Sad Things (9) BND palm tree

One of two alibi trees in front of an ugly concrete block which will house the BND, Germany’s Intelligence Service, in Berlin.


This one tree is even worse than if there was no tree at all. It’s like rubbing it in. The loneliness of the tree will resonate with many of the bureaucrats editing or summarizing reports inside that building. This lonely tree symbolizes everything that you are missing out by working in a grey office block.

To make matters worse, the architect chose a palm tree – a tree which doesn’t naturally grow in Berlin. If BND officers already envy those stationed in Beirut, Bogotá or Bari, looking at a palm tree won’t help. But then, the palm tree isn’t even real. It is made out of metal, at a cost of more than 300,000 Euros for two trees. Even Curveball didn’t charge that much.

If the ugliness of the building, the cost overrun and the fact that the construction plans were stolen aren’t enough evidence of the incompetency of everyone involved yet, then this tree will be enough to tell you to stay clear of that particular architect – and maybe of the BND altogether.

I am so glad I am working in the field and can enjoy real palm trees. Lots of them.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
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