Archives For The Local Germany

young man stands in front of historial Berlin Wall photo outdoors

Franz Hildebrandt-Harangozo at the Berlin Wall memorial trail on Bernauer Strasse, September 2014.

It signalled the end of the Cold War and cleared the way for German reunification, but for a generation of young people born after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, its impact is first and foremost a family affair.

Read the full article on The Local Germany, here.

Mogadishu, Somalia seen from the International Space Station.

Mogadishu, Somalia seen from the International Space Station. Source: ESA and astronaut Paolo Nespoli, user Magisstra on Flickr (http://bit.ly/1vMB2S3).

Long before I set off for the Arthur Burns Fellowship in Berlin, I came across an American-German journalist named Michael Scott Moore, with whom I corresponded about a story I was chasing for As It Happens back in 2011.

On a personal note, we connected when he told me about how he came to be working with Der Spiegel International and what it was like to work in Germany. I had thought about the possibility of working there because my girlfriend is German.

About two months after we communicated, he traveled to Somalia to gather material for a book on piracy. On that trip he was kidnapped. He was was still being held hostage when I got to Berlin in July.

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Germany’s military said on Thursday it was ready to send its first shipment of arms to Kurds fighting Islamic extremists Isis in northern Iraq.

I went out to Berlin’s Alexanderplatz to ask people what they thought of the move.

We embedded the mix of opinions in an article on The Local Germany, which you can find here.

a man and three women stand holding internet equipment

CEO Ute-Gabriel Boucsein (second from left) and members of the Buergerbreitbandnetz Gmbh team.

Shunned by government and big telecom companies, a group of villagers in rural northwest Germany is set to expand the super-fast internet network they built to a second village. The Local’s Tomas Urbina went to meet the villagers as they prepare to put shovels in the ground.

On a Thursday evening in August, about half the residents of Sollwitt, a village of 123 homes nestled in the green fields near Germany’s border with Denmark, jammed into the only restaurant in town. They were there to hear how lightning fast internet service was going to launch their village into the future.

“I think in future we will need this bigger bandwidth,” said Roger Cattin, a retired computer science professor who moved to Sollwitt a year ago.

“I like it very much that the local people are doing something to get this fast internet to our village.”

Read the full article on The Local Germany, here.

reporter interviews man with cows in background

Interviewing dairy farmer Holger Jensen about his farm’s internet use in Löwenstedt, Germany. August 2014.

The Arthur F. Burns Fellowship provides young journalists from Canada, the United States and Germany the opportunity to live and work in each other’s countries and work in a news organization in the host country. It’s often described a journalist exchange program.

With a little less than a month left in my stay in Germany, the German embassy in Canada asked me for my thoughts on the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. The fellowship is supported by the German government, as well as several private sponsors.

Read the post on the German embassy website, here.

three young men hold signs with taxis all around

Frederik Roeder (centre) and fellow students protest anti-Uber taxi work stoppage in Berlin in June 2014. Courtesy: Frederik Roeder.

Uber has quickly become the most contentious technology company in Germany, challenging the taxi establishment as well as regulators across the country, as attempts to ban the chauffeur app leap from the municipal to the national stage. The following is an excerpt of an opinion piece I pitched and edited for The Local Germany.


As Uber and its chauffeur app continue to operate in Germany despite a national ban, one faithful user tells The Local why he became a fan of the company and the app from day one.

There are three major reasons why I prefer Uber to a regular taxi:

1 – Price: Uber Pop offers urban rides at a great price, cheaper than legacy taxis by at least 20 percent.

2 – Convenience: Uber is convenient; it’s easy to use and to pay with credit card.

3 – Quality and Safety: You can get a really nice ride in a fancy car and the app knows where you are and who is driving you.

Read the full opinion piece on The Local Germany, here.

crowds outside a large building on a sunny day

Crowds arrive at the Berlin exhibition grounds for the IFA technology show. September 2014.

Bendable televisions, a smartphone with an edge and the smart home that takes care of you — the IFA consumer electronics show burst onto Berlin’s exhibition grounds on Friday.

Crowds poured into the brand new City Cube Berlin to ogle the latest offerings from global electronics giant Samsung. With the new building all to themselves, Samsung blanketed visitors in a blue and white glow, showing off products as diverse as vacuums, washing machines and ovens to smartphones, virtual reality helmets and giant bendable televisions.

There was hardly anything Samsung didn’t have its high-tech fingers in.

Fitting, then, that Samsung CEO BK Yoon had the honour of delivering this year’s keynote speech to a packed house.

Read the full article on The Local Germany, here.

illuminated signs in the Frankfurt Airport terminal, blurred figures in the background

Franfurt Airport, Terminal ‘A’. Source: Flickr user AngeloAngelo (Angelo DeSantis), http://bit.ly/1I6x4tu

Figures from the European Union show that while many German professionals are able to find work abroad with their well-recognized qualifications, Germany doesn’t always extend the same courtesy to foreigners.

From 2003 to the end of 2013, Germany topped the list of countries whose professionals have sought to relocate and be accredited in other European countries, with 45,175 licensed professionals trying to establish themselves around Europe, mainly in Switzerland and Austria.

Germans also enjoyed the one of the highest rates of recognition around Europe, with 89 percent of professionals like doctors, nurses, teachers and architects being accredited outside Germany.

Read the full article on The Local Germany, here.

a run down country estate

The Haus am Bogensee, north of Berlin. Source: Flickr user Stadtkatze (https://www.flickr.com/photos/stadtkatze/7085231647).

After two failed attempts, Berlin is trying again to sell the sprawling estate and villa once known as Joseph Goebbels’ illicit love nest, but so far, nobody’s buying.

The address of the former villa of Hitler’s propaganda minister is as misleading as it is revealing.

Number One, Friendship Place, northeast of Berlin, is thought to have been where Joseph Goebbels produced some of his most virulent speeches against Jews. But it’s also where Goebbels wooed the starlets of the Berlin’s Babelsberg film studios.

Read the full article on The Local Germany, here.

Kurdish Army forces

Kursidh Army, Peshmerga, July 2014. Source: Flickr user bijikurdistan (https://www.flickr.com/photos/112043717@N08/14689372605/)

Germany’s new-found determination under the third Merkel government to take its place on the world stage may be standing on shaky foundations.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reaffirmed his commitment to increasing Germany’s role in the world’s conflict zones at the annual conference of German ambassadors in Berlin on Monday.

“We need the courage and willingness to intervene,” said Steinmeier amid national debate on whether Germany should send weapons to Kurdish forces resisting the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Iraq.

Read the full article on The Local Germany, here.