Last Sunday (9th November) Berliners celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. A momentous occasion movingly marked by temporarily dividing the city again with a 9-mile “Lichtgrenze” made up of illuminated white balloons along the old division, which were then let off into the misty night sky at the same time the first people crossed the border all those years ago. Though the few remaining stretches of the Wall in Berlin are only there for the sake of history and tourism, not all aspects of GDR-life have been so thoroughly dismantled. From politics to bathing habits, what has survived these past 25 years?
1. Die Linke
The first minister president for Germany’s far left Die Linke party – the post re-unification successor of the SED, East Germany’s ruling party – is about to be elected in the former East German state of Thuringia. It’s a strongly contested result, not least by Chancellor Merkel and President Guack, who join many people in feeling uncomfortable at having a party so strongly associated with the East German regime in a position of such power.
On a more light-hearted note, the GDR’s brand of sparkling wine is now hugely popular throughout Germany – it’s certainly what we buy whenever we get together with friends to celebrate. Read more »