KaDeWe, Department Store of the West in Berlin

December 20th, 2014 | General | No Comments »

KaDeWe in 2013 © Beek100/cc-by-sa-3.0

KaDeWe in 2013 © Beek100/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Kaufhaus des Westens (English “Department Store of the West”), usually abbreviated to KaDeWe, is a department store in Berlin. With over 60,000 square metres of selling space and more than 380,000 articles available, it is the largest department store in Continental Europe. It attracts 40,000 to 50,000 visitors every day.

The store is located on Tauentzienstraße, a major shopping street, between Wittenbergplatz and Breitscheidplatz, near the center of the former West Berlin. It is technically in the extreme northwest of the neighbourhood of Schöneberg.
 

The store was originally founded in 1905 by Adolf Jandorf, who persuaded the famous architect Emil Schaudt to build his store. It opened on 27 March 1907 with an area of 24,000 sqm. In 1927, ownership changed to the Hertie company. The Hertie Company was responsible for modernizing and expanding the store. They had the ambition to add two new floors but because of the Nazi rise to power in the 1930s their plans came to a sudden halt. During World War II Allied bombing ruined most of the store, with one shot-down American bomber actually crashing into it in 1943. Most of the store was gutted, which caused its closure. The re-opening of the first two floors was celebrated in 1950. Full reconstruction of all seven floors was finished by 1956. Once completed it became a beacon of hope for Berliners. KaDeWe soon became a symbol of the regained economic power of West Germany during the Wirtschaftswunder economic boom, as well as emblematic of the material prosperity of West Berlin versus that of the East.

Between 1976 and 1978, the store’s floor space was expanded from 24,000 sq-m to 44,000 sq-m. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, KaDeWe recorded a record-breaking number of people going through the store. By 1996, with a further floor and restaurant added, the sales area had expanded to 60,000 sq-m. In 1994, the KarstadtQuelle AG corporation acquired Hertie and with it KaDeWe. Most of the floors were renovated between 2004 and 2007 in preparation for the store’s one hundredth anniversary.

Read more on KaDeWe and Wikipedia KaDeWe. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.


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The Coral Triangle in the Pacific Ocean

December 17th, 2014 | General | No Comments »

Christmas tree worms © Nick Hobgood/cc-by-sa-3.0

Christmas tree worms © Nick Hobgood/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Coral Triangle is a geographical term so named as it refers to a roughly triangular area of the tropical marine waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste that contain at least 500 species of reef-building corals in each ecoregion. This region encompasses portions of two biogeographic regions: the Indonesian-Philippines Region, and the Far Southwestern Pacific Region. The Coral Triangle is recognized as the global centre of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation. It also called the “Amazon of the seas” and covers 5.7 million square kilometers of ocean waters. Its biological resources sustain the lives of over 120 million people. According to the Coral Triangle Knowledge Network, about $3 billion in fisheries exports and another $3 billion in coastal tourism revenues are derived as annual foreign exchange income in the region.

The WWF considers the region a top priority for marine conservation, and the organization is addressing the threats it faces through its Coral Triangle Program, launched in 2007. More than 3,000 species of fish live in the Coral Triangle, including the largest fish – the whale shark, and the coelacanth. It also provides habitat to six out of the world’s seven marine turtle species. The large area and extraordinary range of habitats and environmental conditions have played a major role in maintaining the staggering biodiversity of the Coral Triangle.
 

The biodiversity and natural productivity of the Coral Triangle are under threat from poor marine management (including coastal development, and overfishing and destructive fishing), lack of political will, poverty, a high market demand and local disregard for rare and threatened species, and climate change. An estimated 120 million people live within the Coral Triangle, of which approximately 2.25 million are fishers who depend on healthy seas to make a living. These threats are putting at risk livelihoods, economies and future market supplies for species such as tuna. Studies have highlighted the alarming decline of coral cover in this region.

The Coral Triangle is the subject of high-level conservation efforts by the region’s governments, nature conservation organizations such as World Wide Fund for Nature, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, and donor agencies such as the Asian Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility and USAID.

Read more on Coral Triangle Center, Coral Triangle Knowledge Network and Wikipedia Korallendreieck. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.


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