“Time to start a new chapter”:  uncertainty looms as the Merkel era comes to an end 

Image Credit: Wikipedia (CC-BY-SA-3.0) “It is time to start a new chapter” declared Angela Merkel, announcing her decision not to run for re-election as chancellor in 2021 and to stand down as chair of the centre-right CDU at the party’s conference in December. A chancellor for 13 years and a CDU chairwoman since 2000, Merkel […]

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The Tragedy of Mesut Özil

Image Credit: Ronnie Macdonald (CC BY 2.0) Recently, Mesut Özil announced his retirement from international football at the relatively young age of 29, citing racism as the reason for his decision. I think I can safely say that his decision to quit caught a lot of the football community by surprise. Sure, we thought, there […]

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Positive Refugee Stories

It is undeniable that we have been facing a refugee crisis in Europe – over a million people travelled here in 2015 hoping to build a new life. This year, the numbers entering are not as overwhelming, but we are still left with the challenge of how to cope with the hundreds of thousands of […]

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Wish you were Herr: student tourism in Germany

In my experience, most British people don’t go to Germany on holiday. Business, Oktoberfest, friends, perhaps, but a German holiday is greeted with faint bemusement. Perhaps people have visions of finding themselves floundering in John Cleese-esque “don’t mention the war” predicaments; or perhaps another practical, grey Northern European country simply doesn’t have the appeal of […]

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Merkel’s buzz to cripple CDU?

Angela Merkel’s election victory has been widely hailed as historic, on a personal as well as political level: not only did her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) achieve its best result since 1994, with 41.5% of the vote, but she herself gained an impressive third term as Chancellor of Germany – only the third post-war […]

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Arturo Ui – a fine spectacle and a warning

Sceptics may think a performance of a play about Nazism written during the Second World War would be ‘old hat’. However, I defy anyone to find Jonathan Church’s marvellous revival of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui passé. Comedy, live music and glamorous costumes are brought together with superb acting to heighten a […]

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Giving the homeless a helping ‘pfand’

Traveling can truly open your eyes to the extraordinary, and often overlooked differences between supposedly similar regions. Take for example, the different drinking cultures to be found in my homeland of England, and my current home of Germany. Here in Deutschland, the cheapest beers will set you a back a mere sixty cents, and, conforming […]

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