New years eve riots
New Years Eve 2022 was a scary, ominous evening which showed that something was deeply wrong with our society. Not because of the so-called riots, though. Last Silvester was 18.1 degrees in Berlin! How is that normal?
That’s not what the German press was talking about the morning after, though. Instead, they whipped themselves up into a right-wing moral panic about some kids shooting off fireworks. Whether you like Berlin’s yearly Böller frenzy each year or not, when the German media starts pointing their fingers towards Neukölln, you can be sure things are heading in the wrong direction.
Oh, Berlin. How did you fall for that? After the CDU spearheaded the moral panic over “internal security” in the city, they were rewarded with the mayorship of Berlin for the first time in two decades. The SPD dutifully got in line and joined them in coalition. A few months later, our new government would deliver on its bullying rhetoric and install some drastic austerity measures for Neukölln, including canceling trips for needy children, ending help for the homeless and stopping rubbish collection in parks.
Pergamon museum shuts for 14 years
If BER airport is anything to go by, 14 years is an extremely normal and appropriate amount of time for construction work. So perhaps we shouldn’t have raised our eyebrows when the Pergamon museum announced they would be shutting down for that long to undertake repair work. In fact, the north wing – housing the famous Pergamon Altar – is expected to reopen by 2027. Practically lightspeed.
150 metre long queue in Charlottenburg
How long would you wait in line for the chance to land a 74 square-meter apartment in Charlottenburg? A long time, if this video – which did the rounds on Berlin social media – is anything to go by. Images of the 150-metre long queue brought the severity of Berlin’s ongoing housing crisis back to our attention, not that anyone could forget it anyway.
The Deutschlandticket arrives
In May, we got our first taste of the Deutschlandticket: €49 per month for train travel across the entire country. This is when we thought we’d all be jumping on a train to Leipzig for a quick trip, heading out for a weekend in the Spreewald or up to the beaches of Rügen. Did we actually ever do any of that? Not so much. But there’s always next weekend!
Fights at the pool
How do you know that summer has truly arrived in Berlin? Fights at outdoor swimming pools. This time, there was a punch up in Pankow when an argument between guests and staff broke out into a full scale brawl involving over 30 people. A 16 year old had to go to hospital for injuries to his arms and face. Oh summer, how we missed you!
The Berlin lion
This was it. The perfect Berlin story. In July, a short video was shared on social media which purported to show a large wild cat feasting on the carcass of a boar. Before long, it was all anyone could talk about. Drones were released, helicopters started to circle over the forests of Kleinmachnow while police snipers loaded the weapons with strong doses of tranquilising ketamine. Who would catch the evasive lion?
After a couple of days of this frenzied fun, some hunters chipped in and said that the original footage was very likely just a wild boar scratching his side against a tree, and everyone went home. A few dissenting voices (the Lion truthers) tried to keep the dream alive but, once they’ve put away the ketamine darts, what are you really holding on for?
The Lärmomat: Berlin tries to automate sshhhhing
You might love your job, you might be good at it, but let’s face it: Sooner or later, automation is coming to replace you. At least, that’s how it seemed in August when Kreuzberg installed this big machine resembling something between an over-designed toilet or an eco-friendly border guard checkpoint. The purpose of the object was to measure the general volume of its surroundings and, if they got too loud, flash a light and play an alarm. So did it work? No it didn’t. Everyone ignored it – and the box was removed a few months later. A victory for human labour everywhere.
Ye-bab: Kanye queues at Mustafa’s
The second story of the year about a queue. This time, the famous line outside Mustafa’s Kebab was joined by Kanye West and his wife, Bianca Censori. The famous rapper and producer was recognisable despite having his head covered with a black shawl. They went and ate their food on a nearby bench.
The end of the year was marked more than anything else by some deep divisions in German society over the issue of the war in Gaza. Teachers hitting students, protests on Sonnenallee, cancelations, solidarity readings, fundings battles, police raids and people marching in the streets. This issue has seemed all consuming at times. We can only hope things take a turn for the better next year.
As winter approaches and we all settle in for those long dark Berlin days, we got something which has been missing from the last winter: snow. Somehow, with the city blanketed in white, everything seems quieter, more peaceful and serene.