Erichs Lampenladen

Erich Honecker’s lampe shoppe.

Nickname of the Palast der Republik in the former East Berlin, which had many moderne chandeliers under its ceilings.

From a wonderful website featuring timelines, videos and other explanations and evidence to help Berlin tourists celebrate 24 years of the fall of the Wall and to help everyone remember what things were like in the walled city between 1961 and 1989.

(Air ichhhhhh z   LOMP en LOD en.)


To this foreigner, Blaupause looks like “blue break,” which might indicate a nice use of free time in a well-situated beer garden because “blue” means drinking in Germany. But the word actually means “blueprints.”

New ESM head Jeroen Dijsselbloem angered some small countries whose economies are dependent on a large banking sector or at least threatened by large bank failures when he indicated that elements found to work in what the EU does in Cyprus—reduction of a banking sector that had grown to 7x the size of the country’s economy, reregulation of the remaining banks—could be applied to other Member States that get in too much trouble.

About Cyprus: German news reports that, during the past fortnight of negotiations when large transfers from Cypriot banks were supposed to be frozen, over a billion euros were nevertheless transferred off the island by foreign banks, mostly in London. A whistleblower list has appeared containing names of parliament members, local officials and associated companies and organizations that received millions in loans between 2007 and 2012 from the country’s two largest banks (Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank, plus Hellenic Bank in only one instance so far) but did not have to pay the full loans back. The only Cypriot political parties not represented on that list were a social democratic party and an environmental party, fwiw. A second whistleblower list is expected to appear containing names of large deposit holders who managed to get their money off the island just in time.

The corruption details cited in the Spiegel article were reported by the Cyprus news portal, Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, and the Greek newspapers Ethnos and Kathimerini.

(Bl ow! Pow! Zah.)


“Onion tower,” the round domes on old towers in Russia, Bavaria and parts of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

(TSVEE bellll TOOR m.)


“Crypt,” from which the 1980’s German slang term for goths was derived. A goth punk or Grufti was thus literally a “crypty,” “tomb-y” or perhaps “burial vaulty.” According to, Grufti is now also slang for an old person.

(Grew ft.)


“Fire protection system,” fire safety system. The most expensive failure at Berlin’s new airport, blamed for over a trillion euros in unplanned costs and delays of more than a year. It seems the Willy Brandt airport’s architects decided traditional smoke extraction systems, in the form of vents and fans hung under the airport’s ceilings, where smoke actually rises to, would put too many ugly ducts in view. They decided to run the smoke extraction system under the airport’s flooring, necessitating extra-powerful fans and kilometers of conduits for the extra cabling required. But apparently construction proceeded too rapidly while these design decisions were being taken, and communication with the construction side was poor, because the in-floor smoke extraction system was built without conduits for all its cables. The airport’s floors are now being torn up to create these. A new top manager has been brought in, with experience from large projects at Frankfurt/Main airport. He says things are going to work out fine.

A similar jaw-dropping story happened when the well-known Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe high-speed train station was built.

(BROND shoots on log eh.)


“Size craziness.” Such as the overdimensioned construction projects Valencia’s politicians built with money the Spanish region didn’t have.

(GRUE senn VON.)


Nickname of a yellow highrise the Axel Springer publishing company built next to the Wall in Berlin’s old publishing district.


A period between 1815 and 1848 when the arts in central Europe changed to reflect wealthy non-aristocrats’ sensibilities. Initially, designs went from rococo to clean lines. I’ve always thought of this word as being composed of bieder and Meyer, the last name used as a metaphor for the common man.

(BEE der MY er.)

stalinistischer Zuckerbäckerstil

“Stalinist ‘sugar baker’ style.” Stalinist wedding cake architecture. Monumental buildings with strange ornamentation.

(Shtol een ISS tish er TSOOK er beck er shteel.)

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