I had a nice evening last night. The weather was crap but its still nice to take a walk from Prenzlauer Berg to the Berliner Dom.
As planned I visited the DDR Museum. I had expected it to be rather quiet, but to my surprise it was really busy. Unfortunately it was busy with a school party which I have to say ruined my experience somewhat.
The museum concentrated more on what it was like to live in the DDR rather than the history of it. I liked the fact it was interactive. I loved the recreation of an East German sitting room, rather than in most museums you can actually sit down on the awful settee, use the tv remote, look at the collection of books in the bookcase (all State appoved of course, no George Orwell here!).
You can also use the DDR original style headphones and listen to music from the DDR, as well as DDR radio stations and DDR TV. Famous shows such as the Sandman for example. There was an interesting documentary running on the huge DDR housing programme. After the Allies obliterated Berlin, the Soviet sector in particular had little housing. The Communists embarked on this programme to house its citizens. At the time people were glad to have a place to live but in time depression set in with such awful concrete estates.
The schoolkids were sat in there making a lot of noise. Then the teacher came and did….nothing, in fact she added to the noise by chatting to the kids. I was thinking how rude German schoolkids were when I realised they werent German, they were Swedish!!!
The shop was a bit disappointing, maybe its because I have most of the stuff they were selling. The things I was interested were in only in German so I decided against purchasing anything.
Did I learn much? Yes bits and pieces. I think the one thing that struck me was the potty training. Basically in the DDR, East German babies all had to sit on the potty at the same time and get off it all at the same time. It was indoctrination at a very early age. Some people have blamed this for the rise of the Extreme Right in the former DDR!
I left the DDR Museum and then went for a walk to the Palast Der Republik. This icon of a bygone era is now just a shell. The last time I was here we actually got to go in there, there was an art exhibition on. I wasnt interested in that, I just wanted to say I had been able to walk around the place.
Its being knocked down now because of asbestos concerns though I am pretty sure its politically motivated as the powers that be want to remove any signs of the former DDR.
What I like about Berlin is that wherever you turn there is a bit of history. As I left the outside of the Palast I saw a fenced off area. Being a nosy sod I went to have a look. Basically it was the basement of the former Prussian castle that stood on this site. It was badly damaged during the war and Ulbricht and the Communists couldnt wait to knock it down as it was the sign of a Royal past. They then built the Palace of the Republic on it.
I know this post isnt about Sweden, but as I travel a lot with the job some posts will be about other places. I hope you dont mind indulging me.
I have an early morning flight back to Sverige, then a stint in the office during the afternoon and then a relaxing weekend….I hope!
Filed under: Our Man in Stockholm