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Alternative living in Berlin: 'trailerpark Lohmuhle'

Alternative living in Berlin: 'trailerpark Lohmuhle'

'Lohmuhle' is a trailerpark in Kreuzberg, Berlin. There are about 20 trailers on a green patch of land. Attracted by the colours and shapes of the wagons I enter this 'community' and decide to look for some inhabitants.


“I don't want a structured life”

First I meet Sarah. She's from London. She is looking after a trailer while her friend, the owner, is away. “I really can't tell much" she says when I ask her about her expieriences with living in a trailer. She looks like she was still sleeping.. “No time aswell” she says. So I knock on some other doors of some others trailers.. There seem to be more persons living at this place temporarily. Marcos has been travelling in India for five years. Looking for a temporary house he ended up in the 'guestwagon' of the trailerpark; "Staying in this place gives me the oppurtunity to think about what I want in my life. Here I can make soms new plans."

Peer has been living in trailers for four years now. He feels closer to nature, likes the freedom to travel and in general, he wants to be his own master. “I don't want to work, only for paying my rent.. Neither I divide my time in 'work time' and 'free time'. It is all one. And anyway , I want to have an adventurous life, not a structured one.”


“I never asked someone to live here”

Gniewko is from Warschau and has been living in this trailerpark for 15 years. “I came to Berlin and I lived in several places. A squat aswell. After a while I came to live in this trailerpark. I never asked someone to live here. I just did.” “Did I choose to live like this?” he asks. After thinking about this for half a minute he says; “No, not really. It was rather a coïncidence. Actually this parcel was laying next to the Berlin wall. When the wall came down in 1989 it wasn't clear to whom this piece of land belonged. West or east. So it was squatted. For a long time the living in and around the trailers wasn't organised at all. It wasn't really a community like it is now. It were just a bench of wagons on the same place.”

“Now we gather each week to communicate about our projects. There are three themes we 're working round. We organise activities on cultural, ecological and art subjects. Two weeks ago we started with a dance project. Walz, rock and roll, things like that. Also there are Jazzconcerts quiete often. Each year we organise a festival aswell. Neighbours can join us offcourse. Also we have weekly film evenings in a big tent. In the summer we project the movies on a big screen outside”

“Sometimes I miss the comfort. I don't have electricity and espacially in the wintertime it' s hard. I have a big battery that I use for lighting and other material that uses alectricity. But now that I have a laptop, the battery needs to be loaded really often. But these are things I can deal with the help of friends. And I have to be sure that I can find some water that I can drink. For washing we use rainwater and groundwater. Sometimes you have to be creative to find out how you can organise you daily live. How to get heating, electricity and other stuff.”


“I don't feel any connection with society”

“Personally I feel no connection with society. I don't really contribute to society, so I don't want any help or money from the society either. I can have an independant life on my own. Whitout help. From time to time I work at concertplaces to set up the PA and do the tuning of instruments. I used to work at a movingcompany but I can't do that anymore. My back ist totally wasted now.

The trailerpark as a community would say that they are connected with society through showing alternative ways of living and culture. But for me this place is only the way that I want to live.”

“I like living like this. I found a way to live in a way that suits me. And I don't think that will change very soon. I don't need to work whole day and I can organise my life as I want. I don' t think about future either. The farest I look is two weeks ahead. But believe me, I'm not bored at all. There's enough work to do around this place. The garden needs to be done. The wood for the heating needs to be chopped and so on. So I' m always busy around here. The citycouncil managed to get us a 'contract' to use this percil. But I don' t like that arrangement. We were using this lap of land anyway, so I think there is no adventage for us really. In two years the contract finishes. No one knows what will happen after that. “