A summer afternoon at the Reichstag. Soft Berlin light filters down through the great glass dome, past tourists ascending the spiral ramp, and into the main hall of parliament. Half the members’ seats are empty. At the lectern, a short, slightly hunched figure in a fuchsia jacket, black slacks, and a helmet of no-color hair is reading a speech from a binder. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and the world’s most powerful woman, is making every effort not to be interesting.
American politics is so polarized that Congress has virtually stopped functioning; the consensus in Germany is so stable that new laws pour forth from parliament while meaningful debate has almost disappeared.
“The German self-criticism and self-loathing are part of the success story—getting strong by hating yourself,” Mariam Lau, a political correspondent for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, told me. “And Merkel had to reëducate herself, too. She’s part of the self-reëducation of Germany.”
They fought alongside them, healed them, and often befriended them. But how do Finland’s Jews feel today about their uneasy – and little mentioned – alliance with the Nazis?
Berlin’s nightlife is one of the German capital’s greatest and strangest success stories, a modern postwar legend that has grown over the course of the past four decades, making the city an object of longing for those in search of nightlife adventure — music, dancing, exhilaration, drugs and excess.
Of the 11 million tourists who visit Berlin each year, around one-third come for the nightlife, a study by Berlin tourism organization visitBerlin found. According to the Wall Street Journal, this brings €1 billion ($1.4 billion) in revenue into the city each year.
These visitors arrive like clockwork via budget airlines and check themselves into hostels, yet despite this neatly structured sequence of events, Berlin manages to sell its theme park of clubs, discos and lounges as a kind of anti-Disneyland.
In four decades, Berlin’s nightlife has grown from a small scene of West German misfits into a global party mecca. By cultivating its underground mythos, the German capital achieved one of its greatest and strangest success stories — but not without paying a price.
Germany’s performance at the London 2012 games so far has been underwhelming, with the nation failing to win a single medal. The Mud Olympics on the North Sea coast, however, allows participants to vent their frustration.