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June 8, 2010

Do you like this?

We don't need it. We don't want it. Now, just as we were made to think that the shoddy Schloss replica smack in the middle of Museumsinsel was inevitable, fate, in the form of the financial crisis, has intervened. Construction has been delayed till 2013.

For Merkel's government, which has been slashing the federal budget everywhere possible, it was a no-brainer. After all, how can you justify cuts in child subsidies for the unemployed while spending €500 million on a concrete wedding cake in Berlin.

Politicians from other parts of Germany were never turned on by the project, which artificially brought together a nostalgia for Prussian architecture which wasn't that beautiful anyway with the half-baked concept of the "Humboldt Forum" - a mishmash of anthropological museum (i.e. booty from Germany's colonial period)  and feel-good "meeting place for world cultures".

The comments page of the dodgy foundation that's been collecting money for the project for years has been fun to read - all those angry donors asking for their money back. All the foundation has done so far with the cash is spend millions of euros on the inflated salary of its dubious director Herr Wilhelm von Boddien and its own relentless marketing aimed at gullible grannies and Prussia fans.

Pro-palace big-wig Berlin MP Wolfgang Thierse said the annual construction costs of €30-40 million was a laughable amount of savings considering three kilometres of new Autobahn cost €100 million. 

Mayor Wowereit called the postponement "another personal defeat for Angela Merkel".

Wrong, Wowi. Delaying the project till the next federal government was one of the smartest things Angie's done in a while. After all, Klaus, according to the latest Forsa survey done for the Berliner Zeitung, 80 percent of your electorate are now against the Schloss.

Give it up. Plant some trees. Build an art museum. Whatever, just drop the Schloss.

Maybe Berlin needs some forward-thinking leadership with a more innovative vision for the heart of the city. In autumn 2011, Wowereit could get a serious challenge from Green Renate Künast for the top post. The Greens have always been doubtful of the Schloss - and without the support of the mayor, the palace could remain a pipe dream forever.

by

June 8, 2010

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