Haus Neuerburg is a beautiful building, an officially listed monument built almost 100 years ago by a cigarette manufacturer and the Consul General of Greece. Nevertheless, Hans-Jürgen Oster, head of the municipal refugee agency, had certain reservations when he moved in at the beginning of 2016 with his newly founded department. The offices of the Cologne AfD parliamentary group are located right next to the rooms he found space in, after his offices outgrew their former location in the city's Rathaus, or town hall. “This is a group and an office which we would normally not house next to each other,” says Oster cautiously. But then he said resolutely, “Gucken wir uns das doch mal an,” or “Well, we might as well see.” The AfD does not have as large of a presence in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as elsewhere in Germany, but received 7.2 percent of the vote in state elections in 2017, enough to comfortably put them into the parliament. … [Read more...] about Cologne Coexistence: Where the AfD and a refugee agency share an office space
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The number of Brits resident in the German capital rose sharply this year to 15,898, according to official statistics, making Berlin host to the largest British community in Germany. The number has risen by more than 40 per cent since December 2016, according to data from Berlin and Brandenburg’s Office of Statistics (Afs). “Berlin is a fashionable place to turn up and try your luck,” Daniel Tetlow, co-founder of British in Germany, told The Local. The journalist and activist speculates that most of the Brits who recently registered in Berlin are new arrivals, as opposed to people who may have come out of local obscurity. “Many are Brits who have fled the main British cities, they are fleeing Brexit,” speculates Tetlow, based on information gathered from events with British expatriates, hosted in recent months by British in Germany. “The reasons why people come to Berlin are of course varied. But especially young Brits come here mostly for … [Read more...] about ‘They’re fleeing Brexit’: More Brits moving to Germany despite uncertainty
If you have lived in France, or perhaps simply been a regular observer of French media and politics, you’ll have witnessed how often people refer to le monde anglo-saxon or even le modèle anglo-saxon. Far from referring to medieval Britain as you’d be forgiven for thinking, the commentators or politicians or economists are actually talking about the modern English speaking world, from the US and Great Britain to Australia and Canada, and pretty much any country where English is spoken. “The French breezily refer to les Anglo-Saxons when talking about the British, the Americans, the Canadians, the Australians or some mix of all four," writes Emile Chabal, director of the Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Edinburgh on the site Aeon. "They are more than happy to engage in vigorous arguments about the so-called modèle anglo-saxon, which has become a catch-all term to describe a variety … [Read more...] about Why do the French still call us ‘Les Anglo-Saxons’?
There are also the camps set up by the Roma community around the city (see photo below), which are regularly pulled down by the police. Another problem that doesn't seem to have a solution. "There have been more and more French people ending up on the streets in recent years with rising unemployment. And there is a problem with the lack of local solidarity," Louis-Xavier Leca, Director of La Cloche, an organisation that promotes relationships between neighbourhood businesses, residents and the homeless living there, told The Local. "After my own experience spending time in Chile and West Africa, I think it can be worse to fall on hard times in Paris than in poorer countries. People tend to be more isolated here," he added. Drugs The problem of drugs blights most cities but it often appears more visible in certain parts of Paris. Obviously if you head over to the wealthy 8th or 16th arrondissements you are unlikely to get the impression that … [Read more...] about The other Paris: A look at the darker sides of the City of Light
These expressive hand gestures are like a whole other language. Some are obvious, but there are others you need to be in the know to decode. In the video below we asked Parisians to explain a few of their hand manoeuvres. The eye This one involves pulling your lower eyelid down with one finger It means you don’t believe what someone’s just told you. Often accompanied with the expression “Mon oeuil” (my eye) it’s similar to the English expression “my foot”, except it actually seems to make sense. It’s like “unless I see it with my own eyes, I don’t believe it”. The arm chop When someone makes a gesture like they’re chopping their wrist with their other hand, gather your stuff because it’s time to go. And make it quick, the chop is for when you’ve really got to get out of there. The limp hand move Don’t be surprised if a French person starts whipping their hand back and … [Read more...] about VIDEO: Gesticular troubles