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With 40 embassies, the Federal Parliament, Federal Council, Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall) among others, you could almost believe that Mitte – Berlin’s second smallest borough – is home to more governmental buildings than flats. Mitte also happens to be the site of Berlin’s second largest park area at 210 hectares: Tiergarten. Only the Tempelhofer Field is larger.
But despite its size, Mitte has the capital’s second largest population after Pankow with 363,236 inhabitants. It is a very popular borough, especially with other EU-citizens: 44,806 of them called Mitte their home in 2015. That’s more than 12% of its population.
The borough is composed of three districts, Mitte, Tiergarten and Wedding, each an independent borough until unified in 2001.
The SPD (Social Democrats) has been governing Mitte’s population since 2001 . Dr Christian Hanke is the mayor. The seat breakdown in the BVV (Bezirksverordnetenversammlung: local council) is as follows: SPD 18, Greens 15, CDU (Christian Democrats) 10, the Left Party 6, and 4 for the Pirates.
On 18 September 2016, all EU-citizens have the opportunity to vote for the district assembly. You can find out here what it is all about and how it works in six different languages. You can also come to our info event on 13 September and discuss the issues in your district with local parliamentarians!
On 17 June 1953, thousands of people across Germany went on strike and demonstrated against the GDR for free elections and German unification. Soviet soldiers and German state police suppressed the demonstration. Five days later on 22 June, the Berlin Senate named the street that crosses Tiergarten after this event: Strasse des 17. Junis.
“Im wilden Wedding. Zwischen Ghetto und Gentrifizierung“ (Wild Wedding: Between Ghetto and Gentrification) by Heiko Werning comprises over 37 novellas set in Wedding, a borough that flips between political hot potato and cool place to be. 37 stories on everyday life in Wedding, written with humour.
Just one!? Mitte is Berlin’s historical centre and thus packed with tourist attractions. But if we were forced to pick one it would be the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Tiergarten. This museum is an important cultural centre for international artistic exchange and for hosting exhibitions from across the world.
An unusual attraction
The Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt museum (Otto Weidt Workshop for the Blind) recounts the history of the blind and deaf Jews who once made brooms and brushes there. During the WWII, the company’s director, Otto Weidt, kept his staff safe by keeping them hidden. He even set up an alarm system to warn them when the Gestapo were approaching.
Which is your favourite place in Mitte? What could the borough do better, how should it change? Your comments are part of the political discussion leading up to the BVV (local) election!