Berlin now has 750 millionaire residents - twice as many as in 2016, according to the Finanzamt. The majority live in the city's west. More live in Kreuzberg than Prenzlauer Berg. Strangely, the Finanzamt defines a millionaire as someone with over €500,000 in income and assets - a hang-over from the Deutschmark days, as DMs are worth half as much as Euros.
The former German royal family wants its castles back. The remaining Hohenzollerns are relatives of the Nazi-supporting Kaiser Wilhelm II, who abdicated in 1918. His descendants are trying to claim compensation from the states of Berlin and Brandenburg, including artworks from museums, and Schloss Cecilienhof in Potsdam, where they want to live rent-free.
Berlin has introduced a rent freeze. All rents will be capped at their current level for five years, backdated to mid June. Landlords who breach the cap face huge fines. The city is now also talking about introducing rent controls for commercial properties to protect shopkeepers.
Electric scooters have been here only a few weeks, and already we’ve had at least 20 registered accidents. One man lost a few teeth in a crash. A woman was stopped in a park in Prenzlauer Berg rolling along with her dog on a lead. Several have been caught extremely drunk. Drivers are not allowed on the sidewalk, can't take passengers, and can't leave the scooter blocking a footpath. The public transport network has declared that you need to buy a bicycle ticket if you bring an e-scooter on to a bus or train. They've been banned from Tempelhofer Feld.
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#47 Seize that Pad Thai
Berlin now has two top level football teams after FC Union jumped up to the Bundesliga by winning a play-off match. FC Union started back in the DDR. Their die-hard fans actually helped rebuild the stadium in Köpenick with their own hands. Maybe they could help finish BER? Enjoying the heat? Spare a thought for horses pulling tourist carriages in the city center. New rules now apply - carriage operators have to stop if air temperature in the shade reaches 30 degrees Celsius. There’s been another attempt to crack down on the food sellers in Thai Park. Police and Ordnungsamt officers raided the park on a recent Saturday. But a district official revealed it was all for show. Arne Herz from the CDU said: “We don’t want to ruin the market, we just want to show the residents that we’re doing something.” Get ready for a rent increase letter. Berlin’s landlords association has advised its members to try to increase rents by as much as possible before June 17. That’s because the city government is working on a new law that would freeze everybody’s rent for the next five years. Landlords are terrified, and are racing to squeeze out one last rent rise first. Residents are being advised not to agree to any rent increase without consulting a renter’s association first.
#46 Swap your apartments for an airport?
New f#€k ups have been discovered at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Builders used plastic Dübel, or wall anchors, to screw the fire safety system in place. Plastic anchors can melt and shouldn't have been used. The planned opening date of October 2020 is again in doubt. Hear more about BER on our spin-off series: www.radiospaetkauf.com/ber. The campaign to trigger a referendum on property ownership in Berlin only began a few weeks ago. Organizers say they have already collected almost enough signatures to go to the next round. The campaign - Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen - aims to forcibly seize apartments from private companies that own thousands of properties.
Public transport workers have won a pay rise after holding two major strikes. The BVG has reached agreement with unions representing U-Bahn, bus and tram drivers. That means there will be no further strikes.
Several of Berlin’s outdoor pools are already open. From today, you can go for a swim at Strandbad Wannsee, Sommerbad Kreuzberg, and Sommerbad Wilmersdorf.
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This podcast was presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by radioeins.
#45 BVG Hearts Graffiti
Berlin is a noisy city, and it's getting louder. Stats show police cars activated their lights and sirens 158,000 times last year - or more than 400 times a day. That's a 5% increase on the previous year. The famous open-air karaoke sessions in Mauerpark can go ahead again after the Pankow authorities reversed their plan to close the event down. Authorities were refusing to issue the regular permits due to nearby construction work. After a public outcry, the authorities backed down. Apparently it wasn’t so hard to move a few fences around after all. Expect the singing to resume sometime around Easter. The BVG says more than 41,000 square meters of its Ubahn carriage walls were graffitied last year - 20% more than the previous year. They plan to stick yellow heart stickers on top of graffiti to annoy the vandals. Our next live show is Sunday March 31 at Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. Come along! More info here: https://bit.ly/2HKPN83 This episode was presented by Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by radioeins.
#44 No More Ausländerbehörde
The Ausländerbehörde will soon no longer exist - in name only. The much feared foreigner's office will be rebranded as the Landesamt für Einwanderung (Regional Department for Immigration). Snappy, right? More than 13.5 million tourists visited Berlin last year, a new record The city is this year trying to discourage visitors from coming to party in Kreuzberg on May 1. The formerly revolutionary event is going to be scaled down. Residents want the event to continue, but more quietly please. BVG workers could go on strike again in the coming weeks. They're still negotiating a pay increase with the city government. U-Bahn drivers are currently paid around 40% less than S-Bahn drivers. The Berlin Feminist Film Week is on until March 13. It’s taking place at the Berliner Union Film, a historic studio on the south-east edge of Tempelhofer Feld. Check it out: www.berlinfeministfilmweek.com Come along to our next live recording on March 31 at the Comedy Cafe Berlin in Neukölln. This episode is presented by Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern, and brought to you by radioeins.