An Irishman in Berlin: There's a housing shortage here too, despite a different approach –

FOR AN IRISH person moving to Berlin, a startling contrast with home is the Anmeldung requirement for all of Germany’s 83m residents to register their address, sex-offender style, with the police.

Queuing to complete this task will give ample time to contemplate whether Berlin-style rent-controls might solve our housing problems back home.

Some things in Berlin are grimly familiar – an acute housing shortage and a political system failing to resolve it. Berlin, like Dublin and the rest of Ireland, also has a strikingly low population density. 

A lot of Berlin’s extra space is put to great use. Children enjoy more playgrounds than could be imagined in Ireland; parks and lakes are never more than a short cycle away; but take a trip on the Dart-style S-Bahn and you’ll see vast tracts of vacant land, dotted only with derelict communist-era factories.

Of course, the

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