Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Reitschule

This place is one of the less well-documented sides of Berne, certainly not on the official tourist website...

A billboard stating "The Reitschule also belongs to Berne - vote no!" . The digital edit of the old town of Berne, the Zytglogge (the symbol of Berne) and the Reitschule into the one picture says that the Reitschule is as important to Berne as the more traditional cultural elements.

Some background... The Reitschule is Berne's old riding school complex, now a left-wing/anarchist/art student/drop-outs hang-out... They have rock concerts, cheap food and good reggae, and the place benefits from a number of legal exceptions and loopholes. It's regarded by some, such as the designers of this advertisement, as "culture", and by others as an eyesore and a social problem. The political right want it razed to the ground to make space for a multi-storey car park, whereas the left see things very differently. I'm undecided, because the crazies around there are genuinely scarey and threatening, but at the same time I'm all for art student hangouts and the alternative scene.

A recent local vote on the Reitschule's legal status and rights was the reason for this leftist-originated advert appearing on hoardings all round town.

Some travellers outside the Reitschule - these travelling folk rolled up and parked their caravans right in the middle of the main hall (you can see the entrance on the left). They exploited a legal loophole and stayed for weeks. Their occupation led to the cancellation of a couple of major events (concerts, I think) and caused an outrage amonst the Reitschule's political opponents.

the bar

the restaurant, Sous Le Pont (the Reitschule is almost under the Lorrainebrücke railway bridge)

The upstairs dj bar

No comments: