Locals Upset As Neighborhood Attracts Tourists

As a Berlin neighborhood gains favor among foreign tourists, locals are fighting to preserve their community's charm and identity.
March 12, 2011, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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The increase in tourism in the neighborhood has seeded gentrification and caused rents to increase. Locals are not happy.

"Recently, locals in Kreuzberg have been heatedly discussing the visitors who flock to the district, which is famous for its alternative edge and multicultural vibe. The number of overnight stays there has, according to the local Green Party, almost tripled in recent years, to 2.37 million in 2009. More and more cheap hostels are springing up -- in the past five years, their number has risen from 30 to 50. Increasingly, apartments in the area are not being rented out for Berliners to live in, but as holiday flats for tourists.

The Kreuzberg residents, like those who live in other fashionable areas of Berlin such as Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Mitte, are plagued with a problem: Parts of these neighborhoods have become increasingly desirable in recent years, with rapid gentrification occurring as a result. And now the influx of tourists is driving rents up even higher."

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Published on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 in Der Spiegel
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