#154: Trash, racist crime, €49 tix, night trains
Want to become a German citizen? Don't hold your breath.
Hey there, 20 Percent,
Nothing about Berlin’s post-election coalition negotiations today, promise. Politicians are meeting behind closed doors. That’s it. We’ll tell you if something happens. Watch this space or follow us on Twitter for all the updates you’ll ever need.
I’ll start with something about Berlin that has always triggered me: rubbish.
Local parliamentarian Danny Freymark (CDU) asked the city’s environment department how much illegally dumped trash was collected last year. Meaning everything from matresses left on the pavement to pizza boxes left in parks. Here’s the answer (pdf)
First, in all of Berlin, some 40,000 metric tonnes were gathered in 2022. When it comes to districts, we have a clear winner: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, with 12,705 tonnes! Neukölln comes in at a respectable second at 8,904 tonnes.
Maybe it’s just me getting older, but for some reason I no longer find the mountains of garbage in the park on Sunday mornings charming or edgy. I’ve also given up trying to figure out what’s the real reason behind Berliners’ don’t-give-a-shit attitude.
It’s like the stupid tags on every building, 99.99% of which display zero artistic originality. Some landlords occasionally paint over the graffiti, hoping, in line with the “broken windows theory”, that this will discourage the taggers to repeat their ugly, pointless crimes. But that theory doesn’t apply to Berlin. Building owners usually give up painting over tags because it’s futile.
With the trash, I think the opposite might work: don’t clean up the parks for a fortnight this summer. Let people see and smell the consequences of their indifference. Maybe they’d change.
Sadly, the only realistic response to tags and trash is probably to shrug your shoulders and count your blessings that you don’t live in Munich.
Have a great day!
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Racist crime in Brandenburg
Depressing news from Brandenburg. The number of reported racially movtivated crimes in the state that surrounds Berlin rose sharply last year. Brandenburg police said 298 incidents, including 44 cases of bodily harm, were reported, up 40% over 2021. “Propaganda crimes” comprised 129 of the cases. This includes displaying illegal Nazi symbols and the like. In 67 cases, people were insulted, threatened or otherwise subjected to verbal abuse.
Night train to Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels…
Tickets for European Sleeper’s night train service to Brussels via Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp have gone on sale. The trains begin May 25. The service is being promoted as a way to get to London by night train, which is a little misleading: you still have change to the Eurostar in Brussels and buy a separate ticket for that final stretch. The trip to Saint Pancras will take about 16 hours. You can already get to London by train during the daytime in 10 and a half hours. Either way, flying is going to be cheaper, unfortunately.
Or just get a Deutschland ticket
For much less money, you can explore Germany to your heart’s desire this summer. You can now pre-order the €49-per-month Deutschland-Ticket (valid from May 1) at BVG, which is promoting the deal with the slogan “Bavaria’s now part of Berlin”. While the current €29-per-month subscription doesn’t get you beyond Berlin’s AB zone, the Deutschland-Ticket includes local and regional public transport across Deutschland. BVG claims it’s easy to switch from a BVG subscription to the new ticket and even has information in English.
Our Deutschland ticket costs nothing and mostly just gives you news from Berlin … and about the Deutschland ticket.
Volunteers from the non-profit group Spree:publik salvaged 25 e-scooters and several bicycles from the Spree river in central Berlin on Sunday, reports Berliner Zeitung. The scooters’ lithium batteries are especially toxic and polluting, said Spree:publik member Jan Ebel. Spree:publik is a collective of people with homemade boats that promotes using the river for the common good through culture and art — and fighting gentrification of Berlin’s waterways. That includes some interesting looking floating events. Here’s a video about them (in German).
Live in Berlin and thinking about applying for German citizenship? Don’t hold your breath. Right now, 21,725 applications (5,000 left over from 2021!) are clogging officials’ filing cabinets across the city and the Bezirksämter (district administrations) are struggling to keep up. There are two main reasons for this. 1. Lack of personnel. 2. Reponsibility for Einbürgerung is being shifted from district to state level, meaning we’re in a transition phase which will last through 2024, when a central, hopefully more efficient, office will take over.
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"Either way, flying is going to be cheaper, unfortunately." This is the tragedy of rail in Europe. It's simply unaffordable. Myself and all my friends would happily take trains to Paris, Amsterdam, London, Vienna, Budapest – pretty much anywhere on the continent – if it didn't cost 5x as much as a flight. I just checked the price of a sleeper train from Berlin to Brussels, a route I fly sometimes and take a train others, and it came to 209 euros. That's for a 15-hour journey in a dorm with six people and no possibility to cancel or change your booking. It's incomprehensible that travellers are priced into flying.
Hey what’s this bashing of F-Kreuzberg, how about trash per capita? :)
Jokes aside, you’re right, parts it’s education. I have seen some “Jungs” yesterday and one just dropped his empty chocolate paper on the floor.