The Local’s year in review

The Local's year in review
Photo: DPA
As 2010 kicks off, The Local takes a look back at some of the stories that caught our attention during the past year in Germany.


The year started on a tragic note for Dieter Althaus, the premier of the eastern German state Thuringia, after he killed a woman in a skiing accident in Austria. The incident put him in a coma and hastened the end of his political career.

A British publisher caused a stir by republishing Nazi-era newspaper clippings accompanied by historic analysis.

And in our travel section, Mark Worth took the time to find out that Bavaria has more to offer than just men in short leather trousers and beer.


Pope Benedict XVI faced growing criticism in Germany for his decision to lift the excommunication of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson.

Germany also mourned the passing of the country’s most famous prostitute, Domenica Niehoff, who gained fame for being an advocate for the rights of sex workers in the 70s and 80s.

David Wroe headed to Saxony to track down the country’s most controversial canines – wolves – which have returned to Germany two centuries after being hunted to extinction.


Three people died after Cologne’s historical archive building collapsed into a nearby metro tunnel.

And a teenage gunman in the southwestern town of Winnenden shot dead 15 people in one of Germany’s worst school massacres.

In happier news, it was announced in March that Berlin was to get its very own museum for the Currywurst – Germany’s answer to the hotdog.


No Angels pop star Nadja Benaissa was arrested on charges of grievous bodily harm for having unprotected sex with several partners without telling them she was HIV positive.

FC Bayern Munich fired Jürgen Klinsmann after just eight months as coach following a disappointing showing from the Bavarian football giants.


The city of Berlin marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by thanking pilots who participated in the airlift.

A former West German police officer who infamously shot a protestor in 1967 was found out to have worked for communist East Germany’s secret police the Stasi.

And in a special editorial for The Local, English musician and Berlin resident Joe Jackson explained why he’s delighted Germany’s smoking ban appears to be unravelling faster than a self-rolled cigarette.


What better way to welcome the Teutonic sun than with a cold brew and tasty sausage? The Local offered up a sampling of Germany’s best beer gardens as the summer started.

But the summer sun didn’t keep the eastern German city of Leipzig from becoming a Mecca for thousands of gothic scene fans for four days of gloomy goodness. Rebecca Miller documented the darkness.

US President Barack Obama also started a solemn two-day mission of World War II remembrance in the eastern German city of Dresden in June.


Facing accusations of racial insensitivity, the Dresden Zoo was forced to rename a baby mandrill called ‘Obama’.

After a Muslim woman was stabbed to death in a Dresden courtroom by a right-wing extremist, Der Tagesspiegel’s Andrea Dernbach commented on Germany’s problematic relationship to Islam.

Having just been promoted to the Bundesliga’s second division, Berlin football club Eisern Union in July inaugurated its newly renovated stadium – rebuilt by the loving hands of its devoted fans. Ben Knight helped out for a day.

Giving new meaning to German wildlife, road kill reported by a driver in the state of Lower Saxony turned out to be a drunk badger taking a nap.


Germany’s general election campaign hotted up as one Berlin politician unveiled posters with imagery of herself – and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Often called Germany’s answer to Britain’s Jamie Oliver, star chef Tim Mälzer has opened up his own restaurant in Hamburg. Joseph Corcos bellied up to the table.

And The Local’s series “Making it in Germany” presented John Doyle, an American comedian with a knack for turning the foibles of expat life into German-language stand-up on stages across the country.


Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives won Germany’s general election on Sunday, paving the way for a centre-right coalition with the Free Democrats.

But before the vote, The Local had plenty of special election coverage, including interviews with parliamentary candidates from non-German backgrounds.


Twenty years ago in October, East Germany’s communist regime celebrated its 40th anniversary while people took to the streets. Der Tagesspiegel’s Matthias Schlegel reported on the peaceful protests that would bring down the Berlin Wall.

Germany’s only known wild elk, or moose to North Americans, was found dead in the state of Hesse, only days after officials tranquilised and moved the animal called ‘Knutschi’ by his fans.

Brigitte, one of Germany’s most popular glossy women’s magazines, announced it would no longer use models in photo spreads in response to changing ideas about beauty.


November was all about the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Local had plenty of special coverage of the historic event, including lots of great features and analysis.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall rectified East Germany’s biggest crime, but as David Wroe reported, many of the communist regime’s victims are still seeking justice for other misdeeds two decades later.

The shelves of Berlin’s souvenir shops are filled with small, spray-painted pieces of concrete mounted in Plexiglas. Ben Knight investigated whether they are real chunks of the Wall or just a scam for tourists.


Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled in December Berlin’s liberal opening hours for shops were unconstitutional, agreeing with Christian churches that Sundays must be protected from allegedly wanton consumerism.

A botched NATO air strike responsible for the tragic deaths of scores of civilians threatened to derail Germany’s military engagement in Afghanistan.

Plans to build a futuristic new train station in Stuttgart sparked concerns the project is too expensive and will destroy the city’s architectural heritage.

Of course, The Local had plenty of special Christmas coverage this holiday season.

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