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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Berlin Minimalist Glamour - New York Times

In Berlin, the greatest luxuries are really rather inexpensive — rents are cheap, galleries and museums are remarkable, and there is the sense of an unflustered lifestyle in this green, canal-laced city. At the same time, a huge influx of creative Mitteleuropeans and the arrival of deep-pocketed Russians are creating a new, more ostentatious consumer culture, best exemplified by the opening last spring of the largest edition of the global hipster private club Soho House.

No city has overhauled its galleries and museums in the past decade as much as Berlin, led by the architect6 David Chipperfield’s remarkable€230 million, or $294 million, restoration of the bombed-out Neues Museum. According to Michael Michalsky, Berlin’s most famous new-generation fashion designer, “Neues Museum symbolizes what this city is all about — new minimalist glamour with old, historic, destroyed Kaiser Wilhelm chic.”

Since unification, the German capital has undergone a remarkable population change, as an estimated 500,000 people left the city in search of factory and service jobs in the west. Meanwhile, movie, media and advertising multinationals relocated their headquarters here and were joined by an enormous tribe of bohemians. Many leading galleries, formerly based in Cologne and Düsseldorf, have set up shop as well. Increasingly, the city’s young yet booming fashion season takes place in art spots. Stefanel’s cashmere collection was unveiled last summer in Der Bunker, a dramatic World War II air-raid shelter, now the home and private gallery of the German art collector Christian Boros.

“In a certain way, Berlin is very un-German, an island by itself,” said Josef Voelk, joint owner of the multibrand boutique The Corner. “There’s lots of space still available and a very intellectual climate, making for a spirit of freedom.” The Corner is located just off Unter den Linden, the ultimate destination for international designers wanting to establish a bridgehead in Germany.

With 12 Michelin-starred restaurants, the highest number of any city in Germany, Berlin last year overtook Hamburg as the country’s most gastronomic city. Yet, the city’s two hippest restaurants — Borchardt and the canal-side Grill Royale — are both far more about schmoozing than culinary excellence.

According to Voelk, Berliners don’t admire ostentation — given the city’s past as the “birthplace of socialism.” It’s not considered politically correct “to flaunt your wealth.” Yet with Moscow only a two-hour flight away and rich Russian and Polish shoppers showing up in growing numbers, one fifth of The Corner’s clientele are big-watch-sporting Eastern Europeans, he said.

Most major movie premieres in Germany now take place in Berlin, bringing with them a Red Carpet ethos and a more showy aesthetic.

“When I first moved to Berlin you had to dress down to go out; not anymore,” said Michalsky, who has two Berlin boutiques. “I was in Soho House last night, and the place was crammed with Hermès Birkins and Chanel bags worn with jeans and T-shirts.”

Both Voelk and Michalsky see luxury here becoming far more sustainable, with craftsmanship and timelessness its most important qualities, though with an individualist streak. Theirs is a boomtown, which weathered the recession far better than most.

From November to March the city’s sky may be battleship gray. But that’s when its other great luxury swings into action — the legendary club scene, centered around the former East Berlin district of Mitte. Unlike in New York or Paris, in Berlin it is extremely easy to gain access to the coolest clubs, provided you are blessed with a modest gift: the ability to speak English without a German accent. Luxury does come at a low price in Berlin.
 

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Today, is Berlin's population larger or smaller than before re-unification?
 

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^^
About the same and slightly growing.
goschio was faster. XD

edit:

1990 3.433.695
1991 3.446.031
1992 3.465.748
1993 3.475.392
1994 3.472.009
1995 3.471.418
1996 3.458.763
1997 3.425.759
1998 3.398.822
1999 3.386.667
2000 3.382.169
2001 3.388.434
2002 3.392.425
2003 3.388.477
2004 3.387.828
2005 3.395.189
2006 3.404.037
2007 3.416.255
2008 3.431.675
2009 3.442.675

source: Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg
 

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According to Voelk, Berliners don’t admire ostentation — given the city’s past as the “birthplace of socialism.”
Don't really want to rain on the Berlin-wankfest here, but:
- The foundation for German socialism was laid in the 1848 revolution. With which Berlin didn't have a scrap to do.
- Das Kapital was written and published by Marx and Engels in London
- The two first socialist parties in Germany were founded in Eisenach and Leipzig (SDAP and ADAV as forerunners of the SPD).
The Young Hegelians - centered in Berlin in the 1830s - weren't even remotely socialist. At most anti-conservative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How did the German capital become Europe's sex tourism mecca for gays and straights alike?

Don-t-tell-mama - Haaretz - Israeli News

Quote:
In the last few years, Berlin's versatile sex scene has become a strong tourist draw. Indeed, there's something for everyone - men, women, gays, straights, S&M aficionados and esoteric fetishes. One can enjoy three museums and two orgies in four days. In The Lonely Planet Guide to Berlin, alongside the standard chapter called "Gays and Lesbians," an extra section is devoted to "Sex and Fetish," a heading that doesn't appear in the series' guides to other cities.

 

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I was in Berlin last year and loved it. Then I went to Munich; the people there had nothing nice to say about Berlin. They said Berlin was a hipster and artist hang out with high unemployment and propped up by the wealthier, harder working areas of Germany. My Munich friend seemed so angry about Berlin that he supported a Bavarian independence movement.

http://www.smh.com.au/world/hip-berlin-lures-savvy-creatives-but-at-what-cost-20110923-1kpgg.html

Hip Berlin lures savvy creatives but at what cost?
Brigid Delaney
September 24, 2011

A LITERARY agent recently told me the bane of her existence - first novels set in contemporary Berlin - were piling up on her desk.

"It is," sighed the agent, "Like Paris in the 1920s, but without the talent."

Yet the myth - that this is the place to be if you are young, creative, and hip - is stronger than ever.

The Jewish Daily compared modern Berlin to New York in the '70s, saying: "Everyone is broke, but then again, everyone is out drinking and partying."

Artistic types have been flocking here for an age - from the Cabaret days of author Christopher Isherwood in the 1920s and '30s to David Bowie in the '70s and Nick Cave in the '80s.

But the current batch of international libertines were encouraged by Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, who invited the creative class, saying: ''Berlin: arm, aber sexy'' (poor, but sexy).

I returned this month to this complicated, cruel, haunted, leafy, brutal, beautiful city - yet I had to keep reminding myself that I was not in Fitzroy as I tripped over English-speakers with their heavy fashion frame glasses, MacBooks and oversized headphones.

Hipsters have been flocking to Berlin for some time, but now the next generation has arrived - those with a bit of money to buy the gorgeous eastern Berlin apartment in Prenzlauer Berg, with ceilings that touch the stars and cake-icing details on balconies and balustrades.

Corporate lawyers and European Union policy wonks whom I know are buying into the market - snapping up property for weekenders or for tourist letting.

The process of gentrification has begun. First come the bohemians: writers, painters, multimedia artists, the poets, then the semi-idle aristocrats - the kids with the trust funds and blogs, then the new media creatives - people who work in internet businesses and create products and services, then the corporate types, and then tourists. Then it's dead. The scene has moved on - to Java or Ljubljana.

Tim Rhodes, a New Zealander working in Berlin, has seen his previously working-class neighbourhood change rapidly.

''My experience of the change in Berlin is mainly through the unbelievably fast development and gentrification of Neukoelln. In the space of three years it has gone from a quiet immigrant community most Germans were too scared to step into to a bustling hipster hangout where bars and clubs spring up daily and the ensuing rental price hikes are pushing immigrants out further away from the city.''

Gentrification and rising prices are more likely to affect Berliners than their fellow Germans.

As of April 2010, unemployment was at 14.2 per cent compared with the German average of 7.9 per cent. A massive 20 per cent of Berliners are reliant on state support.

Gentrification and the influx of hipsters is becoming a hot political topic. The Guardian reported this year that locals are tiring of their city becoming a "playground''.

In a more aggressive move, German magazine Interim called for an anti-tourism campaign, urging readers to ''steal their mobile phones and wallets as you walk by their cafe tables, burn their cars, smash their hotel windows, drop rubbish, throw stuff at tourist buses''.

Last week I walked past my old flat in eastern Berlin, half a block away from a trench where the Wall used to be. Part of it is still there - grey and sticking up like a rotten tooth.

Friends still in the city tell me the area is now a haven for "yummy mummies''. The punks and fierce men with German shepherds have gone.

One thing remains, though. Some graffiti across from my old building now reads like a cry into the wind: "Yuppies F--- Off''.
 

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I was in Berlin last year and loved it. Then I went to Munich; the people there had nothing nice to say about Berlin. They said Berlin was a hipster and artist hang out with high unemployment and propped up by the wealthier, harder working areas of Germany. My Munich friend seemed so angry about Berlin that he supported a Bavarian independence movement.
:eek:hno: People from Bavaria and Munich are the most arrogant people in Germany.
The first two post war decades Bavaria was a poor agriculture province of West Germany, Munich its provincial capital.
They were supported massively by equalization payments from the former rich industrial heart of West Germany, the Ruhrgebiet.

I would like to see Bavaria separated from Germany!!

The Nazi dicatorship had started in Munich, the Nazis were responsible for the decline of one of the pre war leading cities in the world: Berlin!
 

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:eek:hno: People from Bavaria and Munich are the most arrogant people in Germany.
The first two post war decades Bavaria was a poor agriculture province of West Germany, Munich its provincial capital.
They were supported massively by equalization payments from the former rich industrial heart of West Germany, the Ruhrgebiet.

I would like to see Bavaria separated from Germany!!

The Nazi dicatorship had started in Munich, the Nazis were responsible for the decline of one of the pre war leading cities in the world: Berlin!
Such a stupid post.
 

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Bleibt mal locker..

Wenn ich höre, dass man in München (ehemalige "Stadt der Bewegung") gegen Zahlungen an Berlin ist und dass man sich die Separation Bayern wünscht, krieg' ich einen "Hals".

Mein Englisch ist leider zu schlecht, um das richtig auszudrücken.
Aber letztendlich ist der derzeitige "Zustand" Berlins doch eine Folge der Gewaltherrschaft. Ohne diese Bande hätte sich Berlin u.U. normal entwickeln können (vorausgesetzt, die Weimarer Republik hätte sich stabilisiert) und könnte jetzt mit Paris und London in einem Atemzug genannt werden und München hätte niemals die Bedeutung, die es heute hat!
Und München ist DIE STADT, aus der der braune Dreck damals gekrochen kam und unser Land vergiftet hat!!

Übrigens hatte Churchill die Idee, Bayern und Österreich zu einem "Großkatholischen Reich" zu vereinen.
Ich kenne nur arrogante Bayern, von daher finde ich, dass das eine großartige Idee war!
 

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We are really hitting the two sides of the issue. A couple of comments; I don't take sides here.

Berlin is in fact undergoing massive investment, getting its utilities, roads, museums, buildings, etc., renovated after considerable neglect during the socialist years. It is a great tourist city since it has the great architecture, parks, musuems, history, tame and crazy nightlife, etc., but without the prices and crowds associated with London or Paris. I just spent a week there and had a great time.

But conversely, outside of Berlin a lot of Germans are really angry since their perception is that Berlin is a bunch of slackers and bureaucrats funding their spending spree on the backs of every other part of the country. Berlin itself has relatively high unemployment and very high underemployment (excessive govt. staffing, too many small retailers, a lot of low-value service and arts-related jobs). They are in a supposed economic boom, but this periodically grinds to a halt when govt. spending and subsidies are withdrawn; demand for space in Berlin is questionable since rents are still very low for a city its size; the population is stagnant, which is odd considering the amount of money poured in. But, again, there was no doubt that Berlin was in an odd situation after 50 years of war and socialism and there is legitimate reason to make your capital look nice.

As a side note, Germany is not breaking apart into Catholic and Protestant regions and I don't think the Austrians are up for any changes either.
 

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Unfortunately I have never visited Berlin, but it seems like a unique and fascinating place.. Ever since I saw the wim wenders film wings of desire, i have wanted to go there.. hipster trends etc come and go, but the fabric of the city itself is more ancient, frankly more interesting, and will still be there once the single speed bikes and stupid haircuts go.
 
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