Kiez is a somewhat emotionally charged word in Berlin dialect. It means your neighborhood, your distinctive small part of the city where you feel at home and people know you in the pubs.
This is a word that does not exist in southern Germany, and in northern Germany it means something else, like the red-light district in Hamburg.
My first photo shows the Kiezbüro (neighborhood office) at Seelingstraße 14 in Berlin-Charlottenburg, where volunteers take on projects like organizing neighborhood festivals, promoting intercultural understanding, improving traffic safety or promoting cultural events.
Around the corner at Nehringstraße 26 is another organization called DIVAN, which sounds very much the same but even more intercultural. It would be nice if some local resident of this Kiez could fill me in on what the difference is between these two organizations and whether they cooperate or compete with each other.
There is also a Kiez bicycle shop in the same street.
We non-Berliners should be a bit careful about using the word Kiez, because it doesn’t sound right with a non-Berlin accent, and they tend to get suspicious and think we are trying to talk down to them or sell them something.
My photos in this post are from 2009. I revised the text in 2019.
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