Hermannplatz returns to its former beauty thanks to David Chipperfield

The department store located in Hermannplatz (Berlin – Neukölln) will be redesigned by David Chipperfield

The legendary building located in Hermannplatz, which dates back to the 1920s, will be knocked down and rebuilt by David Chipperfield. The palace can be found between Kreuzberg and Neukölln. In 1929 Karstadt wasn’t just a shopping center: it represented also a tourist attraction in the Weimar Republic. After the Second World War, the building was destroyed and later on built up. Today the facility belongs to an Austrian billionaire called Renè Benko. Now the billionaire wants to restore Karstadt’s builing and bring it to its former beauty. 

Karstadt from the 1920s to the 1950s

In the past, the Art Decò building stood on Hermannplatz, extending over 32 meters with 7 floors. The whole palace was made of limestone. Karstadt recalls New Yorkers’s store. During the 1940s the façade was destroyed. In the second half of the 20th century, the building has been refurbished. It didn’t, however, regain its glory.

David Chipperfield’s project

The British architect David Chipperfield will handle Karstadt reconstruction project. His aim is to give a modern interpretation of the building. As planned for the project, two columns will be reactivated. Furthermore, an observation deck will be added. Both in the first and second floor, a day care and a library are to be put up. The new structure will appear smaller than the older one even though gyms, offices and a covered market won’t be missing. On the top of the building, a restaurant and a hotel will be added. Construction works will last 3 years, starting from 2021. 

Photo: © Visualisierungen von der Vision des Projekts am Hermannplatz. Das Copyright der Renderings liegt bei David Chipperfield Architects.


How Dresden was rebuilt by its citizens, after being bombed in 1945

Dresden after the Second World War

February 1945. A few months before the end of Second World War, the city of Dresden was bombed. As a result of the conflict, Germany was occupied by Soviets. Just right after the Reunification of Germany and the Fall of the Berlin Wall, a tough work of reconstruction took place over the country. A group of Dresden citizens cleaned the rubble up and a lot of blueprints were drawn up thanks to the work of architects and urban planners. People wondered how the new city could appear and how it could be possible to rebuild it. In 1993, refurbishing works started in Dresden; almost ten years later, in 2005, the Lutheran church called Frauenkirche – which was considered the emblem of the city – returned to its people. Its wreckage has always represented a memoir against the war. Thanks to the citizen’s efforts, several important buildings were restored such as the Zwinger Palace and the Semper Opera House.

What happened during the bombing period

In February 1945, both Britain and U.S. Armies decided to drop two pounds of explosive and a thousand firebombs over Dresden. The air strike lasted two days no stop. The city of Dresden was destroyed by the flames. According to historians, 370000 people passed away during the attacks. The attacks in Dresden were known for their atrocity and then depicted in a novel called “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. 

Women called “Trummer Frauen” rebuilt Germany

The “Trummer Frauen” were a group of women who helped with the reconstruction of German destroyed cities. War reduced men’s workforce: husbands and sons died or never returned home. On their behalf, women took the reins of Germany’s cities restoration, being almost 7 million more than men. With their help, women freed cities from debris. The age of the so-called Trummer Frauen goes from 15 until 50. Moreover, allied powers issued an order for women to help get rid of rubble. A lot of volunteers joined and supported them. In different German cities like Berlin, Leipzig, Magdeburg e Nürnberg set out a plan for rubble removal. In Dresden, almost 492 men and 512 women took part in disposal operations. At the end of the 1946, the number of working women reached 580.

Photo: Wikilmages CC0

Nabokov lived in Berlin for 15 years, but he never integrated in the German society

Vladimir Nabokov moved to Berlin in 1922 and lived there for 15 years

Nabokov’s family moved to Berlin in 1920. In those days, many people left Russia because of the Civil war, and from 1922 to 1923 more than 300.000 Russians reached Berlin. Immigrats was mainly concentrated in Wittenbergplatz and Charlottenburg (this latter was ironically called Charlottengrad). Vladimir Nabokov was among those who arrived in 1922. His arrival was quite tragic: after just a few weeks, his father passed away while trying to save Pavel Miliukovl, a notable Russian politician, during an attack.

Life in Berlin

Nabokov spent his time within the Russian community, as he has never been able to integrate in the German society. In fact, he then admitted he could not stand Berlin. “Upon moving to Berlin I was beset by a panicky fear of somehow flawing my precious layer of Russian by learning to speak German fluently…”, as he wrote in his work Strong opinions, published in 1973. He stayed in Berlin till the late 1930s, when the rise of the Nazi party pushed him to move to the United States.

Literary debut

In Berlin, Nabokov wrote his first works in Russian and published them in some newspapers, which were printed by some Russian immigrants. His first book (Korol Dama Valet) was published by a Russian editor. He also translated in English a great number of books. In fact, the cultural hybridization shines through them: even though, those books belong to the English literature, styles and themes are typical of the Russian culture.

A guide to Berlin

A Guide to Berlin is one of those. This short novel, published in 1925, describes Berlin from the inside perspective, through the eyes of an unidentified character. The novelist believes in how important it is to immortalize everyday life: «So that could be reflect in gentle lens of future times». The guidebook offers few reference points, which are concretely recognizable: narration is subjective and far away from a guidebook-style.

Here you can download Nabokov’s short novel

Photo: A Pictorial Biography, compiled and edited by Ellendea Proffer (Ann Arbor: Ardis Publishers, c1991).




Muller, Schumacher, Hoffamann: the secrets behind German surnames

The invention of German surnames

The use of German surnames became popular during the Middle Ages (between the 10th and the 11th Century), with the purpose of identifying the social status of people. Surnames were selected – like everywhere else in the world – according to physical, working and family features. Using a surname was very useful for census surveys.

Only rich families could afford a surname                                                                                                                                                                

Originally, the surname was widely used and it was considered as a people’s first name. After that, surnames were used to recognize the families’ origin. Having a family name was a prerogative of rich families, only. During the 12th Century, the use of surnames spread all over Europe, becoming common use everywhere.

How surnames were chosen 

During the Middle Ages, Germany started to use surnames according to people’s professions. Let’s make an exemple: Meyer was first used for rather important and powerful people; it was later adopted with the meaning of «farmer».

A list of the most famous German surnames and their translations

  • Wagner – a man who deals with means of transit
  • Becker/ Beck – Baker
  • Bauer/ Baumann – Peasant
  • Hoffmann – Farmer
  • Schulz/ Schulze/ Scholz – Mayor
  • Koch – Chef
  • Richter – Notary
  • Klein – Little
  • Wolf/ Wolff– Wolf
  • Schröder – Driver
  • Neumann – Newman
  • Braun – Brown
  • Werner – Defense army
  • Schwarz – Black
  • Schumacher/ Schubert/ Schuster – Shoemaker
  • Zimmermann – Carpenter
  • Weiss – White
  • Krüger – Potter
  • Lange – Long
  • König – King
  • Krause/ Kraus – a man with curly hair
  • Huber – Landowner
  • Frank/ Franke – a man who comes from Franconia
  • Lehmann – Servant
  • Keiser – Emperor
  • Fuchs – Fox
  • Herrmann – Warrior
  • Thomas – Twin
  • Peters – Stone (Greek origin)
  • Stein – Stone
  • Jung – Young
  • Berger – Pastor (French origin)
  • Martin – Belligerent (Latin origin)
  • Friedrich – Peaceful
  • Keller – Basement
  • Gross – Big
  • Hahn – Plumber
  • Roth – Red
  • Günther – Warrior (Scandinavian origin)
  • Vogel – Bird
  • Winkler – Nook
  • Lorenz – Laurentius (Latin origin)
  • Ludwig –Famous
  • Heinrich – A person who belongs to an important House
  • Otto – Heiresses
  • Simon – Simon (Jewish origin)
  • Graf – Lordship
  • Krämer – Trader
  • Böhm – someone from Bohemia
  • Winter – Winter
  • Haas – Rabbits Hunter
  • Sommer – Summer
  • Schreiber – Writer
  • Engel – Angel
  • Brandt – Fire
  • Busch – Bush
  • Horn – Horn
  • Arnold – someone strong like an Eagle
  • Bergmann – Miner
  • Pfeiffer – Piper
  • Sauer – Sour

Photo: Gellinger CC0

Why you should absolutely attend Berlino Schule’s Summer School instead of lying on the beach

The Summer School of Berlino Schule is the study trip you are looking for. If you choose to register for our classes, you will have the possibility to attend super-intensive courses of 5 hours per day (from Monday to Friday) for 2 weeks, in the lively and international district of Friedrichshain

Imagine a day hot as hell. You’re watching TV with your buddy lying on a sofa, while a fan is blowing on a mild breeze. Sweating buckets, pants glued on the pills… you would kill for a cold drink. Out of the blue, your buddy gets up, heading towards the kitchen.

Fritz Kola oder Club Mate? – he asks while he opens the fridge. 


Trinkst du lieber ein Bier? –

The TV show you have been watching for hours starts talking in a strange way, it looks German…. What the hell is …


And that’s a Midsummer night’s dream, not a nightmare! Full immersion is the key to unlock the wonderful world of foreign languages, as you can immerge yourself into a new world, practice your skills, taste new food, discover new cultures. And how about doing this super exciting experience during the Summer, in a cool and buzzy city like Berlin? Keep calm and don’t dread the adventure, Übung macht den Meister as Germans say. It’s just practice that makes everything perfect. Close your eyes and imagine to bite a Berliner Pfannkuchen or Franzbrötchen for breakfast, then stroll along the Berliner Mauer, the biggest open-air gallery in the world. You can end up in a colourful Flohmarkt or enjoy a beer in one of the typical German Biergärten

Let’s chill out and enjoy our Summer School at Berlino Schule!

If you choose to register for one of our super-intensive courses, you will have the opportunity to attend German classes every day (from Monday to Friday) for 2 weeks, in the lively and international district of Friedrichshain.

That’s not all!

Students attending the courses at Berlino Schule will be offered the chance to join extra activities, related to the German language (i.e. cineforum, walking tours, museums, conversation activities, etc) for a total amount of 8 activities per course.


230 €. In case you want to attend two superintensive courses, you will pay 440 instead of 460. 


Mission impossible? No panic! Berlino Schule has established some agreements with flats, hostels and hotels to make your studying holiday as easier as possible. If you are interested, you can contact the school and we will provide you with a list containing all the info you need. 

Book the whole package!

You would like to attend a super-intensive course, but it is rather difficult for you to find an accomodation? We can provide you with an a single room in some hotels just nearby Berlino Schule (15 nights) and you can have the chance to get 2 weekly tickets (AB zone). Ask for a price quotation!

The dates

Summer School courses will be held from the 8th of July to the 30th of August and will be every 2 weeks: 8-19 July, 22 July-2 August, 5-16 August, 19-30 August, every day, from 14:30 to 18:45. Here you can find the whole calendar. 

Summer School’s calendar


A1.1: 8 JULY-19 JULY (14.30 – 18.45)

A2.1: 8 JULY-19 JULY (14.30 – 18.45)

B2.1: 8 JULY-19 JULY (14.30 – 18.45)


A1.2: 22 JULY-2 AUGUST (14.30 – 18.45)

A2.2: 22 JULY-2 AUGUST (14.30 – 18.45)

B2.2: 22 JULY-2 AUGUST (14.30 – 18.45)


A1.1: 5 AUGUST-16 AUGUST (14.30 – 18.45)

B1.1: 5 AUGUST-16 AUGUST (14.30 – 18.45)

C1.1: 5 AUGUST-16 AUGUST (14.30 – 18.45)





No time for super-intensive courses in the afternoon? Join our evening classes!

Our evening German courses last 8 weeks, for a total amount of 48 hours: classes take place twice a week (Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday), 3 hours per day, from 19.15 to 21.40.

Price: 240 euro + 20 euro registration fee

Our German evening courses – May/June

A1.1 6 MAY – 26 JUNE (MON and WED 19.15 – 21.40)

A1.2 7 MAY – 27 JUNE (TUE and THU 19.15 – 21.40)

A2.1 6 MAY – 26 JUNE (MON and WED 19.15 – 21.40)

A2.2 7 MAY – 27 JUNE (TUE and THU 19.15 – 21.40)

B1.1 7 MAY – 27 JUNE (TUE and THU 19.15 – 21.40)

B1.2 6 MAY – 26 JUNE (MON and WED 19.15 – 21.40)

Our German evening courses – July/August

A1.1 2 JULY – 22 AUGUST (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

A1.2 1 JULY – 21 AUGUST (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

A2.1 2 JULY – 22 AUGUST (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

A2.2 1 JULY – 21 AUGUST (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

B1.1 2 JULY – 22 AUGUST (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

B2.1 1 JULY – 21 AUGUST (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

Our German evening courses – August/October

A1.1 26 AUGUST – 16 OCTOBER (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

A1.2 27 AUGUST – 17 OCTOBER (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

A2.1 26 AUGUST – 16 OCTOBER (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

A2.2 27 AUGUST – 17 OCTOBER (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

B1.2 27 AUGUST – 17 OCTOBER (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

B2.2 26 AUGUST – 16 OCTOBER (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

Our German evening courses – October/December

A1.1 22 OCTOBER – 12 DECEMBER (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

A1.2 21 OCTOBER – 11 DECEMBER (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

A2.1 22 OCTOBER – 12 DECEMBER (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

A2.2 21 OCTOBER – 11 DECEMBER (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

B1.1 22 OCTOBER – 12 DECEMBER (TUE and THU 19:15 – 21:40)

C1.1 21 OCTOBER – 11 DECEMBER (MON and WED 19:15 – 21:40)

Look at our calendar to find out our German evening courses!

Info and registration 

For further information, contact us at info@berlinoschule.com or visit our website.

Are you still planning on spending summer on your sofa?

Berlino Schule 

Gryphiustr. 23, 10245 Berlin (nearby stations: Ostkreuz, Samariterstr.)

 030 36465765


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Haus der Offiziere, an army base settled in south Berlin which has been working till the 90s      

Have you ever heard about Haus der Offiziere?                                         

Wunsdorf, Germany. Approximately 27 miles away from Berlin lies an army base called “Haus der Offiziere,” which stands for the «officers’ compound.» Opened in 1916, the building hosted Kaiser William II’s troops. Later on, it was used over World War II as a Nazi command center. The fortress “operated” until 1994, when the last soldiers permanently abandoned it.

Haus der Offiziere as Moscow secondment during the Cold War

Werner Borchert, 67 years old, works as a tourist guide in the building; the man claims that “Haus der Offiziere appears to be a tiny Moscow in a German territory.” In fact, during the Cold war the building became the center of the soviet army for the Eastern part of Germany. Inside the building were several facilities, such as a theater, a museum, a swimming pool, many barracks and different kinds of shops. The army base, approximately 4 miles wide, is surrounded by an eleven-mile-long wall and can contain about 40.000 soldiers. The complex still worked after the reunification of the country. Since the mid-1990s, the base has been abandoned and left unattended.

How the “forbidden city” appears today

During the soviet regime, it was almost impossible to reach the army base. Due to this reason, the building earned the name of “forbidden city” as German citizens couldn’t get into the building. Today, if you want to visit the ex-army base, it is possible to do so by booking tickets in advance. At the main entrance stands a Lenin statue; also, a set of Nazi vaults is to be found there. Currently, the base belongs to the federal state of Brandenburg; however, the building doesn’t have a real owner who can refurbish it.

Photo: Herr_Rettschlag CC0

Kurt Drummer: the most followed chef by DDR housewives

Kurt Drummer: a tv chef throughtout the DDR period

The Chef Kurt Drummer played an important role during the DDR period. In fact, he was the leading figure of a German tv program called “Der Fernsehkoch empfiehlt”, which means “Advice from the tv Chef”. The show went on air in 1958 on a television broadcaster service which belonged to the eastern side of Berlin. Over his 25-year-long career, Chef Drummer had the chance to undertake food science studies and to be a chef in a well-known hotel chain called Vereinigung Interhotel. Moreover, he won several international cooking competitions in London, Budapest and Vienna.

“Der Fernsehkoch empfiehlt”: Kurt Drummer’s tv show

Kurt Drummer was born in Germany (Gornsdorf) on 20th March 1928. He was both a Chef and a German showman during the DDR period, when almost 650 episodes of his show came out. Drummer started his career in August 1958. The first episode of the cooking show was called “Delicious fish meals”. Over the years, he released lots of episodes in which he showed people his recipes. Drummer’s tv show episodes usually went on every Saturday night and, in some occasions, on working days or in prime time. With a chef uniform and a white hat, Kurt Drummer shared his passion for food paying attention to its nutritional value. His advice was really popular among his audience. One of his suggestions was to use one ingredient rather than another: for instance, margarine instead of butter to make brown bread.

The tv show ending

The cooking show “Der Fernsekoch empfiehlt” was really appreciated by DDR housewives. Thanks to the easy and healthy recipes presented during the show, people enjoyed Drummer’s work. The program was interrupted in 1983 due to Drummer’s health problems. The chef explained to the spectators that he had no longer energy to fetch ingredients and come up with new recipes as stated by the tv contract.

Photo: Pexels CC0

Inka Grings: the first female coach of a German men’s team

Inka Grings: the first female coach of a German men’s team

Inka Grings becomes the first woman in Germany coaching a men’s team. She was both an ex-football player of the German National team and a technical supervisor of a female soccer club called Duisburg. From now on, she is officially involved in the SV Straelen a team which stood the fourth tier in the Oberliga Nordrhein. Her nomination was taken into account thanks to her ex-Football coach, who proposed her candidacy.

The woman who replaced Hermann Tecklenburg

Hermann Tecklenburg, the old coach, relieved of his charge, seems to have failed the expectations of the team supporters, and backed the candidacy of Inka Grings. The woman, ex-football player, is recognized as the most high-scorer player of the Bundersliga. Also, Martina Voss, who currently coaches the German National team, supported Grings’ candidacy. Germany is getting ready for the first woman on charge that coaches a men’s team. But that’s not all, because also France and Italy have already several women who coach men’s team.

From being a player to coaching

Inka Grings career starts in 2014, when the first female football team has been set up by the MSV Duisburg. Thanks to her technique, she carried her team from the youth field till the Fußball-Bundesliga. Between 2016 and 2017, her team gained the Bundesliga.

Photo: jarmoluk CC0

German classes

Too shy to speak Goethe’s language? Join our German conversation course!

Ok, you’re finally in Berlin. New life, new home, new roommates. It’s time to turn over a new leaf!

You’ve studied for so many years and the time is right to practice your German language skills. So, you ask roommate to lend her hairbrush, and what?! She has slapped you on face! What’s wrong??? Maybe it’s time to understand the difference between Brüste (plural of die Brust – breast) and Bürste (hairbrush)!

Why a German conversation course can turn your life completely

Observation, listening, understanding, speaking: just a word… conversation! This is the real word-key to actually understand a foreign language, to grasp it and wear it like a glove.  Communication is the first human need. So anyone could imagine how essential the expression of ourselves is, and how important it is to speak clearly and accurately. But how can we learn that? Simply. Do it. You cannot study forever or connect with others through ancient scrolls, sooner or later you’ll be push into the universe and you must be ready to fight.

Berlino Schule’s German conversation course

Berlino Schule, leading school in language teaching in Berlin, is here to take you by the hand. Berlino Schule is pleased to announce a new German conversation course for those who want to practice and train the knowledge acquired studying on books, in the easiest and most natural way.  Qualified teacher with long-standing training, comfortable and friendly atmosphere is the precise mix to master German language.


The course will take place from the 24th April to 22nd May, every Wednesday, 18.30-20.45.

Aim of the course

The aim of this course is to deepen the knowledge and the comprehension of spoken German. Students will be able to understand the most important information of complex texts and they will be able to understand concrete and abstract subjects. At the end of this course, students will be able to understand technical conversations of their own specialization field so as to speak fluently in order to interact with native speakers. This course is thought for people having a minimum German B1 level, wishing to train and deepen their listening comprehension and speaking skills.

Our teachers 

Lessons are held by teachers with certified experience.

Required knowledge

Having acquired the knowledge of level B1.


230 €  whole course.

Info and registration

For further info@berlinoschule.com


Franzbrötchen, the German croissant born as rebellion against French occupation

The flattened croissant: traditional pastry of northern Germany come from historical conflict

The Franzbrötchen – literally «french roll»- is a classic pastry of Hamburg commonly found in the northern Germany, including Berlin. It looks like a croissant, but has a flattened shape with more strong flavour due to the addition of cinnamon. Its birth can be trace back to the early 1800s and seems to be connected with the siege of Hamburg city by Napoleonic troops.

Born as «pacific rebellion»

During the French occupation (1810-14), Hamburg was pushed to modify its own confectionery tradition. Indeed, the Napoleonic troops, being nostalgic of homely taste, wanted local bakers to make croissant. However, the outcome was far enough away from the original pastry, as can be experienced tasting the Franzbrötchen. There are two possible explanations about it. The first one is that the German bakers weren’t good at recreate the softeness of French pastry, accustomed to use more heavy dough compared to. Based on Atlas Obscura, it could be another one which is much more sneaky.  Likely, Hamburg bakers pretend to misunderstand the French request and, as a gesture of «pacific rebellion», supplying a «german-style croissants» to enemy soldiers, with addition of cinnamon.

The recipe

Without regard to different hypothesis, Franzbrötchen is still today an enjoyable pastry to bake and eat. We show you below a version of  its recipe.

Ingredients (6 serves):

For the dough:

  • 300 g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 35 g softened butter
  • 35 g white sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 small cube of fresh yeast
  • 125 ml warm milk

For the stuffing:

  • 35 g softened butter
  • 35 g white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon


Combine flour, egg, butter, sugar and salt in a big bowl. Dissolve the yeast in warm milk, then blend into the rest of the ingredients and knead until smooth. Cover and let rise about an hour. Next, roll out the dough on workbench and smear softened butter on the surface. Using a teaspoon, sprinkle a mix of sugar and cinnamon. Roll up onto itself and then cut transversely into slices with an angle of 45° in the shape form of trapezium. Place on baking sheet and slightly press in the middle of each section with handle of a wooden spoon. Bake in the oven at 180 °C for 20 minutes. Et voilà, ready to taste! 😉

Pexel  CCo creative commons