Swabians on the Loose in Berlin

As the recently crowned Champions League winner Bayern Munich gets set to square off against Bundesliga rival VfB Stuttgart tonight in the final of the German soccer cup in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, the city is bracing for a Swabian invasion.

Swabia is a region in southern Germany whose largest city is Stuttgart. There are many Swabians living in Berlin, and they are much maligned as carpetbaggers and agents of gentrification. This goes back to the early days of reunification, when real estate in former East Berlin was bought up and renovated by wealthy Germans from the West, many of them from the south of the country. Nowadays, longterm residents of districts like Prenzlauer Berg can no longer afford to live there as their neighborhoods are overrun with yuppies and hipsters. Longstanding bars and clubs are under threat of closing due to noise complaints from new neighbors with small-town mentalities.

People from the country’s prosperous south who have moved to “poor-but-sexy” Berlin are now habitually slapped with the newly derogatory term “Swabian.” But they aren’t taking the abuse lying down: http://www.nytimes.com/…/swabian-separatists-fling-spatzle-to-make-a-point

We don’t expect the tension to turn into actual violence or anything, but there are probably a few bars in Berlin that Stuttgart fans should stay away from tonight. On the other hand, if their team manages to beat widely-detested Bayern Munich (the epitome of rich southern Germany), that might be a small step toward giving Swabians a better name in the country’s capital.

This post is also available in: German

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