“Arm, aber sexy” (Poor, but sexy): Homelessness in Berlin


  • Claryce Lum


Ethnologie, Obdachlosigkeit, Berlin


Berlin is a fascinating city full of paradoxes. More than a decade ago, exmayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit captured the imagination of the world’s creative, hungry and poor by advertising the city with the tagline, “Berlin ist arm, aber sexy” (“Berlin is poor but sexy”) and opening its doors to newcomers of all shapes and sizes; today, Berlin has truly reaped the demographic rewards of such campaigns. However, the promise of a “poor” but “sexy” life in Berlin remains an unfulfilled one for many people, particularly the estimated 16,000 homeless people who have no secure long-term residences. The harsh everyday struggles of the poor and homeless in Berlin have been gradually overshadowed amidst the ongoing financial and refugee crises. This article hopes to reclaim a small space for the voices of some people who have experienced life on the streets in Berlin. This paper seeks to answer the research question, “Why do homeless people stay in the city centre and
what influences their decisions regarding the places they stay at?”





Lum, C. (2016). “Arm, aber sexy” (Poor, but sexy): Homelessness in Berlin. Ethnoscripts, 18(1). Abgerufen von https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/ethnoscripts/article/view/1016