RS Lockdown: Park Police

Put that picnic blanket away, and don’t dare drink a beer in the park. Berlin’s signature freedoms are being restricted. How far is too far? Should you cancel your gym membership, or keep paying to help businesses survive? And Tegel Airport may soon fall victim to the virus crisis.

Berlin police are busy patrolling parks and shutting down candlelit dinners in ‘spreadeasies.’ We debate the morality of flouting the rules for a bit of fun.

Are you tech-savvy and want to help build community solutions for the crisis? Dan interviews Victoria Boeck from Hack The Crisis. You can sign up or suggest a solution here:

Berlin freelancers and small business owners suffering financially can now apply for various grants and loans.
Here’s where you apply for the Corona Zuschuss:
Here’s how you apply for ALG 2 (Hartz IV):
Schreiben und Lernen have posted a helpful podcast in English about help for freelancers:

This episode was presented by Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy, Daniel Stern and Maisie Hitchcock.

RS Mini: Time Capsule

This mini episode of Radio Spaetkauf features an interview with Chad Matheny aka Emperor X of Neukölln music venue Donau115.

A few Berlin news updates with Daniel Stern: Berlin is quiet as new restrictions limit gatherings and movement. Districts are offering financial support to residents who are helping their neighbors. Schools and daycares remain closed but some workers are entitled to childcare.

Connect to Donau115 at
Find Chad’s music at

RS Lockdown: Streaming Fomo

How are we going to survive this month of Sundays? Berlin freelancers are being promised €5000 cash, but who can get it and how? Rent payments could be delayed so we can stay in our flats and keep our shops. And… what good changes have come from our time under lockdown?

Keen to maintain their distance from one another, Radio Spaetkauf’s Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern- in Berlin- and Maisie Hitchcock – in the UK- linked up remotely using the wonders of modern technology.

The lockdown has expanded: restaurants and cafes can no longer open their doors, but supermarkets can, even on Sundays. Although they don’t actually seem to want to. More radically, Spätkaufs have finally received legal permission to open on Sundays!

Sick of staying indoors? You might have to get used to it. Gatherings of more than 2 people are now forbidden, unless you’re a family. But Berlin’s Mayor Michael Müller doesn’t want to bring in a total lockdown. His coalition partners the Greens and Die Linke are also wary of restricting everyone to their apartments. The Berlin CDU is calling for a 21 day total lockdown.

Morality over science? Reports about so-called corona parties are getting old folks worked up into a moral panic. But are young people really to blame? Joel makes a case for defending the young, who have sacrificed their liberty and opportunities during the crisis, in order to protect the old.

Self-employed or freelance and wondering how you’re going to survive? Help is at hand: the German government has announced a plan for an aid package for the self-employed and other small companies in the Corona crisis. We talk about some of the options on the table, as well as extending tax deadlines, options for KSK members , and applying for good old-fashioned Hartz IV welfare. Here’s a good explanation of how to get it:

No earnings, means that both tenants and landlords with mortgages will be struggling. Luckily there’s the rent delay law, and a proposed mortgage holiday for landlords. And we also talk help for those who aren’t lucky enough to have a roof over their heads.

Good news! Last show’s guest, Ben Maclean is negative! He’s still in quarantine though…

  • Some recommendations for home entertainment: Dj sets at
  • For eclectic sets from international Berlin-based DJs & former members of the Scrufix collective, follow
  • The Sameheads pub quiz: March 30th – on the Sameheads website and Facebook
  • One venue that is streaming performances is Donau 115, a little experimental jazz bar on Donaustraße in Neukölln.

Worried about your health? Call the Berlin Corona Hotline: 030 90 28 28 28. Don’t go out seeking a test.

Support us with a donation!

RS Lockdown: Clean Your Windows

“The time for partying is over,” Berlin’s health senator Dilek Kalayci said, announcing the shut down of the city. Berlin’s government has enacted the widest restriction of liberties since the war as it struggles to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

Hosts Daniel Stern, Joel Dullroy and Jöran Mandik record an unscheduled episode in an empty room. Our correspondent in Maisie Hitchcock joins us via Skype to tell us about pre-lockdown England.

Noah Telson from the Comedy Cafe Berlin tells us about shutting down his business for a month. What’s life like in quarantine in Berlin? We talk via Skype with comedian Ben Maclean.

Worried about your health? Call the Berlin Corona Hotline: 030 90 28 28 28. Don’t go out seeking a test.

Support us with a donation!

Rent Freeze #2: Magic Words

Berlin’s rent freeze has begun, but nobody seems to know what’s going on. Landlords and tenants alike are confused about what to do next. Rents are now capped at the rate paid in June 2019 – all increases since then are invalid. New contracts can’t exceed about €9.80 a square meter – half as much as many advertised prices. And landlords face fines of half a million euros for cheating.

On this episode we go inside Berlin’s parliament to hear the moment the rent freeze law was passed. Supporters and opponents gave fiery speeches in a rowdy session, which ended with politicians voting to suspend the free market for rental property for five years.

We hear what landlords think about the new law. Some are devising ways to cheat – by renting to ignorant foreigners: “Those who screw their landlords are old Germans.” Despite the threat of huge fines, some don’t think the city has the resources to prosecute them.

And what should tenants do if they hope for a rent decrease? Lawyer Daniel Halmer from says they should start adding three magic words to their rent transfers: “Zahlung unter Vorbehalt.” It means paid with reservations, and gives tenants the right to to try to claim back overpayments at a later date.

Rent Freeze is produced and presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Artwork by Jim Avignon. Music by Tom Evans and Ducks!. Recorded by Stephan Lindner. Rent Freeze is a production of Radio Spaetkauf and RadioEins.

RS Live: Library Darkroom Secrets

Berlin’s favourite free coworking space also has books. We meet Juliana Pranke from the ZLB, Berlin’s central library. She tells us the secrets of the Bibliothek: You can borrow art to hang on your wall, digitize vinyl and stream films online. Why don’t you have a library card already?!

The revolutionary Mietendeckel has started. It applies to all tenants, even subletters in WGs. Find out more on our spin-off podcast Rent Freeze. The next episode is landing soon.

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller says he’ll quit before the next election. Joel reviews his political flops: the Tempelhofer Feld building plan, the Olympic Games bid and his opposition to the rent freeze.

It’s Berlinale time, but there’s another important film festival coming up: Berlin Feminist Film Week. We meet founder Karin Fornander, who says we should stop giving the Academy Awards such importance: it’s decided by a jury of mostly old white men.

In the wake of the terrible Hanau racist attack, Dan Stern gives an emotional acknowledgement that our show doesn’t do enough to reflect racial diversity, and that most Berlin expats live in a mostly white bubble. We pledge to try to expand our racial inclusivity.

Thanks to Tom Evans for sound engineering, and Comedy Cafe Berlin for hosting our show.
Hosts: Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.
Support us with a donation!

Rent Freeze #1: The Experiment

Radio Spaetkauf Presents: Rent Freeze #1: The Experiment

What happens when an entire city of 3.5 million residents stops paying rent increases for the next five years? Welcome to Rent Freeze, a podcast about Berlin’s rental revolution.

Berlin is about to introduce the Mietendeckel, a law that will freeze rents for five years, cap new rental contracts at a maximum price, and allow some tenants to claim a rent reduction. Supporters say it will be the best thing to happen to the city since the fall of the Wall

But investors and landlords are outraged. They say the reforms will scare off businesses, leave houses unbuilt and in disrepair, and feed a grey market for off-the-books rental as desperate Berliners try to find a flat.

On this episode we explain the basics of the law, and talk to Daniel Halmer of about why the existing rent controls haven’t worked.

Produced and presented by Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern. Artwork by Jim Avignon. Music by Tom Evans and Ducks!. Recorded by Stefan Lindner.
Rent Freeze is a production of Radio Spaetkauf and RadioEins.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts here.

RS Live: Everything Is Closing

Some of Berlin’s most infamous nightclubs are closing as investors cash in on their properties. Grießmühle is almost gone, and KitKatClub may be forced out by the summer. What’s different about this round of club closures? And what could the city do to save its culture?

In Berlin’s monocultural housing estates, some kids never meet people of other religions. Shalom Rollberg changes that by offering after-school activities, taught by Jewish volunteers. We meet founder Yonatan Weizman. He says the program should be expanded from Muslim to German neighbourhoods to fully tackle antisemitism. You can help out here:

Konrad Werner joins us to talk about racist street names in Berlin. Konrad is the co-host of Megan’s Megacan, a weekly show about German news:

Anyone else annoyed by bad English grammar on advertising? Companies spend thousands on billboard ads that seem to be computer translated. We critique the latest offensive example from a website offering AI-based flatmate matching. Hopefully their code is better than their copy.

Berlin’s rent freeze is coming, and so is our new spin-off series about this radical new housing policy. The first episode of Rent Freeze will appear in your podcast feed shortly!

Thanks to Tom Evans for sound engineering, and Comedy Cafe Berlin for hosting our show.
Hosts: Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.
Support us with a donation!

RS Xmas Market Special at Gendarmenmarkt

Maisie, Dan and Joel meet at Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market to catch up on the news.

Berlin’s advertising boards are full of complaints by companies against the city government. Airbnb is demanding that bureaucracy more efficiently approve its hosts’ applications. Do they expect citizens to care?

The revolutionary rent freeze law has been passed, meaning our rents can’t be increased for the next five years. Investors continue to buy up property. The SPD’s new leftish national leadership wants to copy Berlin’s law in other German cities.

Pedestrian deaths are up a lot this year: 23 people have died so far after being hit by cars – a 60% increase. The local Green party has made it one of its policies to phase cars out of the inner city. Friedrichstrasse will go car-free for three months next summer.

Berlin is finally starting to control the fireworks madness on New Year’s Eve. Want some peace and quiet this Silvester? Go to Alexanderplatz, which is one of only two places where fireworks have been officially banned.

Want a Christmas tree but don’t want to kill a living entity? You can rent a living tree for €20, and get €10 back if you return it in good condition.

See you next year for our live recording on January 26 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin!


RS Live: Benches, Bees & Berlin Pinball

Have you ever wished you could rest your rear on a comfy spot, but there isn’t a seat anywhere in sight? Or do you sometimes want to perch on a bench in a picturesque location, but the overflowing dustbin next to it is a bit off putting? Well now help is at hand. We speak to two creatives who are behind a pretty unusual Guerilla urbanism project: Benching Berlin. The two anonymous founders build public benches out of waste wood, then place them around town (chained up, so the authorities don’t take them away).

On our last episode we gave you an update on the proposed rent freeze – the idea of a five year rent cap in Berlin, that was first floated in June this year. Now finally the coalition parties of Berlin’s government have come to an agreement! We tell you what they’ve decided.

Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem. And they’re threatened by extinction. We speak to Christian Vogel of the Neukölln Beekeeper Association to help us help the bees and to give everyone a head start for the next bee season.

What do you know about pinball? Not a lot? We don’t either. But it turns out there’s a scene for it in Berlin – and a big rivalry too! Ryan Rosell is telling us about it.

This episode was presented by Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.

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