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  • The EXB news briefing: January 10, 2019

Berlin

The EXB news briefing: January 10, 2019

In the German papers this week: Vexing and perplexing news stories from Berlin and beyond...

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A weekly round-up of news stories that piqued our interest or made us scratch our heads.

Pricey trail The Berlin city government is planning an extensive (and costly) renovation of the Berlin Wall trail for €12.4 million. The Senate announced on Thursday that several sections of the Wall need urgently to be renewed and also to be made barrier free, so that it’s accessible for wheelchair users. The 126.6km trail is a popular tourist attraction that runs through Potsdamer Platz, the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie. The renovations will kick off in 2020, so it’s a little early to start chanting “Rebuild that Wall (trail)!”

The last round Berlin’s beloved Prenzlauer Berg institution Dr. Pong is sadly closing its doors this Saturday after almost 20 years. The quirky ping pong only-in-Berlin bar says goodbye with a party similar to a good old round of “Around the World”: a different DJ will be playing every hour from 4pm until the morning. Grab your paddles and head there for a final match!

Nazi-looted painting returned You may remember Cornelius Gurlitt? Discovered in 2012, he was a notorious hoarder of Nazi-pilfered artworks and one of those paintings was finally returned to its rightful Jewish heirs on Tuesday, right here in Berlin in a ceremony at the Gropius Bau. Thomas Couture’s “Portrait of a Seated Young Woman” was stolen by the Nazis from the French politician and resistance fighter, Georges Mandel, who was executed by French fascists in 1944. 

Too trashy? Berliners produce too much waste! That’s the problem that the Senate Department for Environment will attempt to tackle with their new plan that aims to decrease the amount of waste from 828,000 to 747,000 tonnes a year by 2030, as reported on Monday. The average citizen leaves behind 225kg of residual waste every year (and we thought Berliners were more green conscious…). Planned measures include the promotion of recycling, reusable coffee cups and less packaged goods. It’s an ambitious goal, especially considering the rising population of the Hauptstadt.

Things might get wild… Most Berliners are used to their occasional presence, but a video that surfaced last Sunday of 25 boars running through Kleinmachnow (made ‘famous’ in Deutschland 83) southwest of Berlin still astonished viewers. According to Berlin’s wildlife representative Derk Ehlert, the wild boars that roam the city are not more numerous than previous years (between 3000 and 5000), but are hungrier than usual due to a lack of food caused by a dry summer and fall. Berliners from Wannsee, Spandau, Köpenick and the Tegeler forest especially should be on higher alert, as they’re particularly active in those areas.

Free entry Humboldt Forum, the contentious large-scale museum project located on Museum Island, will offer free admission to its future visitors, it was announced on Sunday. Culture minister Monika Grütters considers it a pilot project that will be evaluated after three years, based on the impact free entry has, and how that might affect other institutions. Whether free admission will be enough to change Berliners’ so far not so enthusiastic feeling towards the museum is another question…