by Kimberly Ochs
- As Germans continue to protest rising housing and electricity costs across the country, a group of Berliners are involving tourists in protests by creating techno parties in squatted buildings (Local.de, 31 May 2011).
As Berlin is known across Europe as a key techno music capital, activists are integrating tourists into both culture and politics using the appeal of its underground music scene.
The parties are held in squatted buildings to protest the rising rents and gentrification of formerly cheap neighbourhoods. Activists hope that tourists attending the protest raves will spread word of the issues young Berliners are facing.
Tourists, familiar with the economic challenges and realities for young people in their own countries, feel solidarity with Berliners. In the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, which attracted 1.1 million of Berlin’s 9 million tourists in 2010, one activist group uses as its motto “Tourists and Kreuzberg Residents Unite.”
Berlin is attractive to tourists as a creative hotbed, with its many museums and vibrant art scene fueled by new talent taking advantage of its low cost of living. But rents have risen an average of 6% in the last two years, challenging the future of the creative scene that attracts people to Berlin.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- Attending politically motivated squat parties and raves promise even the most unadventurous tourist a unique insight into a city, and the all-important story to tell when they get home.
- While still angry over rising living costs, it’s unlikely that residents of other German cities will use this “uniquely Berlin” approach to activism.