Discover more from 20 Percent Berlin
#219: Light-fest, Ausländeramt, teachers, Galeries Lafayette, boars
Flughafen Tempelhof turns 100
Dear 20 Percent,
Ausländeramt Landesamt für Einwanderung (LEA), never fails to, um, amaze. Berliner Morgenpost took a closer look at the city immigration office two and a half years after its relaunch with a friendlier name and “better IT”. It’s not looking great over there. Some key points from the article:
It takes an average of four months for “clients” to get a written reply;
It takes six months to get an appointment, “even in urgent cases”;
The LEA staff has grown by 28% (from 479 to 615 employees) since 2020, but the number of documents such as residency papers issued has grown by 77%;
Despite efforts to hire more personnel and get things fully digitized, surging numbers of immigrants have overwhelmed the LEA;
38 new employees are being hired to process the immigration of skilled workers from outside the EU;
The new central Naturalization Office (Einbürgerungsamt) opens in its own building in Wedding on January 1 - and will begin with a backlog of 32,500 applications for German citizenship.
Apparently, the situation isn’t any better elsewhere in Germany, so this isn’t just about Berlin’s reputation as the country’s failed state. Still, massive efforts need to be put into streamlining processes and simplifying visa rules. Don’t hold your breath. If you’re currently an LEA “client” or trying to become a German, I offer you my thoughts and prayers.
More news below!
Teacher shortage not quite as awful as feared
Good news from Berlin’s beleaguered public schools, sort of. Back in July, the education department moaned that it couldn’t fill 1,460 teaching positions in public schools for the 2023/2024 school year. Now city education czar Katharina Günther-Wünsch (CDU) proudly announced a shortage of “only” 706 teachers, reports taz, thanks to a higher-than-expected number of career changers entering teaching jobs. The shortage is most acute in eastern districts Lichtenberg and Marzahn-Hellersdorf. In Berlin, career changers with a degree in a relevant school subject can start teaching while completing a teaching course on the side.
So long and thanks for all the oysters
High-end French department store Galeries Lafayette will be leaving its location at the corner of Friedrichstraße and Französische Straße at the end of next year due to “changing consumption habits”, meaning they’re not selling enough stuff. It makes me a tiny bit sad because every couple of years I’d wander in there on a whim for a few lunchtime oysters. The store opened on Friedrichstraße 28 years ago, back when people hoped the Mitte street would become eastern Berlin’s own Ku’Damm-style shopping avenue. Following last year’s half-arsed and ultimately failed attempt to set up a car-free zone, nothing seems to be able to halt the decline of retail. Berlin culture czar Joe Chialo’s (CDU) plan to move the city’s main library into the Galeries Lafayette building could enliven the rather soulless street.
More cash for DIY solar
Berlin is expanding its balcony solar panel subsidy programme, according to RBB. Economy minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) said now owner-occupiers as well as people with Schrebergarten allotments were eligible for a €500 payment to be put towards the purchase of a small plug-and-play solar panel. Until now, only renters could apply. Interested? Here’s some basic info in English and a link to the German application form.
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Looking for more opportunities to touch some plants? Join Fiona @forestbathingberlin for a natural string making workshop on Sunday October 15th at 13:00 in Anita Berber Park.
Over the course of 3 hours, you'll be guided through the process of identifying and gathering the materials (Stinging Nettles), preparing them for string making, and then making your own string together. More details and sign up here.
Experience the feeling of groundedness that comes from collecting, preparing, and using plants that grow wild in this city and find yourself more in the moment as you twine. 🌿🧶✨
Boared in the suburbs
Remember that lion that was actually a wild boar? That was in the town of Kleinmachnow near Potsdam where residents complain of a veritable plague of the beasts and have launched a petition to pressure the authorities into doing something about it. In recent years, Wildschweine have been rampaging through gardens, destroying property and generally terrorising locals, reports Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung. One woman complained about a “wild boar autobahn” running through her property. Mayor Michael Grubert responded to the concerns as such: “Those who move to the countryside should also be prepared to deal with the wildlife situation,” and suggested residents build better fences and not leave garbage bins on the street.
The first flight lifted off from Tempelhof Airport on October 8, 1923. A five-day anniversary celebration titled 100 Years - 100 Hours kicks off in the building on Friday. The fest includes many free events, including tours (some in English), live concerts, DJ sets, readings, film screenings, art shows, kids fun and sports activities. Saturday night sees a 1920s-style Bohème Sauvage party in the old departure hall. The info.
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