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#176: BER paint attack, car-sharing, Russian flag ban, open-air Kinos
A show about 17th-century UFOs
Hello 20 Percent,
Nearly 80 years after the end of the Second World War some Berliners are still bickering over how to commemorate the downfall of the Third Reich — specifically whether or not Russian or Soviet flags are in Ordnung at such events — a debate triggered by the savage war that Russia is waging on Ukraine.
On Monday, people gathered at the city’s three Soviet War memorials in Treptower Park, Pankow and Buch to mark the end of the war. Some are going today because Russia commemorates the victory over Hitler on May 9.
Fearing tensions between the two communities, police tried to ban both Russian and Ukrainian flags at memorial events, but the courts ended up ruling Monday that Ukrainian flags could be displayed while Russian (and Soviet) flags couldn’t.
On Monday, rookie mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) and Ukraine’s Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev visited the Neue Wache on Unter den Linden, Germany’s “central memorial” for the victims of World War II.
“Putin's invasion of Ukraine has shaken the European peace order to its core,” Wegner said. Can’t really argue with that.
So far, commemorations have been peaceful. Today, though, the German chapter of a Russian nationalist (i.e. fascist) motorcycle club known as the “Night Wolves”, is expected to roll through town. The Putin-stans are based in Heidesee in Brandenburg, which doesn’t exactly increase my love for the rural donut surrounding Berlin.
More news below!
Biergarten beer could cost €7.50 a pint this summer! Not only is 20% Berlin cheaper, it’s better for your liver. So, head over to our Patreon and do the right thing! And our retail partner HEIPL Berlin has a special Design Week event Thursday (see below).
Airport paint attack
On Friday, climate activists belonging to Letzte Generation cut a hole in the fence at BER airport, rode across the tarmac on bikes and sprayed a private plane with orange paint. The cops caught up with them in seconds. The group wanted to draw attention to the “excessive destruction of human livelihoods by the super-rich”. Fair enough. Unfortunately, the 50-year-old propellor aircraft — not exactly an oligarch’s Learjet — had been flown by six Danish hobbyists from Copenhagen to Berlin. Next time Elon’s in town, we’ll let you know, guys.
DB attacks trees
By law Deutsche Bahn is required to create protected natural areas to compensate for the impact of new rail line construction. To compensate for new lines built to Magdeburg and Erfurt 10 years ago, the rail operator has been busy cutting down birch trees on a patch of land in Staaken on the western edge of the city, reports Tagesspiegel. Yes, cutting down trees. Why would you cut down trees to protect nature? For the “creation of open space biotopes,” of course. Why? If I understand correctly — and it’s not easy to understand — because 10 years ago the area had no trees growing on it, so, according to the rules, it had to be restored to the open space it was at the time the new lines were built. Welcome to Germany in 2023.
Bolt attacks Miles
Estonian e-scooter and rental bike firm Bolt will be launching a car-sharing service in Berlin at the middle of the month, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall). While prices at the largest player Miles begin at 98 cents per kilometre, Bolt says, under its mixed pricing model, cars will cost 15 cents per minute and 25 cents per kilometre. Bolt says its fleet will be all fossil-fuel for now because they say there’s an e-car shortage that prevents them from offering volt-powered Bolts.
Mars attacks — in 1665?
At 2pm on April 8, 1665, six fishermen who were fishing for herring off the coast of the Baltic city of Stralsund saw “great flocks of birds in the sky morph into warships and engage in a thunderous air battle.” At dusk, “a flat, round shape like a plate” appeared above the St. Nicholas Church. The following day, the men fell sick and were in pain. You’ve just read the description of a UFO sighting in the 17th century, the subject of an intriguing new exhibition on unidentified aerial objects from that time. “A UFO in 1665: The Air Battle of Stralsund” is open now at the Kunstbibliothek near Potsdamer Platz. Through August 28. The info.
One of the best things about summer: Berlin has 35 open-air cinemas, or Freiluftkinos, and many of them show English-language movies or movies in German and other languages with English subtitles. International favourites include the massive Freiluftkino Kreuzberg (already open), which hunkers behind Künstlerhaus Bethanien; the Freiluftkino Hasenheide amphitheatre in Neukölln (opens May 12); and the tiny Freiluftkino Mitte im Haus Schwarzenberg (from May 28).
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This Thursday, HEIPL Berlin is linking up with French designer TIPTOE for Design Week! Come meet Tiptoe while perusing through HEIPL Berlin in Kreuzberg May 11 from 5pm to 9pm. Prosecco (or beer or coffee) and design! Register for a chance to win a prize from TIPTOE’s latest collection. Friends Matthieu Bourgeaux and Vincent Quesada founded Tiptoe in 2015 to couple their love of design with generations of steel expertise in the Chamonix Valley. What started as a label for table legs has evolved into an entire design family.
Heipl Berlin ☆ Berlin- Kreuzberg ☆Schlesische Straße 30 ☆ www.heiplberlin.com