The Bonn Women's Museum – World's first squatted Museum

The Bonn Women's Museum
© Wikimedia Commons Autor: Hans Weingartz

Marianne Pitzen is a self-effacing artist who found a need and filled it. Pitzen was born in Stuttgart on 29 May 1948 and held her first official art gallery exhibit no more than 21 years after her birth.  Obviously, Pitzen wastes no time getting done what needs to be done.  The need she found in the late ’70s was a lack of female influence in the art world and her solution was the founding of the Bonn Women’s Museum—which now addresses not only the need for more female influence in the world of art, but also numerous feminist issues that touch upon the emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, social, and educational oppression of women.

The implied rationale is that it is utter foolishness to hamstring 50% of a nation’s talent in order to adhere to a crippling, grotesque, absurd, destructive, and pervasive philosophy of male chauvinism.

The Founding of the Bonn Women’s Museum

In 1981, artists and architects collaborated in the creation of a place for women’s art and women’s history in a vacant department store in Bonn’s old town.  “Actually, we intended that it should be a museum only for that summer,” said Pitzen, and the Bonn city fathers had agreed; however, rather than withdraw from the vacant department store several months later as agreed, they remained.  It was the world’s first squatters’ museum and, since then, the Bonn Women’s Museum has become an integral part of the Bonn museum landscape.  In retrospect, Pitzen confirmed that “we could not immediately tell the city what we had planned.”

The Museum in Danger

On 12 October 2014, Die Welt reported that Pitzen, an avowed feminist, is simultaneously a product of and a proponent of the women’s movement in Germany and throughout the world.  She frequently organized quite effective demonstrations against male domination of the art world.  This growing awareness led inexorably to her founding the Bonn Women’s Museum in 1981—the first of its kind in the world—only to have the Bonn city fathers push for its closure no later than 2019, despite Pitzen’s having won a €3,000 prize from the Foundation of Obstreperous Women and the political support of Ute Schäfer, the then-Minister for Family, Children, Youth, Culture, and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (15 July 2010 – 01 October 2015).

It took three years for the city to capitulate to Pitzen and her confederates and Pitzen is now the director of the officially recognized Bonn Women’s Museum and she continues in that capacity to fight the good fight.

Spotlight Exhibitions at the Museum

One of the Bonn Women’s Museum’s signal exhibits spotlighted by Die Welt (26 July 2014) was the plight of single parents, particularly single mothers, in the wake of their shabby treatment by federal and state legislators.  The federal and state governments—the administrations (officials and bureaucrats), the legislatures, and the judiciary—discriminated against single-parent families (20% of German families) vis-à-vis financial maintenance as well as income taxes and social law.  Single parents led lives of quiet desperation and Pitzen sought to rub the public’s nose in it.  “Making women’s problems visible is one of our most important tasks,” said Pitzen and backed up her commitment with an exhibit devoted to single mothers, holding that single mothers’ situations needed to be examined within the context of their history.  Of particular concern was the government’s paternalistic attitude toward single mothers and toward so-called illegitimate births.  Preferring to put a square peg into a round hole (“etwas Unmögliches machen wollen”), the government, stuck up to its waist in the repressiveness of the 18th and 19th centuries and still in organized religion’s thrall, assigned a father, i.e., a magistrate, to such children, thereby treating the mothers like children as well.  Pitzen’s efforts to liberate women and enlighten men put the fox into the henhouse (“den Bock zum Gärtner machen”).

Since its establishment, the Bonn Women’s Museum has sponsored more than 500 thematic exhibits—it prefers temporary exhibits in order to keep its messages fresh and relevant to visitors.  Its main cultural and academic thrusts continue to emphasize the contribution of female artists and art, both domestic and international, against a virtual relief map of art history and women’s history and in conjunction with simultaneous and, sometimes, spontaneous events.

Famous Artists at the Bonn Women’s Museum

The museum’s collection includes works from such legendary female artists as Käthe Kollwitz, Katharina Sieverding, Valie Export, Maria Lassnig, and Yoko Ono, a library-cum-archive focusing on specialist topics, including feminism, feminist politics, post-WWII art, and numerous other linked subjects.  The museums advisors regularly organize workshops, seminars, meetings, and other events of particular interest to female artists and the advisors have been instrumental in establishing similar museums worldwide.  For example, Berlin’s Frauenmuseum is linked with the Bonn Women’s Museum, which also supports the prestigious Gabriele Münter Prize for female artists and which regularly hosts art and design fairs and maintains its own publishing house, studios, and galleries.

The Bonn Women’s Museum is at Im Krausfeld 10, 53111 Bonn; telefon +49 228 691344.  Its hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1400-1800 and Sundays 1100-1800.  It is closed on Mondays.  Admission fees vary:  Individuals, €6,00; Concessions & Groups of 5 or more, @ €4,50; and Students, €3,00.  The museum’s URL is and its eMail is  Don’t merely visit this museum.  Start your own in your city.

German in Advertisement and Marketing

German in Advertisement and Marketing
© Pixabay

English is the language of advertisement and marketing and it is also often used by German companies to address international customers (or at least to pretend to do so). In the early past, German companies advertised their products with German phrases. The reasons were simple: It was the language of the customers. But with globalization and internationalization, they did not only become more global, but the companies and marketers also thought that the ads must be international. When TV advertisement became more and more common in the 1980s and 1990s, it was almost unthinkable for advertisers to use the German language. It just had the stigma to be stale and not cool. The times luckily have changed: German has become rather common in public advertisement – not only in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Advertisement in the past

In many cases in the past, the public relation agencies did not only use the English language but sometimes even abuse it. They mixed it with German words, made new English words up or just translated German phrases into English. The result was often just embarrassing. The reasons why a wrong English term would be better than a right German one have been common sense for a long time: The awful German language – like Mark Twain would say – has not only a harsh sound but also some very long words.

The Times are changing in Advertisement

But what has once been the reason why it was considered as unsuitable for advertising products for young and modern customers, it has become a symbol for reliability, efficiency and, especially in the last years, ecological thinking. Not only the so-called Energiewende has lead to the last mentioned, but also the fact that many new German products came up that see themselves as the counterpart to the established, often American companies. That’s why you would rather have a Club Mate or a Fritz Kola in a stylish bar in Berlin than a regular Coke. With that development, also the advertisers view on Germany and the German language has changed and also the Germans seem to have become more and more at peace with themselves over the last decade. Also, others see the country in a new light: Just take a look at Berlin as the new place to be for all the creative young people from New York to Tel Aviv. Besides all that: Puns and jokes are just much funnier and also understandable when you tell them in your own tongue.

The new Selfperception of German Companies

But not only in matters of consumption, (self-) perception changed. Particularly in one of Germany’s biggest industry – the automotive industry – companies like BWM or Volkswagen realized what makes their products attractive to foreign drivers: Reliability, quality and technology. Those attributes are also a common cliché about Germany itself and that’s why they also started to rethink their public appearance as German companies by displaying it also by language. The well-known slogan by Audi “Vorsprung durch Technik” just was the beginning. Other companies followed, often also with ironically portraying the cliché of the “boring” German (like VW did in those ads).

German nowadays is not the unpleasant sound of clicking heels anymore, but has become a symbol of progress and reliability – and in some cases even of self-mockery.

The Weserburg Museum of Modern Art in Bremen

The Weserburg Museum of Modern Art in Bremen
© Jürgen Howaldt via Wikimedia Commons

Referring to itself as “the museum in the river,” the Weserburg is being unnecessarily and endearingly modest as well as delightfully symbolic.  This superb museum contains one of Germany’s—and the world’s—most significant assemblages of modern art and, as such, is certainly the jewel in the crown as far as the City of Bremen is concerned.  As for the symbolism, it’s true that the museum is smack dab in the center of the Weser River, like the prow of an indomitable ship, at the westernmost tip of a 6.5-kilometer spit of land (the Teerburg Peninsula) jutting westwards.

The History of the Weserburg

The Weserburg Museum of Modern Art is a natural extension of an idea that began almost three decades after World War II, when the building complex lay in ruins because of numerous air raids.  Following the war, the building complex was rebuilt and, in 1949, the Schilling Brothers, who had owned the building complex and had operated there as a coffee importer and roaster since 1923, opened again for business—a business which lasted until 1973, when the Schilling Brothers closed the business permanently and sold the building complex to the City of Bremen.

Over the next 18 years, numerous artistic studios of all sorts apportioned and used the building complex’s spaces for cultural, artistic, and social events.  In 1980, in response to many casual suggestions from various social, artistic, and cultural advocates, a semi-organized movement, anchored by the City of Bremen, to dedicate the building complex’s use to develop a so-called collector’s museum gained momentum.  The organization officially established the museum in November, 1988, and officially opened it less than three years later in September, 1991.  Go to this site for a superb history of the Weserburg Museum and the building complex.

The Concept of the Museum

In a nutshell, a collector’s museum displays works owned by collectors.  From that simple idea, the Weserburg has developed a reputation for assembling breathtakingly broad and thorough exhibits comprising works lent by collectors worldwide.  In a 2015 telephone interview with the New York Times journalist Scott Ruben, Marta Gnyp, a Berlin art advisor, said that “. . . public museums have financial restraints, . . . [b]ut they are still attractive to private collectors.  Public institutions give a quality stamp and visibility to collections.”

In other words, private collectors, for the most part, want the general public to be able to enjoy what they themselves enjoy, but the private collectors simply don’t have the facilities to permit the general public regular access to their collections.  Enter the notion of collector’s museums.  Private collectors lend works to collector’s museums so that the general public can enjoy the works and, in return for this public service, the collectors bask in the reflected glory of their possessions.

The museum’s web site is  The museum is closed Mondays and open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1100-1800, except Thursdays until 2000.  The contact information is Teerhof 20; Bremen 28199; telefon 49–(0)421–59 83 9-0; and eMail is  Admission prices vary with age and group, but normally adults are €8, with special pricing for families, students & pupils, groups, classes, soldiers, the unemployed, the severely disabled, etc.

Fake-News in Germany and their Impact in public

Fake-News in Germany and their Impact in public
© Pixabay

After closely following the course of the US-Election, a couple of new terms entered my vocabulary – terms such as “Filter-Bubble” or “Fake-News”. And as Americans are always a little faster than most Germans in all things social media, I was not surprised when Fake-News and Filter Bubbles made the, well, news in Germany as well. But I wondered: Is that a thing in Germany too?

Fake-News in Germany?

The short answer: Absolutely. “News” proclaiming outright falsehoods or simply changing or falsifying actual facts in order to support certain sentiments are meandering through networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat and even made it to messenger apps such as Whatsapp, by sparking police investigations into the authors of specific items.

While the Fake-News-Discussion in the USA blew up to enormous proportions, including justifiable suspicions of clandestine operations by foreign secret service agencies, I asked myself: What kind of Fake-News do pop up in German social media? Who profits and who might launch them or at least push them ahead?

How to identify Fake-News in Germany

In case you are unclear about how to identify a news report as a purposeful falsehood, let me give you a few hints: It might be a cliché, but in Germany, truthful news tends not to be narrated in an (overly) exaggerated fashion. Furthermore, it is always a good idea to check the author and the respective website’s imprint for information. When it doesn’t really become clear who runs the site, it’s wise to be critical about its contents. Apropos contents: usually real news can be found on more than one news site. Are there different versions of the news (and not only copies of the exact same statement) on the web, it makes the report more plausible. In the case of images, it can help to reverse search an image using Google or other search engines in order to clarify whether a picture or film is actually showing the reported news or whether it has other origins.

Who uses this Tool in Germany?

Following inquiries of politicians from all major parties of the spectrum, it seems that only the right-wing AfD is deliberately pushing and using Fake-News to further their agenda and to mobilize possible supporters and voters. Research revealed that some of the high-ranking party officials even have strong (even proprietary) ties to multiple websites that are either hotbeds or active sources for such false information.

What are the main Topics?

Consequently, the most frequent topics of these deliberate falsehoods revolve around the refugee crisis, the fear of Islamic terror, and general Anti-Muslim as well as xenophobic sentiments – often including attacks on the established political parties and the government. In detail, this means reports of masses of refugees being secretly brought into the country by the government, false terror threats, and stories of (white German) women and children being raped by barbaric gangs of refugees. Actual incidents, such as the Berlin-Attack or the mass assaults on women in Cologne and Hamburg on New Years Eve 2015, do, of course, not make the situation any less difficult. But it’s not only the AfD and its supporters that spread Fake-News in Germany. There is a whole haystack of unrelated Fake-News providers out there. Often, respective site owners don’t actually care about the truthfulness of their site’s contents, as their sites are a mere business to generate income through ads.

The good news is that numerous media outlets, federal and state officials and municipalities, as well as actors from the civil society, are engaging in defusing the explosive that is Fake-News. Whether their efforts will succeed in assuring a more rationally and truthfully fought election campaign in 2017 remains to be seen. Website-owners such as companies like Facebook and Twitter have yet to prove that they will make good on their promises to fight the distribution of Fake-News in their networks.

Filmmaking in Germany – Let's go to the Kino!

Filmmaking in Germany - Let's go to the Kino!
© Pixabay


Part One:  Ante-Third Reich

Motion pictures were initially developed in the 1870s by the British American photographer Eadweard Muybridge, building on France’s Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre’s development of the positive photographic process and on England’s William Henry Fox Talbot’s negative photographic process, in order to prove the theory of the wealthy horse breeder and then governor of California, Leland Stanford, that all four hooves of a galloping horse leave the ground simultaneously.
Following the more than 35 years in which such films developed as popular novelties and ever more sophisticated curiosities without any serious artistic or narrative content, the notion of telling stories with motion pictures arose.  Germany was a leader in that movement and in 1910 began to produce a series of tasteful, distinctive, insightful, and reflective films based on stories.

One particularly effective example is the 1913 production of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Student of Prague, produced by Deutsche Bioscop GmbH (later bought outright by Babelsberg Studio along with affiliated production companies) and filmed in Berlin.  Today, Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam-Babelsberg, on the outskirts of Berlin, is the financial and production center not only for German filmmaking, but also for a majority of international, high-budget films.  It is the focal point of German artistic and professional filmmaking development.

Films such as The Student of Prague had a profound effect on viewers who were used to still photographs that captured the true “Kodak moments” of their lives, i.e., that portrayed people, locations, and events that marked incidents in their own lives.  Viewers often transferred this reinforced belief in their own photographs to the stories told through motion pictures, as if the plots, characters, locales, etc. were real, i.e., viewers “willingly suspended their disbelief” (“freiwillige Aussetzen der Zweifel”).  This aspect of filmmaking brought acceptance and much success to the motion picture industry.  Technological developments attributed to German filmmakers include the early projector and sound-on-film and contributed greatly to German filmmaking successes.

Filmmaking in World War I

World War I gave rise to the use of filmmaking to promote propaganda which promoted the fatherland and denigrated the enemy.  This new tack brought about the establishment of Universum Film AG (“UFA GmbH”) by the German military, ostensibly to combat foreign film competition, but also to promote German national interests and to coordinate and refine propaganda on behalf of the fatherland.  Because the war affected imports of foreign films, German filmmaking quickly took over all aspects of the German film market:  documentaries, weekly news reviews, feature films, etc., mixed with and influenced by the ever more sophisticated propaganda films.

After the war, UFA trended away from propaganda towards more commercially viable projects and, in the process, many German directors, executives, and stars, e.g., Ernst Lubitsch, Erich Pommer, Emil Jannings, Pola Negri, Conrad Veidt, and Lya de Putti, became more prominent and German filmmaking competed directly with Hollywood.  Unfortunately, in 1923 a series of poor business decisions brought UFA to the brink of bankruptcy and only a massive injection of capital by new owners and a restructuring of both its business model and its marketing plans managed to save it at the last minute.  After seven years of hard work and planning, UFA seemed to have weathered the economic storm.

On the creative front during this time, imaginative and ambitious German filmmakers stressed social issues and pragmatic rather than theoretical political matters presented in a documentary style that contributed to each film’s verisimilitude.  They replaced conventional filmmaking techniques with radical camera techniques, editing, and unconventional visual presentations.  A film’s storyline was no longer the sole source of information for the viewer.  The way a filmmaker told a story was as important and as effective as the story itself and, as often as not, the filmmaker never resolved the story’s conflict, leaving it to the viewer to create his/her own resolution—or lack of one—based on the realism, the ambiguity, and the viewer’s personal experience and imagination.  In effect, the fourth wall was breached to make each viewer a participant in the story.

German Expressionism

German filmmakers first brought expressionism—the effective use of realism, imagery, and symbolism to evoke viewers’ interests and attention—to the screen, most notably The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene), Nosferatu (Murnau), and The Golem:  How He Came Into the World (Boese & Wegener) and its development had a powerful effect on international filmmaking, particularly in France and the U.S.

New Objectivity

German expressionism gave way to social themes and realism which unabashedly spotlighted very controversial themes.  It evolved into so-called new objectivity (“Neue Sachlichkeit”), a filmmaking school which focused on the average, even mundane, lives of ordinary Germans as they related to the various components of society, e.g., literature, politics, commercialism, art, education, etc.  It highlighted the average German man-in-the-street’s pragmatic, day-to-day goings-on rather than on the philosophical aspects of their lives.  It also dealt bluntly with many quite controversial topics—topics that continue to plague societies worldwide even today:  illegal drugs, prostitution, abortion, homosexuality, etc.

German filmmakers then began to chronicle man’s struggle with nature, after which German filmmakers introduced animation, and then spectacular historical films which stirred patriotic feelings, finally ending up with so-called chamber dramas which provided an intimate examination of the bleak, desolate lives and petty dramas of ordinary people.  This somewhat mediocre artistic vein petered out as the Weimar Republic began its inglorious downhill slide in the few years before the Great Depression and war gripped Europe.  Part Two will discuss the years commencing with Hitler’s rise, through the war, and the fall of Nazism.

Bud Spencer – The Incarnation of the "Haudrauf-Film"

Bud Spencer - The Incarnation of the "Haudrauf-Film"
von Elekes Andor (Eigenes Werk) CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In the year of 2016, many beloved celebrities have gone, for example, the singer Prince or Lemmy from Motörhead. But another man died who was something like an icon for many people, not only in Germany. Bud Spencer died on June 27th. But his movies, his bon mots and all in all his life’s work will remain unforgotten. Let’s take a look back on his efforts and try to understand why he was such a beloved person for many Germans.

The beginning of his Career

Bud Spencer was born in 1929 as Carlo Pedersoli in Naples, Italy. Unlike his later appearance, he soon became very successful in sports, especially in swimming. He was a tall and athletic young man who gained many successes in the water. In 1949, the 20-years old Carlo won the national swimming championship, later he even became part of the Italian Olympic team and succeeded in the games of 1952 in Helsinki, 1956 in Melbourne and 1960 in Rome. But not only swimming was his big talent, but also in water polo (or in German, Wasserball). One of his greatest efforts in this game was winning the Italian championship with his team S.S. Lazio Rome and also winning a gold medal in the Mediterranean Games of 1955. 

Bud Spencer and Terrace Hill

At the same time, Carlo Pedersoli started his acting career, first in some shallow Italian movies, later also in western movies that have been very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. In this time, he also met the unknown actor Mario Girotti aka Terrance Hill. To make their names sound more international and also more western, Girotti changed his name and so did Pedersoli: He chose the name “Bud Spencer.” Both met again on another movie set and soon became a duo, many movies followed like “They called me trinity” or “I’m for the Hippopotamus.” All the movies had in common that both Spencer and Hill never got tired of beating up their enemies, most of the time in an extreme and sometimes even silly way. They both soon became the incarnation of the so-called “Haudrauf-Film.”

These movies are still all-time-classics and many people, also the youngsters, have seen them and can quote at least one sentence. Their extreme way of beating up people by making it look slapstick-like also influenced the German language today: The verb “Budspencern” means to beat up a group of people in a superior and somehow comical way. 

Although Bud Spencer started many other projects in his later life like becoming a politician, it is the movies that made him well-known around the world and especially in Europe. Many young people even admire him in the way of a cult that made him somehow iconic. As the city of Schwäbisch Gmünd asked the citizens for a name for a new to build a tunnel, of course, the suggestion “Bud-Spencer-Tunnel” won the polling. Thus, the city council refused to name the tunnel after Pedersoli but gave their public swimming pool his name: it is now known as the Bud-Spencer-Bad. Also, a hill near the city is now called Terrance Hill. But with all this honoring, Bud Spencer remained a modest man until his death. That’s one reason why so many people still admire him so much.

Löwenzahn – A German National Treasure

Löwenzahn - A German National Treasure
© Pixabay

Ask any German under 40 about Löwenzahn and chances are they’ll start humming a jolly tune. That tune is the well-known theme to German public channel ZDF’s longest-running kids’ TV show, Löwenzahn.

The show started in 1981 and accompanied generations of Germans as they discovered the world. Its presenter, “Erklär-Bär” (explainer character) Peter Lustig was a TV grandad to millions of people, becoming one of the country’s national treasures.

In February 2016, Germany said goodbye to Lustig as the show’s creator passed away following many years of illness. But his legacy continues in the show, still running in its 35th year.

What Happens on The Show?

Löwenzahn takes place in the Schrebergärten (allotments) of a fictional of city called Bärstadt. In every episode, Peter Lustig greeted the audience from his home in the Bauwagen, a disused builder’s trailer which he had converted into his home.

Peter Lustig (that is the actor’s real name) was a casual character dressed in dungarees. He represented the archetype of an alternative dropout, sharply contrasted with his neat and conservative neighbour Hermann Paschulke. In most episodes, Peter and his neighbour started off with a little chat (or occasional neighbourly spat).

These chats inspired many of Peter’s curious questions about the world.He found himself wondering “Warum ist das so?” (Why is it like that?). He presented film clips and went out into the world to explore. The episode topics included answers to many children’s questions like “Wie kommen die Löcher in den Käse?” (How do the holes get into the cheese?) or “Was ist eigentlich Blech? Was passiert, wenn es rostet?” (What is tin? What happens when it gets rusty?).

Alternative Attitudes and Environmentalism in Löwenzahn

Peter’s show promoted excitement about nature and environment for several generations of Germans.

Löwenzahn and its understated, chilled out presenter were a product of Germany’s green consciousness. Peter didn’t wear suits or live in an expensive home. He wasn’t a professor, and his appearance celebrated authenticity and challenged the status quo.

The Bauwagen was a showcase of self-sufficiency and DIY skills, showing how everyday “junk” can be upcycled and reused. In this way, engineer Peter Lustig showed generations of German children how to make something out of nothing.

Throughout the show’s run, nature and environment were important core topics. Progress was acknowledged, yet regarded with a little skepticism along with Peter’s trademark curiosity. And for decades the programme’s most famous catchphrase was a variant of “.. und jetzt machen wir den Fernseher…aus.” (And now we switch the TV… off)

Löwenzahn Continues

Löwenzahn stood out because it was not shrill or oversaturated like many other kids’ TV shows. Peter Lustig himself designed his character to promote a grown-up’s curiosity about the world. He valued learning at any age and invited his viewers into a world of tüfteln, forschen, entdecken (tinker, research, discover).

In 2007, Peter Lustig received the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande, Germany’s highest Order of Merit. His legacy is evident not only in the love and praise he received but also in the show’s ongoing success.

Today, Löwenzahn continues with a new character: Fritz Fuchs, played by comedian Guido Hammesfahr, took over the show and the Bauwagen in October 2006. The original cast has grown to feature more diverse characters and create a faster-paced version of Löwenzahn. Hammesfahr and Lustig know how much times have changed. Lustig joked that he’s happy not to compete with PlayStation in this interview with the Bild newspaper.

The show also maintains its theme of encouraging young viewers to get away from the TV for a bit and step out into the world. You can find out more about the current topics on Löwenzahn’s official website.

Im Gegenteil – “Slow Dating” Rises in Berlin

Online dating in Berlin
© pixabay

Im Gegenteil, Berlin’s slow-dating website, looks like a consumer glossy magazine website at first, comparable to Marie Claire or Esquire in the United States – and then you realize the “products” are people.
These are not celebrities either. They are singles, generally in their 30s, looking to find a partner. These singles can be gay or straight – but the end result is very hip.


Made with passion, time and love

The two founders, Jule Müller and Anni Kralisch-Pehlke, liken Im Gegenteil to a single’s magazine than a dating platform. Dating websites nowadays are quick and might not provide a glimpse into someone’s actual life – the profiles are more like checkboxes or filters, great for snap decisions but not so great for developing intimacy and connections. Im Gegenteil, on the other hand, takes about a day to construct each profile and takes photos of the applicant – not just any photos, but artful ones in the applicant’s own home or surroundings. That way, Kralisch-Pehlke says, “[if] you want to write to someone on our site, you have something to work with.”

“Only for Berlin´s hipsters?” “NO!”

The applicants are mainly in Berlin, but other areas have been added also, enabling people from Zürich and Köln to be featured on the website as well. And thanks to the Im Gegenteil team of bloggers and photographers, there are articles beneath the profiles – lending credence to the self-description of it as a singles’ magazine rather than a dating platform.
Unfortunately, this very hip and photogenic emphasis has led to some deriding Im Gegenteil for catering to Berlin’s hipsters – or hipsters in general. As someone who has lived in Brooklyn in New York, I can safely say that Im Gegenteil would not be out of place there either. But where is the line between helping the applicants look good and being derided for being the province of the exclusive?
Müller and Kralisch-Pehlke plan on expanding Im Gegenteil throughout Europe and possibly beyond, so maybe we will see it in places like London or New York. Time will only tell.

If your German is up to speed or you want to practice, you can look at Im Gegenteil here:
Currently, it is only offered in the German language, though hopefully in time will be localized to other languages alongside the expansion plans.

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