• Germany's news in English

The best of Berlin in April

Exberliner · 4 Apr 2009, 12:36

Published: 04 Apr 2009 12:36 GMT+02:00

Web geeks meet in the flesh

Born three years ago as a blogger get-together, the re;publica conference has morphed into an expanded ‘social media’ shindig this year. It takes place at the Kalkscheune and the huge Friedrichstadtpalast, a rather bizarre venue for something so forward thinking. Under the motto “shift happens,” Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales and Creative Com¬mons instigator Lawrence Lessig will be headlining discussions involving more than 100 other speakers. The topics will range from the Atheist Bus Campaign (its slogan “there’s probably no God - now stop worrying and enjoy your life” helped it raise almost €160,000 in online donations) to the huge impact Obama’s web campaign had on the American elections.

Don’t despair if you find the program a tad serious (“Health 2.0” or “The Future of News,” anyone?): there will be plenty of time to discuss LOLcats and Rickrolling at the Saturday night party. /CN

Re;publica ´09, Friedrichstadtpalast & Kalkscheune, www.republica.de/09. April 1-3; one-day tickets are available at the door for the Friedrichstadtpalast events, presale tickets are sold out.

Brewing up the avant-garde

It’s hard to go out in this city without hearing at least one jaded hipster lament the “death” of Berlin, longing for the lost 1990s when a reunited cold war battlefield served as a sort of post-apocalyptic playground – a haven for anarchist squats, illegal clubs and unbridled liberalism. Tacheles is living proof of the city’s self-cannibalization. What was once an open living space for artists and romantics has become little more than a tourist attraction. But fear not, fellow dreamers: Berlin is alive and well, and the spirit that once haunted Tacheles has found a new home at the old Berliner Kindl brewery in Neukölln.

The space is massive and mostly untapped. Wandering through the building’s labyrinthine basement and looming tower, you’ll stumble upon artists scattered about, at work and play in its crumbling nooks and filthy crannies. One group pulled together installations, musicians, and dirt cheap beer for an opening in March, but the growing community is still largely unorganized: it lacks a website and any coherent management. There’s no one to guide you through or take your money, but those bold enough to drop in can experience firsthand what’s bound to become a nerve center for the emerging Kreuzkölln art scene.

Rent is paid and the space is owned, but Alte Berliner Kindl Brauerei’s DIY attitude will bring you back in time: forget what the cynics say – Berlin isn’t kicking the bucket anytime soon. /NH

Alte Berliner Kindl Brauerei, Werbellinstr. 50, Neukölln, U-Bhf Boddin¬str.

Bike season prep

Don’t trust what the weather tells you: to check if spring has arrived, keep your eye out for Deutsche Bahn's top-tuned rental bikes. They are the bomb. Just pick up one up where and when you see it, call the number listed below… and you're good to go. These little monsters may look like high-tech granny bikes, but they combine the speed of a city two-wheeler and the agility of a BMX. They’ll send you flying over curbs at the blink of an eye. If you're looking for a free ride, you may be lucky enough to spot an unlocked bike, but beware: Big Brother Deutsche Bahn is following you by satellite. /CN


-Register at www.callabike.de or telephone 07000 522552 if you want to use a bike. They speak English.

-You only pay for the time you are riding. Payments can be made from MasterCard, Visa or a German bank account.

-You can use them all over city, but the bikes must be returned within the S-Bahn ring

-Standard rates: €0.08 per minute of cycling time; €0.06 if you have a BahKarte. The maximum charge is €9 for 24 hours.

Story continues below…

Art hunting

While Easter egg hunting this April, keep an eye out for something a little different – tucked away amongst the trees and bushes you might find a small white doll strung up from a branch or a white-painted helmet hanging in the boughs. Nike, a 67-year-old eccentric from Copenhagen whose eyes sparkle and glisten with wicked teenage innocence, carefully placed them around Berlin’s most popular parks: Volkspark Friedrichshain, the Tiergarten and Kreuzberg’s Victoria Park.

“This is real public art,” says the Danish painter. “It’s for people to look at for free, to pick up and bring home for a while or move to a place they find more suitable.”

There’s no edifying message behind Nike’s playful art; the fragility of the dolls and the helmets – which resemble eggshells – conjure up parental feelings, while the coat of white paint symbolizes peace and protection. Both elements click into place when you see the tags Nike attaches to each one: she asks treasure hunters to donate to a charity of their choice or to extend the idea in whatever way they wish. /MCK

Click here for more from Berlin's leading monthly magazine in English.

Exberliner (editor@exberliner.com)

Today's headlines
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd