Monday, October 31, 2011

Joy Denalane

Her Webpage
Joy Denalane is a German Singer-Songwriter from Berlin. She has a nice mix of soul and hip hop with a splash of her African roots. Her father is South African, and her mother German. I first heard her sing with Max Herre on the Freundeskreis hit 'Mit Dir.' She and Max Herre were married, separated and are newly back together and collaborated on her new album.

She sings in both German and English. Her first album Mamani and her latest album Maureen, which is her middle name, are predominately in German. Her second album Born & Raised is in English and features some US American rappers. Here is her page on Grooveshark.

The first video can not be viewed in Germany, because media companies are annoying and blocked it. Hopefully you can view it where ever you are!

This video is from her New Album Maureen that came out earlier this year

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reformationstag & Allerheiligen

Vampire vs. Fiona

In Germany, Halloween is not an official Holiday. However it is recognized as an excuse to party! Instead of kids dressing up and running from house to house trick or treating. You will more likely see teenager and adults dress up and head to a club or a party. This is at least my experience here in Berlin.

And Good luck finding something for kids! I know of only one Halloween party for kids, a German/English daycare group is having a special Halloween Day for their kids. Ooh wow! But don't worry kids do get to dress up for Carnival!

Ok so no official Halloween, but there still is Reformationstag! Woohoo!


Reformationstag is celebrated on October 31, in only a few German States, those that are predominately Protestant states, the former East German States. This Holiday celebrates the day Martin Luther nailed his letter (The 95 Theses) on the door of a Catholic Church back in 1517. His writings complained about the paying of indulgences in the church and is considered to have sparked the Protestant Reformation!

Allerheiligen comes the next day, November 1st, this is the Catholic Holiday of All Saints Day. Like Reformationstag it is not celebrated in every German State. This time it is the predominantly Catholic and former Western German states that get the day off.

In the Catholic Church, Allerseelen, All Souls Day, is also celebrated on the next day, November 2nd. This is not an official state holiday, though in some parts of Germany people visit the grave sites of their loved ones and light candles. Like is done for Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) for Latin Americans, but extremely toned down!

This is just the beginning, there are still at least four more Holidays in November. Not including Advent or Thanksgiving! Let start warming the gluhwein!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The Zodiac Signs 
Sternzeichen -(directly translated) Star Signs
Tierkreiszeichen -(directly translated) Animal Circle Signs

In German the Signs of the Zodiac have more descriptive names then the Latin names we use in English.

Widder -  Aries                The symbol is the Ram - der Schafbock.
Stier - Taurus                  The symbol is the Bull - der Bulle / der Stier.
Zwillinge - Gemini           The symbol is the Twins - die Zwillinge.
Krebs - Cancer              The symbol is the Crab - die Krabbe / der Krebs.

Löwe - Leo                    The symbol is the Lion - der Löwe.
Jungfrau - Virgo            The symbol is either the Maiden - die Maid, or the Virgin - die Jungfrau.
Waage - Libra               The symbol is the Scales - die Waage.
Skorpion - Scorpio        The symbol is the Scorpion - der Skorpion.
Schütze - Sagittarius       The symbol it the Centaur (with a bow and arrow) - der Kentaur / der Zentaur. It is often referred to as the Archer - der Bogenschütze.

Steinbock - Capricornus   The symbol is the Capricorn (a goat with a fish tail) - der Steinbock. Sometimes people refer to it as the Goat - die Ziege.

Wassermann - Aquarius   The symbol it the Water Bearer - der Wasserträger. In English, we separate the Sign 'Aquarius' from the symbol the 'Water Bearer.' In German they do not not and so it is better to just use Wassermann.
Fische - Pesces             The symbol is the Fish - der Fisch.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sternwarte, Fernrohr, und Konstellation

Berliner Sternwarte

Today the Berlin Observatory is no longer located in the City. Due to the growth of the city and increased difficulties of observing the night sky through increasing light pollution, it was moved to Babelsberg in 1913.

In Berlin there are at least five remaining observatories. Apparently over the years there were many different locations used for the Observatory in Berlin.

The Archenhold Sternwarte in Alt-Treptow, Berlin, has exhibits to visit with the highlight being, the longest moveable refracting telescope in the world. You can see it poking out over the roof of observatory's entrance way in the photo.

Now for some vocab.

das Observatorium -observatory
die Sternwarte - Astronomical observatory

das Teleskop -telescope
das Fernrohr -telescope

die Milchstraße- the Milky Way
das Schwarze Loch -black hole
die Konstellation -constellation

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Luftfahrt mit Raumschiff

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
The German Aerospace Center

They have a line up of projects dealing with aviation as well as outer space. You can see the current projects for Luftfahrt (Air travel) and Raumfahrt (Space travel) as well as a few other areas of research, on there webpage.

das Raumschiff -space ship
die Weltraumstation -space station

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Orbit, umkreisen, drehen

I though the names of the planets in German would be interesting, but then I realized that there is not much of a  difference between the English and German names.

Mercury is Merkur and Earth is Erde, but the rest are at least spelled the same, though they are pronounced differently. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptun. Oh, no 'e' on the German Neptune!

When talking about the planets you may need a few of these words.

der Orbit
die Umlaufbahn

die Rotation -Rotation

umkreisen -to revolve

drehen -to rotate
rotieren -to rotate

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All, Weltraum, und Mehr

Since we discussed the ROSAT Satellite on Sunday, I thought to go over some related vocabulary.

When we talk about Space and Outer Space, we often mean the whole thing, the Universe. Though technically, Outer Space is the void between and around all the planets, suns, comets, and debris out there.

So when you are specifilly talking about this void, good luck, because there is no word for it in German. All the words for Universe can be used for Outer Space. 


das All
das Universum
das Weltall
der Weltraum

A few more obvious words:

Galaxie (f)- Galaxy
Sonnensystem (n)- solar system

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bonus Post: Berlin Video

Here is a Bonus Post

Video from RiSCyD: Team Black Sheep on Vimeo called Berlin

BERLIN from RiSCyD : TeamBlackSheep on Vimeo.

Max Herre & Freundeskreis

Max Herre is a German singer-songwriter and producer. He is originally from Stuttgart and in the mid 90's he and two friends started the group, Freundeskreis, meaning 'Circle of Friends.'  

FK, (the bands nickname) was a German hip hop band that was together for just over 10 years (96-07). They were a very socially conscience group and sang in multiple language. German, English, French and even Esperanto!

Max Herre started off a solo carrier before the official end of the band in 2007. Here below is a concert performance from 2004 off his first Solo album, 'Erste Liebe' (first love). He performs with his 'then' wife, Joy Denalane.

These two first met earlier in 1999 when FK needed a female voice to pair with Max Herre, in their hit 'Mit Dir.' These two started a relationship that let to marriage and two kids. They had separated back in 2007 a few months before FK ended. Though since early 2011, they are reportedly back together.

Max Herre has released two albums, and a few singles, though most of his work goes on behind the scene as a producer.  Here is one of his newer singles, Blick nach vorn.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ROSAT & Röntgenstrahlen

A German satellite is falling to earth, or may have already, by the time this posts.

NASA- ROSAT Mission webpage

The Roentgen Satellite, ROSAT, is a decommissioned X-ray Telescope Satellite. It was created by a joint effort between Germany, the USA and the UK, and operated by Germany.

 It was sent up into space on June 1, 1990 and was scheduled to work for 18 months with the expectation it could last up to five years. It ended up lasting eight going dormant February 12th 1999. It is expected to reenter the earth's atmosphere and since there is no contact with the satellite itself, the time of reentry is set between Oct. 22 and 24. 

The name of the Satellite, Roentgen, is from the German word for X-rays, Röntgenstrahlen. Which are named after the German Physicist who discovered them, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, in 1895. For this discovery he received the First Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Schornsteinfeger-(m) chimney sweep
         Schornstein- (m) chimney, smoke stack, flue, funnel
          fegen- to sweep, mop, brush

Today the Schornsteinfeger does more then just clean out chimneys. They are responsible for measuring the efficiency of heating units. Once a year they come by your apartment to take measurements from your heating unit. I am not sure if it is for out put or defects. In general they are there to check and make sure things are working well.
The Schornsteinfeger are good luck! Because back in the day, their function of cleaning chimneys, was serious business. The regular leaning of chimneys decreased the chance of fire and kept the family safe.

Friday, October 21, 2011


When you rent an apartment in Germany you will most likely go through a Hausverwaltung and not the owner themselves.

Hausverwaltung- (f) property management

Here is a Berlin Hausverwaltung Commercial

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Heating in German Households can be performed in a variety of ways. Though I will only be mentioning the ones you are most likely to run into in a city apartment.

The Key word is: 
Etagenheizung (f)- central heating, a heating system covering a whole floor or level.

Most saniert apartments have been upgraded to Etagenheizung. Learn more about Sanieren from Tuesday's post. Etagenheizung means there is one heating unit for the whole floor or more commonly each apartment.

This distinguishes it from the previous old fashioned style of heating, where each room had it's own stove. These individual stoves were most often coal burning.

Like the one pictured here from a previous post. It only heats that room, not the whole apartment.


My apartment was upgraded at some point to Etagenheizung, with a gas boiler. You can see that there was once, individual stoves in the living room and in the bedroom.

Here you can see a piece of plywood in the corner of my bedroom covering where the stove used to be.

Now with Etagenheizung, the Gas boiler in the kitchen heats the water for the radiators in all the rooms.

Etageheizung refers to one heating unit heating the whole apartment, not the fuel used. Besides the more widely used Gas boilers, there can be ones that burn Öl, and coal.

You can guesstimate when the apartment was last upgraded by the fuel they use. Coal is the oldest form, then Öl, it was used for a while, but now it is primarily Gas Boilers that are used when upgrading apartments. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


When living in Germany one of the first things you notice when apartment hunting, is the absence of a kitchen!! What, no Kitchen? Well yeah, pretty much!

Something that we take for granted in the USA is a built in kitchen. They are standard when renting or evening buying a place. Yes, maybe we need to bring our own Fridge, but the shelves, cupboard, and counter top too!! 

If you want a place with a built in kitchen already installed, you need to look for one with an Einbauküche. The apartments with Einbauküches are often more expensive.

Einbauküche- (f) is a built in kitchen, or a fitted kitchen.

It is normal for there not to be a built in kitchen. You have to assemble your own kitchen. Though because this is normal there are all kind of second hand stores for Kitchen appliances, fridges and washing machines, as well as for kitchen cupboards and counter tops.

Here are two photos from when I first moved in. This is a month after moving in. 

Here is the Kitchen. Starting from the left is the Fridge. Second hand, 60 euros, two years later it is still working great. Then the first of two metal shelves from IKEA. The gas stove, came with the apartment, Thank Gawd, though normally the stove and sink are provided.

Then a 20 euro IKEA Desk is slid in between the wall and the stove. That was the only counter top space we had. The big white box on the wall is the water heater. It warms the water for the kitchen and shower and for the radiator heating.

On the other side of the Kitchen, starting from the door, is a white cabinet with the sink, it came with the apartment. The second metal shelve from IKEA. The Hausmeister gave us the shelves with the blue door, they had been left behind by someone and were just sitting in the basement.
The water cooker, in the bottom right hand corner, was sitting on a cardboard box. Not so stable.

Today it looks better, I have a washing machine that gives more counter top space and things have been rearranged but it is still made up of random pieces and not Einbauküche.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sanieren vs Renovieren

Sanieren- to improve something, more specifically to reconstruct, renovate, rehabilitate.
Renovieren- to renovate, redecorate, to refurbish something.

Though very similar these two words have a difference in the intensity of their meanings. Sanieren refers to intense repaires and improvements on a property. The walls are gutted and wires and pipes are replaced. It really refers to building be build back up from it's frame and structure.

Renovieren on the other hand is less intense. It refers more to a cosmetic improvement. Maybe a new floor or paint or wall paper, it is to make the place look better, not improve efficency.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Einstürzende Neubauten

Einstürzende Neubauten

Einstürzende Neubauten is a post industrial German group, that originated in West Berlin and initially formed in the early 1980's.

Their name is translated as Collapsing New Buildings, but for those who read Tuesday's post, you know that Neubau in German means more then just a new building, but refers to the quick and cheap prefabricated process of building apartments after WWII.

The group started off as a punk band, they looked pretty hard core, think Sid and Nancy. You can see what I mean in the video below. It has footage from the early years. But today they are a much more polished looking group. Blixa Bargeld, is the singer and main band member featured in the video. For comparison, he is the central member in the Photo, the only one actually looking at the camera.
 Sehnsucht by Einstürzende Neubauten

Blixa Bargeld is one of the founding members and the lead singer of the band. Not long after bringing this group together he also started working with Nick Cave and joined his band, Nick Cave and the Bad Seed. In fact he remained a member of both bands until 2003, When he decided to leave the Bad Seeds to focus on Einstürzende Neubauten.

Here is a video with Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld singing,  the Weeping Song.

Here are two videos to give you a taste of Einstürzende Neubauten style. Enjoy!

Weil Weil Weil by Einstürzende Neubauten

Sabrina by Einstürzende Neubauten

Sunday, October 16, 2011


When in Germany do as the Germans, right? In this case I am talking about garbage! Yes Garbage, the things we throw away. In Germany, the people are required to sort their garbage.  

Abfallsortierung- (f) the sorting of waste.

There are all kinds of charts like the one below, that indicate what material belongs in which container. Despite the abundance of resources to help you figure it out. I still find it confusing at times.

Original Larger Image

The garbage containers below are from the park at Tempelhof. Usually the garbage cans are only color coordinated and simply labeled. I really like these garbage cans because of the images and short reference list of examples. I really think the park service was smart to mark the garbage cans, with more details. There is a high percentage of foreigners in this area and they do not all know about or understand the garbage sorting rules.

Green Bin = Glass

wine, sekt, beer bottles,
jam and baby food jars

Ash and Coal Bin, Only at designated Grilling/BBQ areas

Grey Bin = Household Garbage


napkins, packaging and containers with contents, baby diapers, dirty paper products

Blue Bin = Paper

Yellow Bin = Packaging and Containers

juice boxes, plastic bottles, cans, plastic and metal food containers

Saturday, October 15, 2011

W.G. Wohngemeinschaft

W.G.- stands for Wohngemeinschaft (f).- (direct translation), a housing/living alliance or association. It is apartment sharing. Though it in not the same as sharing an apartment back in the States. In a W.G. all the rooms are used as bedroom. Everyone has their own room with all their thing, their bed, desk, tv, couch. They only share the kitchen and the bathroom. When you are sharing an apartment back home you almost always share a living room too.

Here is a cheezy video I found, but the end is cute.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Warm vs Kalt Miete

If you ever rent in Germany here are two term you need to understand.  Warmmiete and Kaltmiete. 

Warmmiete is directly translated as warm rent. It refers to the price of the apartment with utilities included, that is, the heat and the monthly building fees.
Kaltmiete is directly translated as cold rent. It refers to the price of the apartment without utilities included.

Here is a sample rent advertisement. Miete: is the Kaltmiete, Nebenk.: (nebenkosten) is the 'side fees' add this price to get the Warmmiete. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stock, Etage, Geschoss

In Germany the floors are numbered differently. What we call the first floor, they call it only the ground floor, Erdgeschoss. In the elevator it most often marked 'E' and sometimes '0'. The First floor in Germany is what we call the second floor, the first one above the ground floor, and on up from there

Here are all the words for 'Floor':

Stock- (m) floor, story

Stockwerk- (n) floor, level, story, structural level, note: this a the technical term for floor. I find it is used in written form more often then in the spoken language.

Etage- (f) floor, level, story

Geschoss- (n) floor, level, story

The word 'Geschoss' is used for the names of specific floors.

Dachgeschoss- (n) attic floor, loft, top floor

Erdgeschoss- (n) ground floor

Kellergeschoss- (n) basement Note: The basement is more often called just Keller.

Obergeschoss- (n) upper floor, any floor above the ground floor, but usually not used for the top floor.

Untergeschoss- (n) sublevel, any level lower then the ground floor. It is used most often when there is more then one lower level.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vorderhaus, SF, HH und QG

Vorderhaus- abbreviated, VH, front of the house; it refers to first section of the building, the section that faces the street.

Hinterhof- abbreviated, HH, behind the court yard; refers to the back section of the building, you have to cross the court yard to reach it. there can often be more then one, and are usually noted as HH 1, HH 2.

Seitenflügel- abbreviated, SF, side wing; this is the side section of the building, one also has to access it from the courtyard.

Here is a diagram of an apartment building, (with a Google maps base), the front of the building and the front door is marked 'Vorderhaus'. Then the SF and the HH.

The buzzers for the apartments of these buildings, often are organized by VH, SF, HH. Below the buzzers are marked with VH on the left side and SF u. QG on the right.  'Seitenflügel and Quergebäude' In some cases the Hinterhof is called Quergebaude. 'Quer' meaning cross or lateral and 'gebäude' meaning building. Though I have never seen it before, in all the 3 years here in Berlin.