News from Berlin and Germany, 13th September 2023

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Berlin’s housing referendum: what’s next?

Berlin is in a housing crisis, with skyrocketing rents and block-long queues for apartment viewings. In September 2021 a referendum that proposed deprivatising and returning buildings to public ownership passed with 59.1%. Since then, not so much has (apparently) happened, but on June 13 experts decided that the expropriation and socialisation of Berlin’s large housing companies were not only legal, but an appropriate action in the face of the scale of the crisis. Two members at the forefront of the campaign, Colleen Higgins and Wouter Bernhardt, talk about the likely next stages. Source: exberliner

How a highway is threatening Berlin techno clubs

When the Berlin Wall fell, underground artists and creative people settled in the abandoned factories and ruins that remained. That became the core of a cultural revolution, as a unique subculture developed. Today, however, these anarchic, self-governing cultural venues are threatened by the so-called club extinction. In addition to gentrification and COVID-19 restrictions, another threat has recently emerged: the planned and largely agreed expansion of the A100 federal highway. The affected area extends north of the Spree, in former East Berlin. Now activists are drawing public attention to the issue: from September 9 to 24, the “Spectacle on the Motorway” campaign will happen in the affected area. Source: dw

Right-wing attacks: from Neukölln to Lichtenberg

“The district is no longer the Nazi stronghold it once was,” says Michael Mallé from the Lichtenberg Association of those Persecuted by the Nazi Regime – Association of Antifascists (VVN-BdA). And yet the problem has not been solved: “Since February 2022, there have been 20 arson attacks on the basements of residential buildings and youth clubs in Neu-Hohenschönhausen,” according to Mallé. Last Sunday, on the Day of Remembrance and Warning organized by the Berlin VVN-BdA, he and other antifascists declared that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the judiciary and the police do too little to investigate and condemn right-wing crimes. Source: nd-aktuell


Wagenknecht is reportedly about to found own party

According to a media report, the former parliamentary group leader of the Left Party, Sahra Wagenknecht, has decided to launch a new party. The “Bild am Sonntag” reports that the date for the announcement should be between October 8th, the day of the state elections in Hesse and Bavaria, and the end of the year. The party’s core points will include a return to “economic reason” instead of a “crazy traffic light policy” that destroys workers and drives companies out of the country. Others include “social justice”, and a “foreign policy that once again relies on diplomacy instead of arms deliveries.” Source: handelsblatt

AfD candidate leads mayoral race in Nordhausen, but runoff needed

The candidate for the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD), Jörg Prophet, fared far better than his rivals in the first-round mayoral vote in Nordhausen, a city of around 42,000 in Thuringia. However, his 42.1% support was not enough for a victory in the first round. Prophet will therefore have to contest a runoff against the incumbent, an independent with no party affiliation named Kai Buchmann, who was second with 23.7% of the vote. Turnout for Sunday’s vote was 56.4%. Source: dw

Oranienburg Clinic offers anonymous help for rape victims

Anonymous forensics for rape victims in Brandenburg is now also possible at the Oranienburg clinic in the Oberhavel district. Health Minister Ursula Nonnemacher (Greens) said: “Every victim of sexualized violence needs medical help. Even if no evidence is desired, a doctor should always be consulted.” With emergency aid, those affected can receive medical care and – regardless of a report – have traces of the crime secured confidentially and in a court of law by trained doctors. The offer for victims of a sexual offense already exists in Brandenburg in the following cities: Cottbus, Potsdam, Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg an der Havel, and Neuruppin. Source: rbb24

Germany’s new heating law: what does it mean for renters?

Germany’s controversial heating law (Heizungsgesetz) sparked months of infighting within the government. Now that the law has been approved, what does it mean for renters? The Heizungsgesetz is expected to come into force on January 1, 2024. Under this new law, basically, anyone who wants to install a heating system that runs on renewables will receive a subsidy payment from the government which covers 30 percent of the installation costs. For renters, Robert Habeck (Greens) says landlords will be responsible for installation and will be able to pass on to tenants a maximum of 10 percent of the portion of the installation costs not covered by the subsidy. Source: iamexpat

Tags: ,