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Involve, Uncategorized

Digital, fast & unbureaucratic: the experience applying for emergency funds left Berlin freelancers impressed (& confused)

Not only has Germany reacted fast in curving the public health hazards of COVID-19, it has also been quick to support vital components of the local and national economy. Public authorities across the country have broken very German traits and habits by forgetting budget balancing golden rules and making sure all actors, big and small, receive emergency funds until the economy kickstarts again.

Berlin is no exception to the rule. In record-time, Berlin setup a straightforward application process, under IBB guidance, to help freelancers and small-companies out-there.

On 27/03 at 13h, this tweet launched an unprecedented frenzy of applications from nearly 400 000 applicants within 24h

The scale with which this support mechanism was conceived & implemented is simply unheard of, and a far cry from what everyone would expect from German bureaucracy. The general sigh of relief and overall enthusiasm was shared among friends, social media and reported in the media too. But how unGerman was this whole thing exactly?

Asking around self-employed friends, it became evident that this was defying everybody’s expectations.

  • Not a single document to upload
  • No proof of lost income required
  • Only a dozen fields to fill in with basic data

This made me curious and wanting to dig deeper. How was everybody’s experience? To that purpose, i published a poll online to gather a few data points.

Click on the image to see the poll live.

Here are some learnings. If you are in a hurry, you can get the quick facts hereunder and/or read on for details.

TL;DR: the quick facts

German version available here.

Corona zuschuss poll results infographics
Click on the image to access the original file. German version available here.
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Involve, Uncategorized

A meta-guide for freelancers in Berlin to face the Corona lock-down

The German federal state and Berlin have taken unprecedented steps to help self-employed people during this crisis. The situation is evolving fast and it’s hard to keep an overview.

This post aims at providing as many resources as possible to let you sail through the storm. All the best and good luck.

Updated 31.03: to include Entschädigungen nach dem Infektionsschutzgesetz.

Updated 01.04: to include FAQs on Soforthilfe 2, and a poll i made to measure the success rate of applications. Please fill it in if you have made an application, only 5 easy questions, less than a min!

Updated 02.04: to include updated rules on Soforthilfe 2 stated by the IBB.

Updated 03.04: to include updates rules on Soforthilfe 2 and how the money can be used.

Updated 07.04: to include resources provided by the senate/city and updated information on ALG2.

Updated 08.04: Soforthilfe 2 is now called “Corona Zuschuss”.

Updated 10.04: Including infos about reducing Krankenkasse contributions with KSK, TK and others. Also including new contact info to IBB.

Updated 15.04: Including an handy “how-to” video to fill in the ALG2 application form.

Updated 19.04: Including link to a petition to remove restrictions on how Corona Zuschuss money can be used.

Updated 24.04: Including a special support program for live music artists and more crowdfunding options.

Updated 26.05: Visa holders may receive support money until September now, without worrying about their residence permits.

Updated 24.07: New aid packages will be made available to support artists and cultural organisations. This time it will be done via sector specific processes. Info about those here.

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Seriously now: why is internet so bad in Germany anyway?

Judging by the amount of posts in the various Facebook groups and the comments’ section on this very blog, newcomers never cease to be baffled about how poor access to reliable internet is in this country. Whether it’s at home or on mobile, it’s hard for some to move to the first European economic power and experience internet like it’s 2009.

This happened to me too naturally. It’s more expensive, slower than back home and don’t get me started on how it takes to even open a line. This made me curious: how did this happen? I mean surely, reliable and fast internet is key to economic success. How has Germany let this develop?

Come with me on a journey of poor technological choices, lobbying and weak political will.

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6 things you can do in Berlin instead of going to May Day’s Fests

The real first days of Spring are finally here and the summer is luring in the distance. After the long days of Winter, you find yourself in dire need of outdoor entertainment. What better way to quench that thirst than going on a urban trip on the 1st of May? All the right ingredients are there after all: free concerts, cheap booze, & general sense of laissez-faire with the occasional fight. In a nutshell : the perfect occasion to meet up with some friends and spend some time in a joyous atmosphere around Kottbusser Tor or Görlitzer Park.

However the reality is far from ideal. The 1st of May is best defined by the following:

  • Unmanageable crowds in narrow streets meaning it takes about 45min to walk 200m
  • Permanently losing friends that didn’t follow the group properly, thus spending half of the time trying to back-track them, instead of enjoying
  • The impossibility of contacting them via cellphone since connection is non-existent (refer to 1st bullet point for explanation)
  • A tons of concerts way too close to one another, with never-ending sound system competitions. This means you either can’t hear the music properly or risk hear loss.
  • Pick-pockets & fights

My point: Here are some 6 free ways to better use your time around the city.

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If you want to make a donation & help refugees around Berlin

Giving to refugees in Berlin

Hi everyone. I’m sure you have seen it everywhere on the news : a crisis. lots of refugees. It’s probably the biggest challenge for Europe right now.

All those events are way beyond our scale of power, influence or understanding. However, It feels like we could assist a little the effort of supporting those people leaving everything behind to come to Europe & to come to Berlin.

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Enchanted Berlin : The dangers of being post-tourists

This post is addressed at everyone out-there wanting to move to Berlin after a sweet sweet dreamy stay. I have got a message for you : you have been bewitched, and the Berlin you have seen is enchanted. The curse is called : Post-tourism.


Post tourism you said ?

Contrary to the classical definition, i mean the following : The post-tourist is the person that settles in Berlin (or wants to) after spending some time here while not having residency in the city. The city has made such an impression on him/her that every effort will be made to try to extend this experience as much as possible.

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