In a city revered for its history, a tour about the present comes as a breath of fresh air. The 2.5-hour walk – organised by the watchdog group LobbyControl – takes you through Mitte’s political heart and gives you a peek behind the curtain into politicians’ dodgy deals with lobby organisations.
Don’t expect too much of an actual view, however: although German democracy is officially built on the pillars of transparency, worryingly influential lobbyists hide behind a tangled web of legal loopholes.
Our guide is well-prepared and wanders the mean streets of Mitte like an urban Steve Irwin.
During the 12-person tour, this translates to a couple of front doors and silver-plated signs as well as the occasional security guard that lingers uncomfortably near the entrance. Our guide – a witty sociology student – is well-prepared for this and wanders the mean streets of Mitte like an urban Steve Irwin.
Armed with laminated print-outs of incriminating emails and photos of political scandals, he eloquently shuns, scandalises and speeches his way through the horde of lobby organisations residing a stone’s throw away from the Bundestag. It’s best to bring your not-so-sexy ergonomic walking shoes because although the 12 stops are not all too far from each other, the guide runs ahead like Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings.
The upside: for only €15, you dive into a cryptic world hiding in plain sight, all while wandering through a historically rich and vibrant part of Berlin. If you’re not too hungover, this is the perfect Saturday afternoon activity for the politically critical.
- Tours in English on April 15 and May 13 at 14:00, get more information here.