Grumpy Berliners Learn to Smile

Friendliness campaign gives city an image makeover
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2009 5:48 PM CDT
Grumpy Berliners Learn to Smile
Dancers of a Cuban dance group pose in front of the Brandenburg Gate as part of a tourism promotion.   (AP Photo)

Berlin may not be a city of churlish insults and bad manners much longer. Long known for the rudeness of its residents, the German capital is on a “friendliness offensive,” Der Spiegel reports. Pegged to its annual tourism convention, Berlin’s campaign aims to boost the number of smiles in streets and other public forums. More than 3,000 civil servants have already signed up.

It’s not the first time Berlin has attempted an image makeover: The city encouraged its citizens to smile for the 2006 World Cup, but the results were short-lived. While Berlin has a history of finding a silver lining in its negative traits, it’s still hoping to tone down its gruff exterior. The hope “is to make the city a bit friendlier,” said a PR rep. (More Germany stories.)

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