While in Holland working as a political analyst, I came to Belgium quite often, mainly to Brussels. I have since returned a few times to see friends who have ended up here in one way or another, just like last week.


The Berlaymont, housing the EU Commission

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West Berliner Platten

My recent stay in Berlin, especially the frequent cycling, has brought me past some impressive housing projects in the city’s West. Unfortunately, the two more internationally renowned projects I was planning to see were not among them. They’re saved for next time.

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Woodberry Down

To my surprise, one of Europe’s biggest urban regeneration projects is slowly taking shape close to where I used to live in London. Woodberry Down is an older estate and one of London’s most iconic. Practically all buildings will be torn down to make space for a very ambitious development. I took a stroll around here last weekend.

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Cycling Brandenburg

We have been cycling plenty while in Germany from mid-June until mid-July. A lot of it has been through Berlin, allowing me to see parts of my hometown that I hadn’t seen before (e.g. here). The high point of our biking, however, was a three-day tour from Berlin to my parents’ home in northwestern Brandenburg. Herewith some impressions from the trip.

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Waldsiedlung Krumme Lanke

This “forest settlement” in Berlin’s Zehlendorf district is an eerie place. Finished in 1939, the SS wanted only its own officers to live here. The rural architecture is out of place in a metropolis like Berlin, which ventured far down the modern road just a decade before. We came across this important residential complex during one of our cycling trips through Berlin’s southwest.

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Forum Museumsinsel

Berlin has many high-profile holes in its urban fabric. These can be relics of the Cold War era – places in between East and West Berlin. They can also be derelict buildings with unclear ownership status. Others on the other hand can fall victim to their own ambition. Wandering through the large Forum Museumsinsel, I was wondering whether the place falls into the latter category.

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When in Berlin I live a five-minute walk away from Alexanderplatz. The square has had a tumultuous past. Its glory days were in the early twentieth century when it was one of the busiest intersections in the city. Completely destroyed during the war, Alexanderplatz was rebuilt as a Socialist model square. Today, and quite¬†synonymous with Berlin as a whole,¬†there’s a lot of confusion over the future direction of urban planning.


Alexa shopping centre

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