Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Before & After the Berlin Wall

31 years ago, on November 9th 1989, the Berlin Wall was finally pulled down, bringing to an end the division between East and West Germany. The wall has now almost completely disappeared from Berlin's cityscape. The Berliner Morgenpost has therefore decided to create a little reminder of the Berlin Wall with an interactive map featuring a number of before and after photographs.

Berlin With & Without the Wall is an interactive map which combines two different aerial image maps of Berlin. One of these maps is made from aerial imagery from 1989 and the other map uses aerial imagery from 2019. The course of the wall is highlighted in blue on top of this aerial imagery. If you zoom in on a section of the wall you can swipe between the two maps to view Berlin with and without the wall. 

A number of numbered map markers are dotted around the circumference of the wall. These markers indicate the locations of the Berliner Morgenpost's before and after photographs of the Berlin Wall. These comparisons use vintage photographs of the Berlin with contemporary photographs of the same scene today. Using the swipe control you can switch between the before and after views.

30 years ago, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany was reunified and became one country again. Back in 1991 there were large differences in the average incomes and life expectancy of people living in the former East and West Germany. After 30 years of reunification many of these economic and demographic differences have disappeared. However some of the inequalities between the two areas have proved more persistent.

The national German Mapping Agency and the Institute for Population Research has released 30 Years of German Unity & Diversity, which maps the demographic and economic developments in Germany since reunification. Using a series of interactive maps 30 Years of German Unity and Diversity visualizes a number of different demographic and economic metrics. 

These maps reveal that the differences in life expectancy between East and West 30 years ago have now largely disappeared. Immediately after reunification there was a relatively large flow of young Germans moving from East to West Germany. 30 years later the movements of young people between West and East has also more or less equalized.

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