• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Art icon Tacheles shrinks after €1-million payout

David Wroe · 5 Apr 2011, 17:29

Published: 05 Apr 2011 17:29 GMT+02:00

The bars, restaurants and outdoor artists’ studios that hundreds of thousands of visitors have become used to seeing in recent years have already closed. Gruppe Tacheles, representing about 80 occupants of the disputed site, say they have accepted a €1 million payment to leave. They have handed over their keys and left the premises.

A further 80 loosely grouped artists – who are separate from Gruppe Tacheles and indeed have an antagonistic relationship with them – are staying.

“We’re going on with our programme as usual,” said Tacheles spokeswoman Linda Cerna. “We have a great premier tomorrow (Wednesday) with the Rosie Kay Dance Company from Britain and an exhibition opening on Friday.”

However, it will be a quite different-looking Tacheles to the sprawling, bustling complex – complete with indoor and outdoor bars, restaurants, a cinema and a large, outdoor marquee housing artists’ workshops – that it has become in recent years. Those are all being removed after the Gruppe Tacheles agreed to leave.

The graffiti-smothered squat has for years been the subject of a byzantine saga pitting developers and a major bank against the artists and different artist factions against one another. Occupied soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former Jewish department store in Berlin’s Mitte district became the capital’s best-known bohemian hang-out and a major tourist attraction. The city of Berlin strongly supports the project, though it has stopped short of offering to buy the site and maintain it as a cultural venue.

Eventually, as the forces of gentrification changed the area, the artists in Tacheles have come under increasing pressure to get out. The effective owner of the site, HSH Nordbank, has been trying to evict the artists and sell the property. A planned auction for the site on Monday was postponed at the last minute.

Complicating matters is the fact that nobody can or will say where the €1 million payment has come from. HSH Nordbank spokeswoman Gesine Dähn said the bank was not behind the payment and did not know who – if anyone – had made it. Gruppe Tacheles spokesman Tim Africa said the money had come anonymously via Berlin lawyers Schultz und Seldeneck.

Africa defended the group’s decision to take the money in return for leaving the premises despite just a week ago vowing to fight on.

“The time is over and we’re really way past deadline. That was the overwhelming feeling in the group,” he said.

They had accepted the payout because they could no longer continue the legal fight to stay, he said. The money would be used for “a new cultural project” once various costs including legal expenses had been settled. However, he refused to say which individuals were actually receiving the payout and added that the group’s leading members, including co-founder Ludwig Eben, operator of the now-closed Zapata Café, would not comment on their decision.

Tacheles spokeswoman Cerna said the remaining artists were not surprised that Gruppe Tacheles had accepted the payout.

Story continues below…

“I don’t think any of the artists are sad they’re leaving,” she said.

Tony Sykes, who manages the Dutch artist Tim Roeloffs – perhaps Tacheles’ most prominent son – said the remaining artists planned to stay and keep Tacheles going as a cultural icon.

“We are going to carry on. Tim Roeloffs is going to carry on and we wouldn’t sell off 20 years of cult-status legacy,” he said.

David Wroe (david.wroe@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:29 April 5, 2011 by dcgi
So about €12,500 each?
19:51 April 5, 2011 by derExDeutsche
I was wondering where all those Euros for Hamburgers at the Hard Rock Cafe came from.
22:17 April 5, 2011 by ado1000
Hey, here is an idea. Why don't we take what is unique about Berlin and replace it with a bank or shopping mall?? Good thinking!
09:44 April 6, 2011 by DoubleDTown
Hey, here is another idea: 1991 is over.
11:05 April 7, 2011 by Carmelb
Sad..sad..sad...without Tacheles Mitte takes another step to becoming ..well..just another bland mid-European city centre full of standardised bistros and chain stores ...
14:33 April 8, 2011 by LecteurX
Why would they care, those "investors"? They're just after money and in Berlin they see opportunities that are so rare in other capitals. They couldn't care less about the damage they're doing, as there will always be idiots to pay for whatever ridiculous property developments that will emerge instead of Tacheles, C/O and others, people who will be willing to pay overpriced hotel rooms to enjoy "the flair" of Berlin Mitte, of which there is not much left, and which is under constant pressure from the real estate landgrab.

Maybe some day Berlin will be uninteresting, boring and standardised like other European capital. There will just be the sh!tty climate, perpetual grey skies over a gigantic Potsdamer Platz left, without the countless landmarks of Paris or Rome and architectural beauty, without the warm weather of Barcelona, without the economic and cultural prominence of London... then the tourists will stop coming because there will be nothing left and Berlin will fade back into irrelevance. Then all the "investors" will go belly-up with they cr*ppy luxury hotels.
13:13 April 13, 2011 by codegremlin
Are we saying here that all Berlin has to offer to the world is a graffiti filled ruin, frequented by punks with angry dogs, that smells like urine and has dried vomit spread on the pavement in front of it (or at least that was my experience when I last visited it in 2005 don't know if it looks any different now)?

I really think that even a shopping mall would be preferable to the current miserable condition, the site was a department store originally after all and it would be a chance to restore the facade of the building to it's former glory. And Berlin is a unique, ever evolving city, so don't worry about it losing its character.
14:03 April 14, 2011 by Angry Ami
Too bad, was a cool place, especially liked cafe Zapata, great to go see gigs in summer then hang out in the back yard, what I don't understand is why the artists didn't get together and pool their resources, there must be a wealthy creative type in the city who would have helped, actually somebody did buy most of the folks out, but to me that's weird, a buy out but no support, and yeah it can't be stopped, Berlin will be gentrified.
19:20 April 14, 2011 by efnisien
Shame on Gruppe Tacheles for taking this money! Tacheles represents all that is good about modern Berlin, with its thriving alternative arts scene and great nightlife. Tacheles is on of the main tourist attractions in the area yet retains a sense of authenticity. One can't help but think that a new, rather staid, version of Berlin will emerge from the sad demise of Tacheles and other artistic residences.

In many cities around the world we find governments attempting to 'create' -often by means of large-scale investment - the kind of artistic hub that already exists in Tacheles. It will be a devastating loss to the city for a largely self-sustaining and organic expression of creativity to be demolished in the name of 'progress'.
Today's headlines
Munich gunman planned attacks for one year: officials
Vigils continue in Munich to commemorate the victims, seven of whom were teenagers. Photo: DPA

The teenage gunman who killed nine people in Munich on Friday had been planning his attack for a year, according to German authorities.

Germany grapples with enigma of Munich gunman
A debate is already underway as to whether Germany's gun laws, which are already strict, should be tightened further. Photo: AFP

Investigators were seeking clues on Sunday into the mind of gunman David Ali Sonboly, the teen author of one of Germany's bloodiest killing sprees.

Munich shooting
 Social media a blessing and a curse in Munich shooting
The Munich gunman may have hacked a Facebook account to lure some of the victims to the McDonald's fast-food outlet where the shooting began. Photo: DPA

Social networks were both a curse and a blessing in the deadly shopping mall shooting in Munich, as police sometimes found themselves chasing fictitious leads and false alarms.

Munich shooting
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Munich shooting
Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,713
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd