A Walk along the new BND Headquarters
The new headquarters of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's Foreign Secret Agency, at Chausseestraße near U-Bahn stop Schwarzkopfstr. is giant. With 260,000 squaremeters it is way bigger than other recent constructions of the federal government. For example the new building of the federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) next to Berlin central station is about five times smaller (54,000 square meters).
- A football (soccer) field for country matches:
- Area of the construction site of the ministry of education and research:
- Area of the new headquarters of the BND:
All visible buildings in the above panorama picture – from the unfinished building on the far left to the white one on the far right – are part of the BND head quarters.
According to renderings by the architects, the currently opaque construction wall will be replaced by a more see-through fence. Right now, one needs a drone to take a peek over the wall.
The demonstration participants gathered at the north east corner of the headquarters just as rain started to pour down. Luckily, it stopped raining after a couple of speeches and the protest march started going down Chausseestr. to the front gate.
The demonstration stopped in front of the headquarter's main gate for another round of speeches.
This as-of-yet unfinished building at the far south end will be a visitors center, a training center for 550 trainees and a boarding school with 110 apartments.
The protest march continued into Habersaathstraße moving towards the south-west corner of the BND site.
Participants brought many creative signs to protest out-of-control surveillance.
A closing rally took place at the south-west corner of the BND site. More speeches were given as it started to rain again. The crowd dissolved soon afterwards but with the promise to come back if nothing would change.
Some lessons were learned, most of them obvious in hindsight.
- Have another battery pack for the drone.
- Take steady videos rather than moving around a lot.
- Police reacted more positively to the drone than expected: "Please be careful not to fly into the street car power lines" and "Where can I buy that for my son?".
- Adjust focus of drone camera.
- Don't crash drone. Twice. (was edited out)
- Actually tell a story.