• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
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.
 
"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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
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.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

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