“Berliners are unfriendly and inconsiderate, gruff and self-opinionated. Berlin is repugnant, loud, filthy and grey; construction sites and traffic jams wherever you walk or stand – yet I feel sorry for anyone who cannot live here!”
Anneliese Bödecker, social campaigner and generous supporter of many social causes; recipient of the 1999 Order of Merit of Berlin (the highest award granted by the Land of Berlin to no more than 400 living persons simultaneously).
I have to both agree and disagree with A. Bodecker. I sometimes wish that I lived in Berlin – I find the people friendly and considerate, mellow and (yep) self-opinionated. Berlin is beautiful, (loud, filthy), not grey; the construction sites and traffic are every city I suppose.
The only litter I saw was in Neukoln – a smashed beer bottle, swept to the side of the paving in a neat pile – it stood out to me because it was the only rubbish I remember seeing! But I walk around in a dream!
Yes, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. People from the west of the republic often comment on the alleged unfriendliness of Berliners. But what what they miss is the fact as soon as you can offer a witty or at least a bit funny repartee, a while new world opens to you. I know it from my own experience but in my case it was mostly the language that prevented me from shooting back.
This comment seems to be from a Nicht-Berliner or Zugezogener as we call them.
You have to be grown up with the inner “Macht euern Scheiß doch alleine!” paired with “Nich mein Bier!” and seasoned with “wird schon klappen” to understand Annekiese Bödeckers words with your heart.
Let me close with Heinrich Heine: “Berlin ist gar keine Stadt, sondern Berlin gibt bloß den Ort dazu her, wo sich eine Menge Menschen versammeln, denen der ganze Ort gleichgültig ist.” Everybody crafts one’s own Berlin individually and none is the same for two people.