• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Party tourists under fire in 'cool Berlin'

The Local · 15 Aug 2014, 11:18

Published: 15 Aug 2014 11:18 GMT+02:00

It's a hallmark sound in many Berlin streets these days: the thunderous trundling of suitcase wheels on cobblestone sidewalks and excited shouting as hungover guests leave hostels to catch early flights home. That, and the all-night partying that precedes their departure.  
 
But the chorus of residents' complaints is also rising, about this and the general din and mess of so-called "party tourism", the groups that arrive from abroad to live Berlin night life to the full.
 
"Everyone is advertising: We are the coolest place in Berlin, where everything is possible and allowed," said Monika Herrmann, the mayor of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, the east-central district where much of the night life is concentrated.  
 
"I get the impression that some visitors think they are in a kind of Disneyland and we residents are like film extras...People in almost the whole district can't sleep at night with open windows because of the noise," she told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.
 
This is not a campaign against tourists, the mayor stresses, but rather criticism of those who unreasonably push the boundaries, and "the concept of always wanting more and more".
 
Discussion about possible steps to moderate the situation and defuse local tensions will follow this summer's tourist season, Herrmann said.
 
Rubber up, folks
 
So what does the mayor suggest?
 
"We must see what works and what doesn't. First steps could be to introduce a code that encourages visitors to avoid littering, excessive noise and generally show respect towards residents. 
 
"In Amsterdam, a behaviour code for tourists brought results. There they also distributed postcards against urinating outdoors," she told the newspaper.
 
"Some solutions could be really simple - for example, why don't the noisy pull-along suitcases of hostel guests have rubber wheels?" 
 
As for the idea that this is biting the hand that feeds the district, the mayor concedes that tourist revenues are vital for local businesses. 
 
But she also notes that the district government doesn't make any money itself, but still has to pick up the bill for security, sanitation and damage to green areas.
 
The problems intensify in areas where hostels, cafes and bars are concentrated, like around the district's popular Warschauerstrasse.
 
This busy road leading across the River Spree is located by the East Side Gallery, a preserved section of the Berlin Wall that draws thousands of visitors daily.
 
Many young people stay in hostels there to more easily imbibe both the Wall history and the fare of the local bars and clubs.  
 
Pot and kettle
 
Some commentators backed the mayor's stance: "Then there is the vomiting…that's why I moved out of beautiful Kreuzberg," one reader wrote. "The mood of the 80s and 90s is gone. Please introduce tourist-free zones." 
 
But many others gave short thrift to Herrmann's remarks, saying that Berliners themselves are as much a part of the problem.
 
Story continues below…
"Everyone in this district does exactly as they please, and now it's the tourists who are supposed to get disciplined?" one Berliner wrote.
 
Some also pointed out that there are enough public order regulations as it is, and these need only to be wisely enforced.
 
And just set out more public toilets, suggested another commentator, with regard to the public urination issue. Amsterdam has addressed the problem by setting up "pee pavillions" on popular pub crawl routes rather than with postcards, they wrote.
 
Berlin is the fastest growing tourist destination among Europe’s major cities, hosting almost 27 million overnight stays in 2013, up eight percent from 2012.
 
The city is tipped to soon challenge Paris (36.6 million nights) for the number two spot. But London still remains unbeatable, with 53.9 million nights.
 
The German capital’s top tourist attractions are the Reichstag parliament building and Brandenburg Gate, visited by 34 million people since 1999, along with the television tower on Alexanderplatz and Gendarmenmarkt.
 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man who stabbed Cologne mayor gets 14 years jail
Photo: DPA

The man who almost killed Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker when he stabbed her in the neck was sentenced to 14 years in jail on Friday.

Germany ups Turkey travel advisory after Istanbul attack
Berliners at the Brandenburg Gate mourn the victims of the Istanburl airport attack. Photo: DPA.

Germany on Friday warned its citizens to exercise particular caution if they travel to Turkey, following this week's deadly Istanbul airport attack.

Young Muslim takes on state on headscarf ban and wins
Aqilah Sandhu in court on Thursday. Photo: DPA

A 25-year-old lawyer has taken on the state of Bavaria over its attempts to stop her from wearing a headscarf - and scored a major victory.

Video
WATCH: Comic teaches about Ramadan on flying carpet
Photo: Screenshot from Dattelträger video.

A young comedian hopes his flying carpet stunt can help fight back against stereotypes - by becoming one.

Brexit vote
'It won't be romantic. But I need an EU passport'
Lucy Thomas (left), director at Give Something Back to Berlin. Photo: Private

British expats in Berlin tell The Local that a week after the Brexit vote they are still stunned - and are considering their next steps.

Town ravaged by floods tries to pick up the pieces
Rebuilding in Simbach. Photo: DPA

July 2nd should have been the start of a new life for Anna Kluchan and her husband. But then the floods came.

Lufthansa finally buries hatchet with cabin staff
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa and its cabin staff said Thursday they had reached an agreement on working conditions, bringing to an end a long and bitter industrial dispute that hit thousands of passengers.

Six burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Photo: DPA.

Uncertainty has kicked in over Brexit and what it may mean for Brits living in Germany.

Merkel demands German vote on EU free trade deal
Photo: DPA

Angela Merkel said the German parliament should be consulted on the EU's free trade deal with Canada, setting her on a collision course with the European Commission.

Red-faced pensioner declares war on pre-recorded sexline
Photo: DPA

An 84-year-old from Bavaria has reported a sex hotline to police after it let down his expectations of late night lust - and then charged him through the nose.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
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
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
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
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
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
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
7,912
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd