Tanja Klage has been returning to Siemensstadt since 2004, when she first opened her bakery Tanjas Backparadies. She’s lived in the district since 2012, and her profession brings her in close contact with her Siemensstadt neighbors. As a native of Berlin, she’s also familiar with other districts and considers Siemensstadt to be unique.
Ms. Klage, how did you come to open a bakery in Siemensstadt?
It was actually a funny coincidence. I’d stopped after ten years, I’d worked in Kreuzberg. At that time, my fiancé was still doing events and party services and worked with a company that sold the apartments here. That’s how we first happened to come here, and people who were looking to buy apartments said, “What this place really needs is a bakery.” That gave us the idea: It was really a fluke, we never actually planned it.
You’re newcomers. What’s it like to arrive in Siemensstadt?
Let me put it this way: The first year and a half were really hard, but once you’ve truly been accepted, then nothing can change that. You notice how much it resembles a family and how friendly it is: It’s not just a relationship between “customer and salesperson.” It’s a little different here.
What’s different about Siemensstadt?
It’s very personal here, very familial. Other places were very formal., whereas here – once you’ve been accepted into the community, nothing can ever change that. People talk a lot about personal matters, and it’s not at all formal here. It’s like one big family, with lots of people that you’ve known for years. In the evenings, for example, a group of us all walk our dogs together.
And what makes Siemensstadt special on the local level?
The fact that we have so much nature all around us. We have the Siemens Park and we have the big park, Heidepark, with a pond for swimming, a climbing park – we really have a lot of greenery here. We have a beautiful lake, and we’re not far from the forest. Of course, there are always young people who complain that “it’s too quiet.” But I enjoy it!
How do you see your future here?
I’d like people who fit in, who maintain the cohesiveness. Now we’re also seeing parents who socialize with one another: They’ve become a very established group, and their children have also formed solid groups. You’ll see them playing together, and then there’s a sleepover, and he spent the night there last night... The solidarity we have here is very strong, and it should stay that way.