saves Kotti From Investors

RS Live April 23

The landmark Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum at Kottbusser Tor will be purchased by the Berlin city government, snatching it from the hands of private investors. NKZ – the giant 70s construction that bridges Adalbertstraße – will be bought by the city’s own housing company Gewobag for €56.5 million. It is the first major example of the government buying back large tracts of housing from the open market to balance property prices.

Why is the metal sculpture in front of the Volksbühne Theater about to disappear? Konrad Werner tells us about departing intendant Frank Carstoff’s decision to take the circular “Rad” with him when he begrudgingly departs. Listen to Konrad’s own podcast News des Nachrichtens:

Why do the escalators at Kottbusser Tor U-Bahn station run British style, with traffic on the left? Wouter Bernhardt talks about his discoveries on the U1 line. Listen to Wouter’s own podcast Walrus and the Bear:

Think you’re addicted to your smartphone? A group of Berlin activists wants to convince you to put down your Handy. We interview two members of Radikale Anti Smartphone Front:

Our friends at Mobile Kino are organizing the Berlin Film Nights series. Check it out at:

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and recorded on Sunday April 23 2017 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin.

Burglary at the Bürgeramt

Joel Dan Radio Spaetkauf

S-Bahn or U-Bahn? Take the U-Bahn if you like free Wi-Fi and fare evading. Figures from the Berlin Senat show the S-Bahn prosecuted over 35,000 repeat ticket cheaters in 2016, three times as many as the BVG. The S-Bahn checked 8.5 million passenger tickets, while the BVG only checked 5 million.

Don’t try it if you want a career in education. A young Berlin man has been denied a career as a teacher because his potential employer ran a police background check and found he had been caught riding public transport with a fake ticket. A labour court upheld the school’s decision.

After the spectacular gold coin robbery at the Bode Museum, here’s another break-in. On Easter Sunday police responded to an alarm at the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf Bürgeramt and caught two men in the building, while a third man escaped. Police said the burglars were trying to steal paper forms.

Barack Obama will be visiting Berlin and will give a public address at the Brandenburger Tor on May 25. He’ll be on stage with Angela Merkel at an event to mark the 500th anniversary since Martin Luther started the protestant reformation.

Our next live show is at 17.30 on Sunday April 23 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. Come along!

This episode was presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.

Tegel Gets A Referendum


Berliners will get to vote on whether to keep Tegel open after the campaign to save the airport collected enough signatures to trigger a referendum. But even if Berlin votes yes in September, it doesn’t mean that Tegel will actually stay open due to complicated legal reasons.

The past March was one of the warmest in recorded history, at an average temperature of 8 degrees. The winter was also unusually warm. Bee-keepers in Berlin and Brandenburg are reporting that 40% of their hives have died as a result, due to the growth of the varroa destructor parasite.

Want to take a ride on Berlin’s first cable car? Head along to the International Garten Ausstellung, opening in Marzahn on April 13. The 1.5km cable car will transport guests into the garden show, and is free to ride with a ticket to the IGA. It also gives a great view of the socialist Plattenbauten of East Berlin. More here:

This episode of Radio Spaetkauf was presented by Joel Dullroy and Maisie Hitchcock, and brought to you by RadioEins, Berlin’s public broadcaster.

Cafe Filou Stays – Investor Renews Contract

By Joel Dullroy, Radio Spaetkauf

Kreuzberg bakery Cafe Filou has been spared from eviction after the property’s owner agreed to renew the contract. British investor Charles Skinner told Radio Spaetkauf he had experienced a change of heart following talks with retiring Green party politician Hans-Christian Ströbele.

“In the end we saw reason, Mr. Skinner said. “A lot of mistakes have been made along the way, not just by us but from them, from everybody. I think there’s going to be a good coming together.”

Mr. Skinner said he would now work with Mr. Ströbele to create a fair commercial property contract to give business tenants an automatic renewal. While residential property leases in Berlin are well protected by law, commercial leases remain vulnerable.

“It’s not a financial thing, it’s a moral thing… I would like to design a different kind of contract for commercial properties whereby they get an automatic renewal rather than something that just goes down to zero, and people like me can just say ‘no’,” Mr. Skinner said.

Cafe Filou co-owner Nadja Wagner confirmed that they had received a verbal agreement from Mr. Skinner that the contract would be renewed. While the details are yet to be finalized, Ms. Wagner said she expected the rent to remain unchanged, and the contract to be valid for several years with extension options.

“We’re pleased with the outcome,” Ms. Wanger said. “It is only because of the support of the neighbourhood that we have been able to come so far.”

Mr. Skinner praised the role played by Clare D’Orsay, the operator of Vertikal restaurant, which sits next door to Cafe Filou on Reichenberger Straße, and is also Mr. Skinner’s tenant.

“She was relentless in getting us to keep the Cafe Filou operators,” Mr Skinner said.

Clare D’Orsay spoke on the latest Radio Spaetkauf podcast about the violence and vandalism she had experienced from misguided protesters who had targeted her business due to its proximity to Cafe Filou.

Ms. D’Orsay said she had been spat at, pushed to the ground and had her windows smashed by an organized group for being a foreigner opening a nice looking restaurant in Kreuzberg.

The 32-year old New Yorker moved to Berlin seven years ago and has run other businesses in the neighbourhood. She pointed out that Restaurant Vertikal did not displace any existing business, as the building was recently constructed on an empty corner lot.

Ms. Wagner from Cafe Filou said she hoped the attacks against Vertikal would cease, and that the restaurant would be integrated into the community.

Listen to the full Radio Spaetkauf podcast to hear more:

RS Live: The Ugly Side of Anti-Gentrification

Restauranteur Clare D’Orsay is a victim of anti-gentrification violence. She has been unfairly targeted by protesters angry about the planned eviction of Cafe Filou in Kreuzberg. Her restaurant Vertikal is next door, but has nothing to do with the eviction. On this show Clare talks about the attacks against her business at the hands of misguided protesters.
Clare says she’s been spat at, pushed to the ground and had her windows smashed by an organized group for being a foreigner opening a nice looking restaurant.

Investors Charles Skinner also joined the show to announce he’s reached an agreement with Cafe Filou and will allow them to stay. Mr. Skinner said he decided to renew the contract after appeals from Green party politician Hans-Christian Ströbele and Ms. D’Orsay. “In the end we saw reason,” Mr. Skinner said.

Maisie is one of 480 British citizens trying to apply for a German passport to ensure she can stay after Brexit. Unsurprisingly she’s run into bureaucratic hurdles. Mark Whiley from Forward Britain joined the show to talk about what despairing Brits can do to create political pressure back home to try to mitigate the effect of Brexit. Visit

This show was recorded live at Comedy Cafe Berlin on Sunday March 19 2017, and was hosted by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.

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Child of the Poster Child

Hang on to your wallet on the U6 and U8. Crime stats show they’re the hottest U-Bahn lines for pickpockets. While wallet theft is up, crime rates in Berlin have remained stable – not bad, since the city is growing.

Bicycle activists have long complained that Berlin’s €10 parking fines are too cheap. Now a study has found it costs the city €10.38 to process a parking ticket. Should the city charge more, or give up issuing fines?

Strikes are continuing at Berlin airports, where workers are demanding an immediate €1 pay rise per hour, while ground service companies are offering €0.27 a year over three years. Ryanair has escalated the situation by flying in a plane load of Irish strike breakers.

Hear more about drama at the BER airport at our next live show at 5.30pm, Sunday March 19 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln.

This episode was hosted by Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern, and presented by RadioEins.

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.

Citizen’s Arrest? Not on the U8

Ever wanted to make a citizen’s arrest? Don’t try it in Berlin. A local politician attempted to rally an U-Bahn carriage to help detain an alleged pickpocket, but was ignored by his fellow U8 passengers.

New fatter U-Bahn carriages are now being rolled out on some lines. The new model type is nicknamed the “Icke.” That name has nothing to do with David Icke, the conspiracy theorist whose speaking event was recently cancelled by Berlin’s Maritim Hotel, which has declared itself politically neutral.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by RadioEins.

RS Live: Taskforce Acceleration

RS Live Feb 19

How to make Berlin’s buses run faster? The city has set up a taskforce to come up with ideas. One of them is to allow passengers to board on the rear doors to save time. The BVG doesn’t like the plan. Our own Dan Stern has a few suggestions for the taskforce, one involving the to-be-constructed Wippe see-saw monument.

Two major transport tunnel projects are delayed due to groundwater flooding – no surprise, since Berlin is built on a swamp. The S21 connection between Gesundbrunnen and Hauptbahnhof, and the U5 extension under Museuminsel are both experiencing water problems. Again, Dan has a suggestion – an underground ferry system.

Berlin’s latest anti-gentrification protest is against the eviction of Cafe Filou, a French bakery in Kreuzberg being kicked out by British investors who don’t like the croissants. Could more of these kinds of investors be on their way to Berlin with the planned relocation of Lloyd’s bank to the German capital?

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This live show was presented by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern. Recorded live at Comedy Cafe Berlin on Sunday Feb 19, 2017.

Subscribe to Radio Spaetkauf on iTunes.