10 Facts about Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin

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10 things you didn’t know about Tempelhof Park

The first flight took place in 1909. It was made by the French aviator Armand Zipfel. Zipfel was born in Lyon and learned about mechanics in his father workshop for musical instruments.

The Tempelhof Airport opened on October 8th 1923. Its field was originally used for parades by the Prussian forces and followingly by the German army, up until World War One. Its first terminal was build in 1927. Tempelhof was one of the three busiest airports, along London’s Croydon and Paris’s Le Bourge, in Europe till the beginning of the second World War.

Lufthansa airlines was founded in Tempelhof Airport. On January the 6th 1926 Deutsche Lufthansa airlines was created out of the merger of two commercial airlines. Its fleet numbered 162 aircrafts and a staff of more than a thousand and a half. Lufthansa’s first flight took off on April of that year.

In 1934 the architect Ernst Sagebiel was selected by the Nazi government to built a new, larger terminal. After it’s completion, it was cited the “mother of all modern airports” thanks to its size. It had separate levels for arrivals, departures and logistics and an impressive façade of shell limestone.

During the Berlin blockade, Tempelhof was the sole transit point in and out of West Berlin. On June the 20th 1948, following the division of Berlin by the Allied forces, Soviet forces arbitrarily blocked all aceess points to West Berlin. Historians deem it a counteraction to the introduction of Deutsche Mark in West Germany. The Western Allies set up the Berlin airlift, during which 9000 tons of of supplies were dropped daily throughtout West Berlin.

The Tempelhof Airport closed down on October 2008. The city deemed, at the time, the airport unfit for continuance for a number of enviromental and economic reasons. Thanks to an initiative against the closure of the airport, a referendum was held few months later. 62% of the votes was against the closure yet it did not meet the legal requirmentes to challenge the city’s ruling.

Tempelhof opened two years later as a park. A budget of €60 million was decicated for the modification of the airport as a park, until 2017. An opening ceremony was held on the 8th and 9th of May of 2010.

In 2014 Berliners voted against the city’s proposion to develop a part of the Park. An estimate of 4500 homes, new commercial areas and a public library were planned for building across 25% of the area. 64% of the locals, voted against it. The result was not received genially by a number of media outlets. An editor of Die Welt wrote “In the Prussian capital, hippie culture is state policy”

A number of US film productions have used the airport buildings as a set. Films like the Bourne Supremacy, Steven Spieldberg’s Bridge of Spies and the latest Hunger Games franchise shot some of their scenes in the terminal.

It is now one of the biggest refugee centers in Europe. Since the beginning of the year vast numbers of refugees have been floaking to Germany. The Tempelhof Projekt, the agency developing the space, has been charged with the difficult task to house up to 7000 thousand refugees from Syria, Afganistan and Iraq. “It’s not a space designed for living” a spokeswoman told the New York Times.

Berlin-The Place to Study

where to study in germany
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The QS Best Student Cities list is published every year. This year the German capital is 9th while Munich ranked on the 11th place.

The Best Student Cities index calculates the most student-friendly cities in the world on 5 categories:

  1. University rankings: Calculated by the number of universities featured on the World University Rankings and a score depending on which ranking each institution has.
  2. Affordability: Calculated by the tuition fees index, the Big Mac and Ipad Index and the Mercer cost of Living Index. Many indicate that even a European capital, Berlin still has moderately cheap rents and stable living costs. As a result it got its’ highest marks in the affordability category.
  3. Student mix: Calculated by the volume of international students, the ratio of international to local students and the tolerance and inclusion index.
  4. Desirability: Calculated by the Economist’s Liveability Index, the Globalization and World Cities Index, the Safety and Pollution score by Numbeo and the Corruption Perceptions Index.
  5. Employer activity: Calculated by the number of universities domestic employers favour, a number of the universities international employers believe produced excellent graduates and the World Bank’s Youth Employment Bonus.

The city is also highly regarded among students all over the world, thanks to an increasing number of graduate and post-graduate courses in English. Berlin’s Freie Universität ranked 119th in the QS world university rankings. The city is considered acutely artistic for its museums and galleries. While the youngsters love it for its vibrant night life.

Paris tops the list as the world’s most student-friendly city, for a fourth year. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, told to Guardian: “Paris is proud to be ranked as the best world student city. Our youth represents our greatest strength and incarnates our greatest hope. We carry an ambitious politic to make youth able to blossom, be successful, be able to choose and to build its future. We will continue to support students by offering them opportunities, in an open, dynamic and creative city.”

The French capital continues to appeal to the majority of expat students for its international universities. Eighteen of them being among the world’s top 75. The city got high scores for its moderately low fees, averaging $2400 in 2014, and for its local students’ high aspects of employability.

London fell into the 5th position this year due to its high cost of living. The world’s leading financial hub is widely known for its acclaimed universities. The UCL, University College London, and the Imperial College ranked 7th and 8th in the world.

Montreal is placed on the 7th position. Its famous McGill University is 24th in the world, the city is also known for its International Jazz Festival. Montreal got a high score in the student mix category.

Lastly, the city of Munich reached the 11th place. Home to the headquarters of a number of famous German multinationals such as BMW, Siemens and Allianz. Munich got surprisingly its highest marks in the affordability category.


Germany Mourns over Paris Attack

One minute of silence fell all over Germany today, as people from all major cities gathered to mourn for the loss of 129 people in the Paris attacks over the weekend.

Locals and tourists gathered outside the French embassy in Berlin, just meters away from the Brandenburger Tor, to pay homage to those killed at the Paris attacks. The French ambassador Philippe Etienne joined the small crowd. On midday even Berlin’s S-Bahn trains haled their services as a sign of remembrance.

Political analysts now indicate that the German government is divided on the recent refugee crisis and seems quite likely to turn more austere.

Most Expats Search Work in Berlin

The City’s Startup Scene Keeps Growing

Young people move to Germany in waves. The country’s economy is booming thanks to its exports and a declining euro.

The question though is, where to go? More and more people choose Berlin. In a recent survey about entrepreneurship in Germany, the Deutsche Startup Monitor, the German capital tops the list with the biggest share of employees from other countries.

More than a quarter of the city’s workforce, 33% to be precise, comes from abroad. Employers estimate that number will keep growing within the coming years.

That is for a number of reasons. But mostly thanks to the city’s talented and diverse workforce. Young people decide to move here precisely because Berlin is so open to international ideas and movements. Making it in a way, the least traditional German city.

It’s the city’s vastness giving young artists the space to create while encouraging young entrepreneurs to take a risk and start a company.

Others also favour the labor legislation, in comparison to laws of other German states, allowing for flexible working relations. Hence new companies can find the right people in the critical stage of beginning. Leading to a startup in Berlin averaging 3.5 employees just the first year.

A number of multinational companies also choose to relocate their European offices here, indicating lower labor costs than other EU markets.

Berlin is thus beginning to compete with other major startup hubs such as London and New York. In the European Digital City Index of Startups, Berlin came 7th while Munich ranked in 10th out of 35 cities.

Some of the famous startups that can be found here are;

Soundcloud. An online streaming service, which was found in Stockholm and later relocated to Berlin. Its users can upload, record and share their own audio while a big part of its content is podcasts and interviews.According to a Bloomberg article, the page boasted 150 million users by this summer.

ResearchGate. A social network for scientists, its users can write reviews on others’ research articles. The company has created quite a buzz when Bill Gates decided to invest in it. According to its Wikipedia page it has more than 7 million users.

6WunderKinder.The company has been acquired by Microsoft since last June for almost 200$ million. It is famous for the Wunderlist, a ask management, cloud based application, for free but with extra features in paid. According to its data it currently has 13 million users.

These companies are part of an “information economy”, having as products heavily researched and filtered data. In that way they produce software products in comparison to most of the heavy German industries producing hardware.

You will find a number of events about people looking to connect with others or hire them for their startup in Berlin every other week. We suggest you keeping an eye on Silicon Allee and Factory Berlin.

If you liked this piece please feel free to share it below.

Appointment at Bürgeramt Berlin

How I got a new passport in less than 2 weeks

Yesterday I tried to get a new passport for my trip to NYC later this year. Therefore I had to go to any Bürgeramt in Berlin. But only very few ones are actually serving citizens without an appointment. The problem with appointments is that the next available appointment was about two month from now if I did not have an emergency.

In Case of an Emergency

An emergency would be for example if you have to plan travel and there is no more appointment available before you go. But you would have to prove documents the exact time of your journey.

Another emergency would be if you had lost your ID or passport or any other important document. But even in these emergency cases the local office can decide not to take you on without an appointment.

Unfortunately my case did not count as an emergency is there was an appointment end of August and my flight was only a few weeks later. But for my personal taste the time frame was way too narrow. So I decided to try my luck:

I waited one hour in vain

On their webpage they let me know that only the Bürgerämter in Kreuzberg are still offering a chance to get things done without an appointment. So I was heading towards the Bürgeramt Yorkstraße at about seven in the morning. I grabbed a quick coffee to go and was expecting to be one of the first in line. And I was lucky as there were only 10 people waiting in front of me. As I was waiting till about 8 o’clock send me an employee showed up. She was proclaiming that anyone without an appointment could go home except if they came for certain matters. Unfortunately applying for new passport wasn’t one of these matters. So I ask her what I should do as the next appointment I could find in the Internet was two months from now. And she told me that on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 AM until 8:30 AM one could go to their webpage and check for spontaneous appointments. Those appointments would be for that same day. I was skeptical at first and called the hotline 115 explain the situation to them. They were simply not aware of such the possibility and just told me what I already knew, That they were no more appointments in the coming two months. So I decided to nevertheless wait a few more minutes and to ask at the information desk what they suggest I should do. I explained to them that I have heard their suggestion but also that I got contradictory information from the hotline. And ask them whether they would give me their word that their information was correct. The woman behind the counter promised me personally that I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment as mentioned in the hallway. I left the place after 90 minutes and rode home.

A Lesson in Trust

The following Monday at 7:30 a.m. I was checking the website and I couldn’t believe what I saw they were indeed several appointments available for that same day. The fact that I would have to drive through whole Berlin for example to Prenzlauer Berg, didn’t really matter to me. I was touched that the two women have been honest with me and decided to give it another try in the following two weeks. A week later I found a convenient appointment which I booked successfully. I went to the place the same day, applied for my new passport, paid for it and was told I could pick it up for days later. And so it happened.

I found one trick helpful: I went to the appointment site just right before 7:30 AM and every minute I refreshed the page until the first appointments showed up. So if you do not see an appointment at first don’t despair refreshing your page might help.

Plan B

But there is another way to get an appointment. When I was waiting in line that first Monday I heard from a guy next to me that they’re even webpages on which one could find appointments in exchange for a fee. Somehow I manage to find this appointment service. The page Bürgeramt-Termine offered me two options: they would either find me and the following five days anywhere in Berlin at any time for €25 or do so in only 48 hours for €45. I register for the €25 offer and what I really liked about this page is that they with only charge you in case you really take that appointment. That means even if they presented an appointment to me that maybe would not have suited me I could have canceled that and would not have been charged. You can even let them know if you preferences for example that you’re looking for an appointment in the afternoon or on a special day but of course they will not promising that they would be able to consider all your wishes. So when after a few days they could not find anything according to my preferences they sent me an email and ask her that I would like to broaden my search. As I had already found an appointment I wrote them back that I would like to cancel my order. I would have done so before but I couldn’t find a cancel button. They said they were going to consider this for the future.  It was a very friendly communication and I can also very strongly recommend their services as I’m aware of that not everyone has the liberty check for one hour on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays between 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM.

So in case you need to get a quick appointment your chances are pretty high to get one. The only downside are that you would have to be very flexible and to take that appointment for that same day that you get to know about it and to be willing the drive through the whole city of Berlin. If that’s not possible for some reason all you can do is to arrange an appointment and wait up to two months if not longer.

Unfortunately Bürgeramt-Termine.de doesn’t seem to take new orders at the moment.

Share the good news – There’s Enough for Everyone

If you find this article helpful please share it with our fellow Berliners. You might as well share it after you’ve got your own appointment if you’re afraid that this strategy becomes too popular and would make it more difficult for you to get one ^^. But I wouldn’t worry that much. There were plenty of appointment on every day that I have checked their page. And I checked on four days until I found one that suited me.

I wish you success and a wonderful time in Berlin the Mutterstadt.

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