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Berlin meets Nairobi

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Musical exchange: The band and the rapper Jahcoozi Nazizi BLNRB were part of the project.

A musical city partnership bridges the gap between two continents – By Jonathan Fischer

It began with a misunderstanding: When the German electro producer Andi Teichmann threw on some techno records at an exhibition opening at the Goethe Institute in Nairobi, the young Kenyans present tried their best to absorb the strange rhythm – but after 30 minutes of perplexity they fled the dance floor. Obviously, the local audience was overwhelmed with the music ambassador’s hard beats from the world-renowned techno capital Berlin.

John Hossack, director of the Goethe Institute in Nairobi, recognized that the local scenes in Berlin and Nairobi, despite both having a global club culture, tick quite differently. The idea of bridging that gap appealed to him: What would happen if representatives of Berlin’s electronic dance music collaborated with the best musicians from Nairobi’s lively club scene to bring together two music genres and two continents?

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Cash prizes not coffee sets

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The Germany women celebrate World Cup victory in China four years ago. Now, they are dreaming of winning the title at home.

Women’s football in Germany is recognized as a professional sport thanks to the national team’s success – By Ronny Galczynski

Germany women’s coach Silvia Neid still loves to recall the events of Nov. 10, 1982 – even though almost 30 years have passed. The former international player, who was capped for Germany 111 times, scored two goals in a 5:1 match against Switzerland in Koblenz – despite the fact that the attacking midfielder had only been brought on by head coach Gero Bisanz 30 minutes before the end of the match in her international debut game.

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A lack of enthusiasm

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Celebrities on duty for Munich's Olympic bid 2018 (from left): Katarina Witt, chair of the bid committee, Christian Ude, mayor of Munich and Thomas Bach, IOC vice president – here together with Gunilla Lindberg, chair of the IOC Evaluation Commission (second from left).

Olympic hopeful Munich has an outside chance at hosting the 2018 Winter Games – By Thomas Kistner

The Bavarian capital’s Olympic campaign motto is “Munich Shines” but the city’s chance of actually hosting the 2018 Winter Games has been reduced to little more than a glimmer ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s July 6 decision in Durban, South Africa.

Pyeongchang is widely considered the favorite to land the Games. The South Korean city’s third consecutive bid is supported by the influential sporting goods suppliers behind the Olympic rings, who are eager to tap into the Asian sports market. Munich itself however, bears some of the blame for its woes: the German city has not always presented its best side and has led a shaky campaign for the Winter Games.

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On her own two feet

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Football taught Steffi Jones, ambassador for the world championships in Germany, “self-confidence, courage and strength.”

Former football player Steffi Jones is organizing the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Germany – and completing a remarkable journey home – By Titus Chalk

Steffi Jones has always stood out. As a four-year old in Frankfurt’s down-at-heel Bonames neighborhood, she was the girl reluctantly allowed to play football by her brother. Growing up, her five-foot-nine frame meant she was often mistaken for a man in the supermarket job she worked to make ends meet. And even today, there is something endearingly incongruous about her appearance. It seems as if the suit she wears in her role as the president of the organizing committee of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup has taken some getting used to, after 31 years in a football strip and shorts.

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Open-air architecture trail

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The museum building for the Foundation Beyeler by Renzo Piano blends in harmoniously with the environment.

There’s a unique abundance of contemporary buildings at the German–French–Swiss tri-border region – By Klaus Grimberg

Is that building actually a house, or a walk-in sculpture? The long rectangular shapes with their pointed roofs seem to be set on top of each other haphazardly like a pile of pick-up-sticks. The adventurous construction seems like a fragile assembly of doghouses pulled long that cannot possibly be stable. On second glance you understand what this unusual construction actually is: a stroke of genius.

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A still divided city

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By Matthias Benz, economics correspondent for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) in Berlin

Business doesn’t play a big role in Berlin. But a recent announcement that the city had become Germany’s growth champion was the source of much pride. And it is true: In the last five years, no German state has upped its economic performance like Berlin, according to figures from the DIW economic institute. Regional output increased by an average of 1.7 percent annually, double the rate in the rest of Germany. Some 150,000 new jobs have been created since 2005. So is it time for the capital to drop its unofficial “Poor but Sexy” slogan, once coined by Mayor Klaus Wowereit?

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History at every step

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The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is still an eye-catcher on Kurfürstendamm, pictured here from a photo around 1950. A man puts up a sign in 1959 with the Berliners’ nickname for the street (above). The famous Café Kranzler has been overshadowed in recent years by modern high-rise architecture (top).

Berlin’s Ku’damm boulevard celebrates its 125th birthday with an open-air exhibition – By Klaus Grimberg

To mark its 750th anniversary in 1987, (West) Berlin unveiled plans to erect a series of sculptures along the Kurfürstendamm boulevard. The works envisaged for the project immediately unleashed a heated debate but the most spectacular was never realized: under the title “The Dumb Dumm Duell,” US artist Edward Kienholz had conceived a gigantic installation of two black, red and gold cranes, to which two large condoms would be attached. As a symbol of the absurd confrontation between the political systems, each crane driver would puncture the other’s condom.

This summer, the display window of a pharmacy on Adenauerplatz square recalls this bizarre episode in the history of the Berlin boulevard. Alongside a drawing of the planned installation, a few brightly colored condoms have been strewn among the medicaments. Passersby discover that at a time when a cautious rapprochement was occurring between West and East Germany, this artistic provocation was politically unwelcome.

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Mobcaps and wooden spoons

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Henriette Davidis’ ‘Practical Cook Book,’ pictured above in the gift edition from 1893, was for generations a faithful companion of German housewives.

Henriette Davidis from Westphalia was Germany’s most famous food writer in the 19th century – but cooking was just one of her many talents – By Thomas Grasberger

Women in Germany have long been faced with the same problem: Although they may hold the same qualifications and positions as their male colleagues, they frequently earn less. And when it comes to the upper echelons of management, women are sorely under-represented. So although there is still much talk of equal opportunities, the reality on the ground is quite different.

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Football, beer and a beautiful Old Town

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Wonderful atmosphere between brick and timber: the Böttcherstrasse (top) and the Schnoor-Haus.

In spite of all of its cultural and historical gems, the best thing about Bremen is its atmosphere – By Paul Hockenos

For the port city of Hanseatic heritage in Germany’s northwestern corner, SV Werder Bremen is more than just a football team – it’s part of Bremen’s fabric in a way that normally only happens in small cities. On weekends that the perennial German premier league contender plays at home, the entire population of over half a million is abuzz from the moment the cafés and markets in the Old Town open their doors.

It’s not just die-hard football fans who generate the electricity but Bremeners at large, or at least all of those I’ve ever met. A good several hours before kick-off, fans begin to congregate along the northern bank of the slow meandering Weser river which empties into the North Sea 50 kilometers to the north at Bremerhaven, Bremen’s industrially hewn sister city.

Some push strollers, others bikes, some jerry-rigged four-wheeled contraptions with a few cases of Becks beer for themselves and friends – even very new friends, if they too root for Werder. Decked out in green and white, the team’s colors, their destination is Weser Stadium, Werder Bremen’s familiar home.

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From pioneer to traditionalist

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“Two Dancers” (1919/11) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was presented along with other works of the artist group “Brücke” (Bridge) from the “New Secession.”

The exhibition “Liebermann’s Opponents” examines the dispute between Berlin artists before World War I – By Klaus Grimberg

Max Liebermann is said to have once remarked that people like Karl Schmitt-Rottluff should be officially beaten every morning. The somewhat unflattering appraisal leaves no doubt as to what Liebermann (1847-1935) thought of the Expressionist trends in painting that began to emerge in the decade before World War I. The former art rebel who had revolted against the rigid perceptions of the Berlin Academy of the Arts in Wilhelmine times had become a reactionary traditionalist defending his own privileges.

Liebermann’s biography perfectly reflects the sometimes embittered arguments about the “new art” at the turn of the 20th century. When a painting by Walter Leistikow was turned down by the jury of the Great Berlin Art Exhibition in 1898 a long smoldering conflict escalated. A community of independent artists formed, with Liebermann at their head, which organized its first exhibition in 1899 as the Berliner Secession. In the following years the Secessionists successfully established themselves within the Berlin art scene, boosting the recognition of German Impressionism in particular.

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A tale of German goodness

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The current covers of Hans Fallada’s successful novel in France and the UK.

First it was rediscovered abroad, now it is enjoying a German rennaissance: the sensational success of Hans Fallada’s novel “Every Man Dies Alone” – By Lutz Lichtenberger

There’s a book at number seven on the German bestseller list this spring that really shouldn’t be there at all because it was first published in 1947. It was late 1946 when German novelist Hans Fallada recorded the story of the Berlin working-class couple Elise and Otto Hampel. He wrote it in just four weeks, fueled by copious amounts of alcohol and morphine. When his son died serving Hitler’s Wehrmacht in France, Otto Hampel decided to resist the Nazis.

Fallada writes in the novel: “He was proposing something so ridiculously small, postcards with slogans against the Führer and the party, against the war, for the information of his fellow men, that was all.”

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The difficult challenge of openness

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The National Museum in Beijing has been rebuilt by German architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners. “George Biggin’s Ascent in Lunardi’s Balloon” (around 1785/1788) by Julius Caesar Ibbetson is one of the works from the exhibition “The Art of Enlightenment.”

The National Museum of China in Beijing has reopened with “The Art of the Englightenment,” the biggest ever exhibition of German art abroad – By Bernhard Schulz

The foyer of the almost completely rebuilt National Museum of China in Beijing is enormous: 260 meters long, 34 meters wide and 27 meters high, the dimensions of a gigantic cathedral. Because this is also a place for official events it is designed to hold up to 14,000 visitors.

There weren’t that many at the opening of the exhibiton “The Art of the Enlightenment” by German Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle in early April. The guests of honor had plenty of space to stroll around. But already the next day, the masses streamed into the museum and expectations are optimistic for the overall number of visitors during the year-long exhibition. Even more so in regard to the possible effect the theme of “Enlightenment” may have in China and in particular in the capital Beijing, which is also the center of intellectual thought in China.

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