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#229: Berlin's Xmas tree, fewer e-scooters, 40k waiting to become citizens
And no, you can't register your address online
Hey 20 Percent!
It would seem odd to not mention that yesterday was the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 when thousands of Jewish religious centers, homes and businesses were stormed and destroyed in 1938 as part of Germany’s genocide during World War II.
It’s anniversaries like this as well as various memorials that sometimes make me wonder why I chose Germany generally and Berlin specifically to accidentally emigrate to. I could have gone nearly anywhere else.
I don’t have an answer, really. My choice was more closely linked to the other anniversary yesterday — the day a confused East German official accidentally caused the Mauer between the two Germanies to crumble in 1989. Of course, both anniversaries are linked.
It’s hard to avoid history in a city so shaped by it. Probably a good idea to stop and think about it occasionally. Which is why we have memorials and anniversaries.
Have a good weekend, y’all!
On a lighter note: There are four tickets left for my hour of comedy tonight. The venue reconfigured seating and freed up a few spots. So come on down!
And mark December 16 on your calendar for the 20 Percent Office Christmas Party at Comedy Cafe Berlin. There’ll be a hilarious news quiz show followed by socializing. More details next week.
Many, many thanks to today’s sponsor: expat-friendly green energy utility Ostrom.
It’s beginning to look a lot like
Berlin’s first Christmas present every year goes to a lucky resident who gets an overgrown Baum (tree) removed from their yard for free to become one of the city’s official Christmas trees. The annual stories are always good for a giggle — this year Lara V. from Rudow is the lucky Berliner:innen, chosen among 100 applicants who wanted their tree to find its final resting place next to the Gedächtniskirche and archaic Europacenter, according to BZ. Check out the picture on their site for provincial hokiness. The trees’ trips to central western Berlin are also traditionally difficult and this year was no different — the truck got stuck at Innsbrucker Platz for over an hour. Now break out that bottle of Glühwein you’ve had for the past year and get this holiday season started.
Berlin in March will reduce the number of rental e-scooters allowed within the S-Bahn ring to 19,000 from 25,000 amid continuing complaints about the chaos the things wreak on the city-state’s sidewalks, according to Tagesspiegel. Paris, let’s remember, has forbidden them altogether. Creating special storage areas for the vehicles has alleviated the problem in Mitte and providers say the spaces are the way forward — they also offer room for bikes and other non-automotive transportation but — sigh — they usually eliminate one or two of Berlin’s apparently holy parking spots.
No, you can’t register online
Despite what our rivals claimed — you won’t be able to register your address online in Berlin in the near future, even though Berlin has promised it for years (we’re all in an abusive relationship with this place). But you can request a copy of your registration certificate online, which many 20 percenters use as a form of ID, rather than having to lumber through the appointment process at a Bürgeramt. Confusingly, this service has been available for over a year but the behind-the-scenes process is now different and it’s now free though there’s a catch: The identification you use to apply for a copy has to have the eID digital ID function activated — I tried to activate it with my permanent visa card and found the process so frustrating that I gave up. So maybe you can get a copy of the thing online, or maybe not. So Berlin.
Berlin is sitting on 40,000 unprocessed citizenship applications, up from 27,000 last year, after district citizenship offices stopped processing applications in anticipation of the new, city-state-wide citizenship office that will open understaffed in January. All this according to All About Berlin — he’s got even more depressing citizenship stats in this thread on his Twitter/x (which you should be following).
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