Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, this month sends you out to bridge the gap between amateur and artist, take a visit to Neverland (not the ranch) and travel around the city balancing on a two-wheeled gizmo. "/> Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, this month sends you out to bridge the gap between amateur and artist, take a visit to Neverland (not the ranch) and travel around the city balancing on a two-wheeled gizmo. " />
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The best of Berlin in July

Exberliner, Berlin's leading English-language magazine, this month sends you out to bridge the gap between amateur and artist, take a visit to Neverland (not the ranch) and travel around the city balancing on a two-wheeled gizmo.

The best of Berlin in July
Photo: DPA

Bridging Art

The Open Air Gallery at the Oberbaumbrücke (the bridge that connects reunification children Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg) organises its seventh edition, seeking to raise last year’s 40,000 visitor mark even higher.

The flow of traffic at the famous bridge will be stopped twice this summer to grant amateur and on-the-rise art some well-deserved space: More than 100 paintbrush wavers and clay shapers from around the globe will display, sell and spread their wares of Pop, Surrealist, avant-garde or post-something art. If your party-frenzied best bud claims he can’t make a goddamn thing out of fine art, drag him by the ear and let the DJ’s beats soothe his primitive behaviour.

No modern public art event would (alas) be complete without the direct involvement of the audience, so a 120-metre-long paper will be rolled out in the middle of the bridge to incite the visitor to prove his or her artistic skills. In the end, if that strange-looking vase that is reminiscent of your last trip to Mexico is way out of your budget, you can cut out a piece of the giant canvas and take home a real, spontaneous sample of art for free./DH

Open Air Gallery 2009, Oberbaumbrücke Friedrichshain/Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Schlesisches Tor, S+U Warschauer Str., August 2, 10-22

Stranded in Neverland

If Konrad Kinard had stayed in his native Texas, he would have become some sort of enemy of the state. But, luckily for us, he discovered the world and after surfing the as-yet ungentrified 1990s in Berlin, New York and London, and witnessing the McDonaldization of the free world in the present decade, he settled down on planet Kreuzberg.

In late January, Kinard started up a bar that has been gaining notoriety ever since, especially among the ever-faster growing community of Americans who love to get together to share their common hatred for America.

The S.I.N. bar is much more than meets the eye of the oblivious neighbour in need of a pack of cigarettes. Its regular program features a nutritious artistic palette of peculiar talents: a DJ who spins records ranging from Bluegrass to Mozart in a coherent flow, a solo guitarist who recycles old foot pedal effects and the highlight each month is the Anti-Slam: a poetry battle where the crappiest verse triumphs. German and English contestants must improvise a poem in less than 15 minutes and read it out in the opponent’s language. It’s harder than it looks – just try rhyming ‘unicorn’ with ‘Becks’…/DH

S.I.N. Bar | Schönleinstr. 6, U-Bhf Schönleinstr. Tue-Thu 21-2, Fri-Sat 21-late, tel. 6920 5103, www.sin-bar.de

Segway Kult-Tour

Like a cross between skiing and riding a horse, the Segway is by far the best way to release your inner child on a visit to Berlin. Travelling at up to 20km/h and with a battery range of 35km, these strange, vacuum cleaner look-alikes are perfect for city tours. For €65, you’ll find yourself bopping around the centre of town and the city’s most famous sites, with pauses for anecdotes and beer drinking (but be moderate: one drunk Dutch tourist drove his right into the Spree!).

The Segway has all sorts of balancing gadgets and speed gizmos to prevent you from ending up like our flying Dutchman. It is so intuitive, it turns at the slightest nudge of the handlebars – so, on second thought, it’s probably more obedient than a horse and safer than skis. If the price sounds a bit steep, persuade your boss to pay for a team-bonding exercise: it’s apparently the done thing these days./JB

Kunstverein Friedrichstadt | Chauseestr. 124, U-Bhf Zinnowitzer Str., Tel 2759 4937, three-hour city tours at 10:00 and 15:00 www.segway-kult-tour.de

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BERLIN

EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

Shops
If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

Leisure
2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

Hairdressers
For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

Transport
3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.

 

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