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Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie gets McDonald's

AFP · 29 Dec 2009, 18:16

Published: 29 Dec 2009 18:16 GMT+01:00

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The 120-seat restaurant will be opposite a museum dedicated to the Berlin Wall that used to divide the city, and hopes to be selling its burgers, fries and other products from mid-2010, a spokeswoman told news agency AFP.

The 600-square-metre (6,500-square-feet) location overlooks where Soviet and US tanks famously faced off in 1961.

Spokeswoman Christiane Woerle told AFP said that McDonald's, which has come to symbolise US capitalism more than any other firm, has applied for planning permission with the German authorities.

Checkpoint Charlie was the main crossing point for foreigners between East and West Berlin from the post-war division of the city until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After the communist East German authorities erected the Berlin Wall overnight in 1961 as an "anti-capitalist protection barrier," the crossing point expanded over the decades to include several traffic lanes.

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city is barely recognisable, having undergone such an architectural metamorphosis that visitors find it hard to tell what was West Berlin and what was East.

The area around Checkpoint Charlie is no exception, with the path of the Berlin Wall now marked by a line of cobblestones and only an open-air gallery showing tourists how the border crossing used to look.

It is a major tourist attraction nonetheless, with coach loads of visitors flocking to buy souvenirs and to pose in photos with enterprising locals dressed as Soviet and Allied soldiers, who also stamp passports for a fee.

The landmark is home to a reconstruction of a border booth behind sandbags as well as a replica white sign informing people they are either leaving or entering the "American Sector" in English, Russian, French and German. Above the hut there is a large photo of a Soviet soldier, and on the other side, as you head south down Friedrichstrasse into the former West Berlin, a US serviceman.

McDonald's is no stranger to opening in sensitive places, including in the same building as Prague's Museum of Communism, across the street from Windsor Castle in Britain - and in the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In Berlin, the "Golden Arches" logo will adorn a building currently occupied by a myriad of eateries including a sushi restaurant, a kebab outlet, a pizzeria and a Subway all collectively known as "Snackpoint Charlie."

Story continues below…

Berliners on the whole seem pleased.

"I think it's great," Alexandra Hildebrandt, who runs the Wall museum, told Bild newspaper. "Checkpoint Charlie symbolises the United States, and so does McDonald's. They go well together."

"McDonald's is definitely a gain for every local and tourist. Because the food here was rubbish," said Matthias Fischer.

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Your comments about this article

19:24 December 29, 2009 by Thames
Has Matthias Fischer actually looked what goes into McDonalds food?

Now that's rubbish. The article quotes a few people one who runs the Wall museum and than confidently proclaims "bErloners on the whole seem pleased.' I am sure you could find three people who wish the wall was still there. Does that mean on the whole Berliners were pleased with the wall. The Local needs to write better articles.
20:28 December 29, 2009 by LMFAO
"I think it's great," Alexandra Hildebrandt, who runs the Wall museum, told Bild newspaper. "Checkpoint Charlie symbolises the United States, and so does McDonald's. They go well together."

"McDonald's is definitely a gain for every local and tourist. Because the food here was rubbish," said Matthias Fischer.

21:10 December 29, 2009 by Jibzy
Germany..if she wants to preserve any diginty..any purity in its history..should NOT allow this to happen. This wud be a disgrace to an entire nation.. How about you open a doner shop next to the Lincoln memorial....

Damn..if this happens i'm seriously gonna hate German politicians.

Reminds me of a song by Rammstein..Amerika
21:27 December 29, 2009 by cleavage
I HATE McDonalds because it's CRAP TRASH food.

Unthinking idiots buy from there. Just go into one and LOOK at the people that buy. If you are the least bit discerning, you'll see what I see. Trash people eating trash food.

It's not that I give a dam about "Check point Charlie" as it's simply a tourist trap that anyone with half a brain would avoid at all costs.


How about fast healthy food instead?
00:57 December 30, 2009 by Meringer
I do not like McDonalds food at all but I don not go around insulting those that do (you called them trash). McDonald's is a hugely popular business for a reason, people like it. But hey, some folks like oysters, some like snails, some like McDonalds, I don't like either of the aforementioned foods but I do not judge those who do. Having said all that I am against opening this type of business near landmarks, not because of their food but because they are mostly garishly and harshly decorated and take away from the atmosphere of the locaton.
08:30 December 30, 2009 by ovbg
@cleavage, loosen up a little. I'm not a big fan of McDonalds either, but it's just a hamburger chain. If you don't like it, don't eat there but there is no reason to insult those that do.

Matthias Fischer in the article was quite correct in saying that the food in that area was rubbish anyway which says a lot if McDonalds is an improvement, and the current horrible restaurants were not even chains from memory.

Of course, why this is even a news story I have no idea.

BREAKING NEWS: A restuarant opens at Check Point Charlie. Woopie do.
20:59 December 30, 2009 by wxman
Have you ever noticed how liberals are always trying to force the rest of us to do what they want (eat "healthy"), but the rest of us never ever try to force them to do what we like? That's because the rest of us are freedom-loving and would never assume to tell others what to do. We also know the correct spelling of the word damn. Unless of course, he meant not giving a dam as in, I don't give a huge-concrete-wall-that-holds-back-water about Checkpoint Charlie.
18:58 December 31, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Jibzy your only problem with McDonalds is your hate for america, end of story. And cleavage, you and all your nature lovers can eat all the healthy food you want, but don't try and tell the rest of the world they cant enjoy a good coke and hamburger. I myself like a good lobster tail with deep fried shrimp on the side and of course a good pepsi or coke to wash it down, oh I also forgot to mention the very high calorie cup of melted butter for my lobster tail, included with that is a bottle of tarter sauce for my shrimp, also high in calories and fat I might add.
21:04 December 31, 2009 by ErickDDiaz
Mc Doo Dooo! I cant believe it whats next?????? The entire area should be memorialized those who died trying to cross , torchored, shot , silenced.. Well I guess it will help the local economy , ill stop bye for coffee.. I give in.
07:16 January 1, 2010 by wenddiver
What a wonderful symbol of the truimph of Freedom and the west.
00:46 January 4, 2010 by sc123
they should note that Guantanamo bay is being closed:(
16:13 January 4, 2010 by deep_schismic
Well I guess this will only match the Starbucks that graces the world with its presence next to the Brandenburger Tor...this is sick, really.

In Barcelona, at the Sagrada Família there's a KFC, McDonald's and Burger King within a couple of minutes from the place..
21:17 January 4, 2010 by wenddiver
Why would McDonalds be a problem? Ruin the memories of happy days when the Left could shoot normal Germans for escaping???? Hopefully it will become a monument to free enterprise,free choice and free travel, packed with low price high quality consumer goods, where Germans can go to forget about ignorant political types like Marxists and Soviet Stooges.

That's what the world fought for, the right to have a cheese burger or Cadbury chocolate bar or watch the Japanes Cartoon of your choice.

That's why the GI's were there.
16:00 January 6, 2010 by lordwilliams629
Face it Mcdonalds is world wide, people need to lighten up and get over the fact that it's american owned, it's so big that when most people see it they no longer connect the american side of it. In fact don't be surprised if one day Mcdonalds gets bought out by somebody in japan or china, what i'm trying to say more than anything is for you america haters that see this as an american symbol, get over it and move on to something else, cause Mcdonalds is just to world wide, this is one you america haters lost.
21:29 January 6, 2010 by strahlungsamt
Check Point Charlie is a long lost cause. There is no original part of it left in its original position. The sign was stolen and the new one is fake, the line in the road was taken inside the museum and the house is a reconstruction (the original is in Zehlendorf at the allied museum).

The House on CPC museum was very informative back in the day, full of descriptions of all the various escapes. Today it has about half the escapes and the rest of it is Neocon / Right wing German propaganda. Before it cost 3DM to get in, now it's 9.90 Euro. Besides, there is nothing really new or interesting going on there.

When the Traenenpalast (the checkpoint at Friedrichstrasse station) as being sold off, the museum did nothing (I thought they would be the first ones to react). As someone who travelled a lot in the Communist East back in the day, I found this offensive.

Mrs Hiltebrandt is a total ditz. When her husband was alive, the museum actually did interesting things. Now it's just a shrine for Ronald Reagan and his Neocon fantasy world.
04:27 January 8, 2010 by wenddiver
The McDonalds idea came from America, but the companies stock is publicly traded (symbol MCD). There are probably as many foreign owners as there are Americans, but that doesn't stop uneducated people from repeating the old falsehoods about the company spit out by the Soviet propaganda machine during the cold war, like they haven't ever had an original idea themselves, since 1945.

The comon uniting factor of the stock holders is making a decent profit, by investing in a true blue chip stock, not American citizenship. Chances are your local franchise is owned by a German national who wants to pass on a secure fiture to his children and not just a bunch of empty government promises.
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