#136: Benin bronzes, aquarium, Tesla, posh pad
Our X-mas party
Hey 20 Percent Readers,
I know, a lot of you have headed or are heading to other lands and continents for the holidays, but I also know there are stragglers out there remaining in Berlin by choice or familial duty or for lack of elsewhere to go. For you, we offer a gathering of holiday cheer and a chance to meet the 20 Percent Berlin community: OUR 1ST OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY.
All we want for Christmas is: you … to join Andrew and myself in the basement of It’s a Bar on Spreewaldplatz in Kreuzberg, this Thursday, December 22, from 8pm. Wham! is forbidden.
Patreons get a drink on us… and we might even do a Christmas quiz with a chance to win merch!
See you there,
💚Special Christmas thanks to our oldest and most loyal sponsor, Berlin’s all-green, all-digital energy utility Ostrom💚
Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, December 20
New cases in one day: 1,662 (2,499 Friday)
Total deaths: 5,201 (+25 over Friday)
➡️ 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 266.2 (240.1 Friday)
➡️ 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 20.5 (19.6 Friday)
➡️ Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 4.6% (5.8% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
🐦We’re on Twitter AND Mastadon.🐘
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock (Grüne) is in the Nigerian capital Abuja today — to return 20 Benin Bronzes that had previously been part of the collections of museums in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Dresden, Leipzig und Stuttgart. Most of the artworks were looted by the British in 1897 then later sold to Germany. Many of the Benin treasures, though now officially property of Nigeria, will remain on loan in German museums. DW has the background.
At the beginning of the month, Wired reported that the Brandenburg gigafactory was understaffed and struggling to find workers. Only 7,000 people were on the payroll, according to the article. A new piece in Tagesspiegel tells another story: the factory actually employs 8,500 (including 500 formerly long-term unemployed people) and will be switching to an around-the-clock, three-shift schedule in January. Nonetheless, Tagesspiegel also writes that workforce morale is low and that conditions are exploitative, citing “insiders”. Meanwhile, Brandenburg state prosecutors are investigating the alleged unauthorised storage of toxic substances in a temporary facility at the plant.
About that aquarium….
Two injured people, 1,500 dead fish (but 650 rescued), a trashed hotel, damage to the DDR Museum in the same building, another international embarrassment for Berlin: the “largest free-standing cylindrical aquarium in the world” is no more. TV channel WDR dug up footage in which Michael Jessing, the architect responsible for the construction, claims the thing could even resist gunfire. Bullets might create a few holes, but not cause the whole thing to burst. “Hollywood-like scenes” unthinkable. A few politicians have made noise about maybe reconsidering the Coral World private aquarium being built in Rummelsburger Bucht, which doesn’t seem like something Berlin needs, but it’s little more than posturing.
Germany’s most expensive flat…
… is in Charlottenburg, where €8.9m gets you a 437sqm, 8-room Altbau with a roof terrace, according to Immowelt’s yearly ranking.
…homelessness is worse than ever this winter, according to taz, with shelters overflowing due to the freezing weather and charities struggling thanks to staff shortages. Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe has info in English on how you can volunteer by helping cook and distribute warm food to homeless people — or just donate money.
⭐⭐⭐Check out our event partner!⭐⭐⭐
Do you love live comedy?
Come see Crazy Stupid Berlin, an English comedy show that celebrates the crazy, stupid side of love with laughter and advice. Comedians will help you laugh through your problems with some great jokes—and maybe even solve them along the way.
Icy streets… not so icy lakes
Meteorologists say we’re in for a thaw over the next few days. As temps hover just above zero, streets and sidewalks can remain treacherous thanks to the cold ground and falling sleet. Police warn that Berliners should stay away from frozen lakes as the ice gets thinner. No white Christmas is expected. 😪
Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, i.e. the legendary Ufa film studio, was founded in Berlin 105 years ago on December 18, 1917. The state-controlled conglomeration of private film companies was initially formed to counteract Allied film propaganda during the First World War. By the 1920s, UFA was producing the lion’s share of German movies — with classics such as director Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and The Blue Angel (1930) starring Marlene Dietrich. From 1933, Jewish employees lost their jobs, and UFA was charged with producing Nazi propaganda.
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Head to Ostrom.de to sign up in five minutes—they'll handle all the admin. Their support team will deal with your ex-provider and ensure your lights stay on throughout the entire switching process, you don't have to lift a finger.
Use code 20PERC3NT5 to get a €35 bonus when signing up, after which you'll get a personal referral code to share, meaning another €35 bonus each time someone uses it!