#66: Gas money, €7 döner, memorial vandalised, S-Bahn
And then there were 19: two more tech unicorns.
Hi 20 Percent readers,
One of the eternal mysteries of the German people is their fear of tap water. Just the other day, a German woman tweeted, “Do you seriously drink water from the faucet?” — reaping a massive number of likes.
I was born in the UK but my family is German and I have early memories of visiting my grandparents in the suburbs of Frankfurt in the 1980s. Every Saturday, Großvater would drive to the Getränkemarkt to buy crates of beer and Wasser, meaning excessively fizzy mineral water that tasted of chalk in thick glass bottles. Why do they buy water at a shop? I remember thinking. Still today, I see German men (it’s often the men) schlepping absurdly heavy crates of H20 to the top floor of our building. Sometimes the “water” isn’t even sparkling — sometimes it’s still water trucked in from the French Alps.
Tap water, as you all know, is still a taboo subject at many Berlin restaurants, though it feels like it’s becoming more acceptable to ask for it, at least if you spend money on another drink.
Another sign that things are slowly changing is the fact that the city has been installing drinking fountains here and there. This being Berlin, though, many of them have a serious design flaw: you can’t turn them off. The one on my street doesn’t have an on/off button. It runs day and night — and I’ve never seen anyone use it.
This said, younger Germans often carry their own water bottle with them these days. Apart from the hassle of carrying crates, bottled water has a huge environmental impact.
Berlin has tasty, high-quality tap water (in-depth information in English from the water utility here). There’s no good reason not to drink it! My neighbours surely know this. And yet they continue to schlepp and I will never understand why.
P.S. A huge thank you to our new sponsor, Expath!
P.P.S Comedian Nir Gottleid is back with his one-man show (more info below).
The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, April 19 (incomplete thanks to the Easter break!)
Received booster: 60.1% (60.1% Friday)
New cases in one day: 106 (3,918 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,427 (+0 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 357.6 (578.2 Friday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 11.8 (14.7 Friday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 7.2% (7.9% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Even more cash for Russia?
According to a study by Greenpeace Germany, rising gas and oil prices mean Germany will be paying Russia approximately 50 percent more for energy imports in 2022 compared to last year. The environmental NGO forecasts we’ll be sending €32 billion to Moscow, up from €20 billion — if we don’t take drastic steps to reduce our dependency on the fuels. Greenpeace Germany lays out a seven-step plan to radically reduce the imports that are helping Putin fund his war against Ukraine — including a massive programme to save energy.
Soviet Memorial vandalised
Anti-Russian grafitti was discovered by police late Sunday at the entrance to the memorial to Soviet soldiers who died in the Second World War in Treptower Park. “Murderers”, “Orks” and “Z” were some of the messages found sprayed at the complex. It was at least the second time the memorial has been attacked since the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, local politician Stefanie Bung (of the opposition CDU) has said Berlin should remove the tanks from the Soviet war memorial near the Brandenburg Gate. City environment boss Bettina Jarasch (Greens), whose department oversees parks, shot down the idea.
Inflation is hitting Berliners where it hurts: fast food prices were 6 percent higher this March than a year ago, according to the German statistics office. Gürsel Ülber, head of the Association of Turkish Döner Producers in Europe (wonder if they have merch?), caused a stir when he told dpa newswire that döners should actually cost €7.30 to cover real costs. €5 to €6 for the giant meaty pockets are no longer unusual in Berlin, he said. Ülber expects further hikes as food commodity prices skyrocket, partly thanks to the war. Even when we couldn’t have nice things we could have Döner and now maybe not that either?
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Berlin has two more start-ups valued at more than €1 billion (on paper at least). Food-and-beverage wholesale app Choco reached the coveted status last week when US investors poured another €102 million in the firm which now employs 400. Choco says 15,000 restaurants are using the app. Electronics rental site Grover became a unicorn with a massive new round of cash earlier this month. Nineteen of the horned, mythical animals reside in Berlin. Just a few years ago it seemed as though Berlin would long be without unicorns. The start-up kind, anyway.
Construction work on the S-Bahn ring means limited service all week between Treptower Park and Neukölln. Shuttle trains will run between the two stations every 20 minutes. Info in English!
Social reformer Alice Solomon was born into an affluent Jewish family in Berlin on this date 150 years ago. Solomon was an educator, a pioneer in the field of social work and a strident advovate for equality between the sexes. In 1919 she founded a “social school for women”, today the Alice Solomon University for Appied Sciences in Hellersdorf. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Solomon was stripped of her duties due to her Jewish roots and pacifist views. She was deported from Germany — she died in New York City in 1948.
A li’l culture: Dark English Comedy
“The Revenge of the Jew-Di” is a stand up comedy show about love, identity, and that awkward feeling that only a Jewish man living in Germany can feel. But mostly, it’s puns about genocide. After two sold out shows in Berlin he’s decided to add two (or more) shows! Dubbed by his friends as well as enemies “the king of horrifying dad jokes” Nir Gottleid has produced crowd favorites such as “The Berlin Offensive” and “Schindler’s Fist”. “The Revenge of the Jew-Di” has already been performed throughout Germany to some acclaim, and mostly horror. Get tickets and find showtimes here!
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