Postcard from... Berlin


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The Independent Online

Berlin likes to boast that it is one of the hippest cities in Europe, but some parts of the once divided German capital still seem like somewhere on the Moon.

The derelict wasteland of Oberschöneweide is one such place. Before the fall of the Wall in 1989, the far flung district on the banks of the Spree river rated as one of East Berlin’s main industrial areas.

It was, and still is, packed with decaying 19th and early 20th-century factory buildings. Many of them are listed. Officials have been wondering what to do with them for the past 20 years, without much success.

Now, none other than Canadian rock star, Bryan Adams, appears to have come to the rescue. A large factory hall in Oberschöneweide is to be turned into a “Living and Cultural Centre” for Adams and his artist friends.

Adams has taken up the idea of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who considered buying up four of the factory halls in 2011 before he was put under house arrest by the Chinese government. “We are pleased that this has now worked,” said district councillor Rainer Hölmer.

“The move of Bryan Adams could provide the impulse that Schöneweide needs.” Hopes are indeed high. Earlier this year, in Düsseldorf, Adams put a selection of photographs he shot of Amy Winehouse on display.

Now he is set to become Oberschöneweide’s saviour: “When Bryan Adams moves in and brings others with him, such as architects and creative people, it will give the entire art scene a boost,” said a spokesman for the district’s management team.