• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

'Berlin-bashing' book catalogues capital's flops

The Local · 27 Apr 2013, 11:33

Published: 27 Apr 2013 11:33 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It's just the latest in a growing trend of good-natured “Berlin-bashing,” which can focus on anything from inefficient suburban S-Bahn trains to massive construction failures. Ever since the scandal over the opening of a new airport in Berlin broke, hobby historians have been compiling examples of other wash-outs in the city.

One literal wash-out dates back to 1892, when Kasier Wilhelm II refused to host a trade fair in the city, proclaiming “An exhibition will not be, as the Berliners themselves would say.” He was proven wrong however when the show arrived anyway, complete with an enormous fake pyramid. But it rained for 120 out of 165 days and the show flopped.

According to the author of Ach du dickes B. Eine Berliner Pleitengeschichte (Oh you, Berlin, a story of going bust) “bankruptcies, bubbles and disgraces are a part of Berlin's lifeblood.”

Echoing Kaiser Wilhelm, Tomerius offers a modern-day evaluation: “The airport will not be, the Olympics will not be, the Ferris wheel will not be.”

One amusing example of “Berlin-bashing” is former chancellor Gerhard Schröder's comparison of the roof of the city's main train station to a sausage that was too short. Add to that the spectacular financial failure of the high-rise building known as the “Steglitzer Kreisel” and the flopped plans for a magnetic levitation train near the Postdamer Platz square and you have some golden “Berlin-bashing” material.

There are stories of perversity too. According to his mother, Berlin brothel owner Otto Schwanz, whose name translates as “Otto Penis,” refused point blank to change his name, despite his involvement in a construction project scandal.

Critics have described Tomerius' book as showcasing the “beauty of failure.” It would make a perfect airport read, if only the massive Berlin-Brandenburg project hadn't flopped so spectacularly…

DPA/The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
VW bosses forced to pay back private jet costs

Bosses at troubled German auto giant Volkswagen have been forced to pay the company back millions of euros for flights on its private jets, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday.

Germany arrests Marxist militant 'leader'
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / DPA / AFP file picture

A radical Marxist suspected of belonging to a left-wing extremist group accused of terrorism by Turkey has been arrested in Germany, judicial sources said on Saturday.

Afghan teen arrested over German murder-rape
Photo: Hendrik Schmidt / DPA / AFP file picture

A teenage Afghan asylum seeker has been arrested on suspicion of the rape and murder of a 19-year-old female student in Germany, police and prosecutors said Saturday.

Nazi POW leaves estate to 'kind' Scottish village
The former German soldier stayed on to work in the Perthshire village for a time after the war. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP file picture

A former Nazi prisoner of war has left his entire estate in his will to a small village in Scotland to show his appreciation for the kindness he received there during his captivity.

US tries to block Chinese purchase of Aixtron
Photo: Oliver Berg / DPA / AFP

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls.

Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,591
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd