Neukölln´s District Mayor Franziska Giffey welcomed WiB

Early April Dr. Franziska Giffey, the mayor of Berlin’s Neukölln district, welcomed a truly international group of visitors in her office in Neukölln´s Karl-Marx-Straße. The mayor spend more than two hours introducing her guests to the enormous challenges her district is facing: more than 140 nationalities, 80 different religious groups and probably up to 30,000 unregistered people living in this borough of 330,000 inhabitants.

Dr. Giffey heads a very colourful part of Berlin that is densely populated, in the north bordering on the Kreuzberg district but also with its green lungs and single family houses in the south of the district. 75% of its annual budget of 800 million Euros (allocated by the Senate of Berlin out of its general budget) is being spend on social welfare and related programmes – 1% only is available for investments. These numbers explain the day-to-day problems this community faces.

After Q&A the group started for a walk to the compound of former Kindl brewery. The group first-hand encountered the borough´s innovative and creative side. Young artists with their creative start-ups moved into the former brewery building – a Swiss couple erected a super modern building now dedicated as a Centre for Contemporary Art.

Conflicting impressions were with the visitors´ after leaving Neukölln – but what could be more important than visiting areas of Berlin we do not really know and are different from the places where most of us live?