Berliners have many nicknames for the buildings surrounding them. We collected these names for you, so you will know exactly what Berliners are talking about if they mention the Popes Revench or the Reichsaffenhaus.
The building is gone, but the stories remain. Palast der Republik ceased to exist in 2008, but the nickname still rings in our airs: Erichs Lampenlade. The Palast der Republik was the building where the GDR government was seated and it had a lot of bulbs inside. Hence the name: Erichs Lampenlade. It means: Erichs bulbshop, after the GDR leader Erich Honecker. Another nickname was: Palazzo di Prozo, meaning: show off palace.
The Haus der Kulturen der Welt in the middle of Tiergarten is a famous Berlin building where you can check out art, dance and theatre. But Berliners are more familiar with the nickname ‘Schwangere Auster’. Meaning: pregnant oyster. If you look at the building with its round arches, you will see they do have a point. It looks a bit like an oyster that is about to burst. Other nicknames are: Betonauster (concrete oyster) and Babywaage (an infant scale). Must be a huge baby…
The Reichstag or Bundestag plays an important role in German politics. The German Parliament is seated here. When it was build, the emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II already hated it. He thought the new building was a complete failure and therefore he nicknamed it the Reichsaffenhaus. The architect had to change his drawings over and over again to satisfy him, but the Kaiser never liked the building. The people of Berlin felt sorry for the architect. After it was built, the Reichstag experienced more disasters. It has been set on fire and was bombed during the Second World War. But that’s all in the past. Now the Reichsaffenhaus (Reichs Monkey Haus ) is visited by lots of tourists. Not because they think the building is a failure. But because they love the architecture.
The Kurfurstendamm is Berlin’s shopping mile. At Charlottenburg’s pride and joy you will find a kilometers long stretch with glamorous shops from the main European design clothes brands. Elderly ladies covered in fur dribble in front of the large windowsills on what bling bling ring or glam dress to get next, before they go shopping at Kaufhaus des Westens, or KaDeWe. But the Kudamm is also a touristy spot, hence the Berlin nickname for the shopping street: Buletten Boulevard. Because walking and shopping for miles makes you crave crave for greasy meat, like the Berlin Buletten, a typical Berlin meatball.
The Fernsehturm makes Berlin the city it is. The Fernsehturm is on tourist cards and on photo’s you send home after a vacation in Berlin. The Fernsehturm lights up the Berlin sky. Build in 1969 the Fernsehturm was the pride and joy of the GDR. And soon after it was erected, it also got it’s two nicknames: Rache des Papstes (Popes Revenge) and St. Walter, after GDR leader Walter Ulbricht. Although the GDR government was very anti-religion, a large radiant cross appeared on the Fernsehturm when the sun rays hit the large glittering disco ball. It surely must have been the popes’ revenge.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche is one of the landmarks of Berlin. One look at the ruins of the old church and it is not hard to imagine what Berlin must have been like after World War two. Nearly bombed to pieces. The Berlin nickname for the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche is spot on. Hohler Zahn. Hollow molar. With a little bit of imagination it looks like a hollow gum in your mouth. The new bell tower has a fancy Berlin nickname as well: lippenstift (lipstick) and the new part of the church is called ‘puderdose’ (powder box). In combination: Hohler Zahn mit Lippenstift und Puderdose. It almost sounds like an old lady with bad teeth who tries to look good. Another nickname of the new part of the church is: Eierkiste (Egg crate), after the architect Egon Eiermann.