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Spies in the "Land of Fire"

Friedrichstraße in Mitte is one of the most elegant streets in Berlin. Its northern extension towards Wedding has always been a bit rougher around the edges: Chausseestraße had so many factories with smoking chimneys in the nineteenth century that it was dubbed the "Land of Fire". After 1961, Chausseestraße became cut off by the Wall as it separated the districts of Mitte and Wedding. After the fall of the Wall, it once again became a thoroughfare and home to some of the rather different and creative projects that are typical of Berlin.

A Street of many faces

The Hafenbar at Chauseestraße 20, for example, had been an extensive amusement arcade during GDR times; its new operators turned it into popular karaoke club. Sarah Wiener, who has since become a star chef with a reputation across Germany, set up her first restaurant "Speisezimmer" in the industrial building at Chausseestraße 8. The former workshops for the Opernwerkstätten (state opera house) are used for ever-changing dining, art and fashion events. And the Erika Hess ice rink at the northern end of Chauseestraße will be showcased in Summer 2014 Berlin Fashion Week. The street that has so many different aspects is facing another change: The German Federal Intelligence Service, the BND, is building its new headquarters on the site of the former World Youth Stadium. Designed by Kleihues & Kleihues, this building complex will have thousands of windows and be decorated with two artificial palm trees. Construction is largely complete and by the end of 2016, approximately 4,000 employees of the BND to move in here.