Entry bans in Brandenburg: Mark and metropolis need each other

Help the Berliners are coming! The latest restrictions have what it takes to fuel old resentments. A weekly comment.

The Glienicke Bridge connects Berlin and Brandenburg | Photo: Uwe Rada
The Glienicke Bridge connects Berlin and Brandenburg | Photo: Uwe Rada

The Berliners are coming. This was the slogan in the early 1990s when a school class from Friedrichshain traveled to Brandenburg in a school hostel. When the Berliners were there, the boys from the village came with wooden slats. At that time my girlfriend’s daughter was stunned, who had to experience this. The class immediately returned to Berlin.

I had to think about this story when I read on Facebook these days how uncomfortable some feel when driving through Brandenburg with a Berlin license plate. Previously, not only the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had closed the Scots, but also the Brandenburg district of Ostprignitz-Ruppin. Even those who are registered in their country house with a second home should not be allowed in from Saturday. Unless the work makes it imperative. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a Spiegel employee rumored, the Berliners are already hiding their cars in the barn so as not to be discovered as the capital of the city.

Whatever else I had to think about: Last year Berlin and Brandenburg celebrated Theodor Fontane’s 200th birthday. At the end of the celebrations, Fontane, Brigitte Faber-Schmidt, the head of Brandenburg’s cultural state, had reconciled the divided Brandenburg with herself. But Fontane was also a reconciler between the market and the metropolis. Incidentally, his birthplace is Neuruppin, the district town of Ostprignitz-Ruppin. There, the entry stop is also justified with the tourists from Berlin, who you don’t want to have in corona times. It was Fontane who brought the beauty of the Mark closer to Berliners.

Against the “cutlets”

The resentments are still there. It was against the “bulettes” in the GDR era. Better cared for. Then later against the arrogant capitals. Conversely, the Berliners scoff at the Brandenburgers. You can’t open your mouth. And everywhere in the fall the blue election posters. In good times you pack your resentment into a joke. And in bad? Do you let the spirit out of the bottle?

In 2008, I was allowed to publish the accompanying volume for the theme year of Brandenburg’s cultural region. It was about the relationship between Mark and the metropolis. All authors agreed that Berlin and Brandenburg need each other. The title of the volume was “metabolism”. Brandenburg supplied Berlin with building materials, it said at one point, while Berlin supplied the Mark with tourists. A win-win situation.

Today this applies more than ever. It is often Berliners who are now bringing new ideas to remote rural areas, new employment models, new momentum. But what if freelancers such as IT experts or photographers now have to leave the place where they want to start a business just because they have their first place of residence in Berlin?

Conversely, the number of commuters from Brandenburg who work in Berlin is increasing. It is this metabolism 2.0 that distinguishes Brandenburg from Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It is the stuff the future of the region is made of. Let’s not tear it up.

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