“Berlin culture is what drew me here. Though it can be frustrating at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”*
(*Quote in a recent USA Today article on Berlin’s airport project, Berlin’s Bungled Airport Belies German Efficiency.)
That is a common sentiment heard throughout Berlin from those like myself who have moved to the capital of reunified Germany. Whether it is the creative scene, the start-up culture, the history, the cheap rent, the street life or a combination of those things, there is an allure to this city whose identity is still fluid and defies many German stereotypes.
As someone who travels regularly outside of Germany, I have a vested interest in seeing the debut of the new Berlin airport. I am tired of the over-used airports that currently serve Berlin and naturally would enjoy one with smoother public transport connections.
Yet, there is a big, sentimental part of me that knows I will miss the “old school” days of Berlin under construction and the inconveniences of a dumpy airport. Even in my part of the city, the removal of a makeshift staircase to the train stop has sparked some inner turmoil. Part of me feels—do I dare say it?—proud of this city’s resilience to modernity and the lure of wealth, appearance and status. I like the dirty, grungy and trashed parts of this city; they have not succumbed to the pressure to be more than they are.
Sure, some of it could simply be laziness or apathy. Or bureaucracy. But I find the inefficiency to be refreshing. It’s real. Berlin isn’t polished and it doesn’t ever want to be. I doubt it could if it tried.
As much as I would like to roll my suitcase through a well-planned airport and wait comfortably at a gate, I am content with the cramped TXL for now. And if now actually turned into years, I might not complain.
Why is Berlin’s new airport project such a mess? Berlin’s Bungled Airport Belies German Efficiency.