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'We'll March on Town Hall': Germans Vow to Save Their Spanish Party Beach

German tourists slurping Sangria on the Playa de Palma seafront. Zoom
imago

German tourists slurping Sangria on the Playa de Palma seafront.

Mallorca plans to put a stop to boozing, bratwurst and beer guts with a luxury revamp that would deter the German budget tourists who flock there each year. They're outraged, claims tabloid newspaper Bild.

The silly season is upon us and there is a dearth of the usual summer stories that help to fill out news coverage -- we're talking about perennial favorites like, for example, a runaway crocodile in a lake, or some animal celebrity like Knut the Berlin polar bear, may he rest in peace, doing something cute.

What are the options this year? The birth of Britain's royal baby has helped, but it can't fill an entire paper, at least not outside the UK. And there's a limit to the number of photos of crowded beaches and children frolicking in city fountains that can reasonably be published.

German tabloid Bild, thankfully, has found the answer. It is trying to whip up public anger at plans by the Spanish island of Mallorca to transform its most famous beach from a binge-drinking colony catering almost exclusively to German budget tourists into a luxury resort for "wellness" fans.

In the summer, Playa de Palma beach is as German as bratwurst and lederhosen. They call it the "Ballermann," and they flock there by the thousands to slurp Sangria from buckets, guzzle their favorite German beers and party the night away.

The Ballermann is a national institution to Germans, a firm part of their work hard, play hard lifestyle. Bild is of course well aware of this.

On Monday, it quoted Palma de Mallorca's deputy mayor, Alvaro Gijon, as vowing to transform the Playa into an upmarket resort lined with luxury hotels. "This boozing tourism is out of date," he said.

'Ballermann Must Stay Ballermann'

On Tuesday, the paper ran the inevitable follow-up. Bild dispatched reporters to the beach and got a host of annoyed comments from German sunbathers. "Ballermann must stay Ballermann. Luxury things don't belong here," said one 27-year-old engineer from Baden-Baden.

"For decades Mallorca made tons of money with the Ballerman tourists. Now they've suddenly become too posh," wrote Bild in its main editorial on Tuesday. "The Germans are a safe source of income for Mallorca. On the Ballermann and in dreamy bays. Pushing them out -- that's totally out of order!"

It remains to be seen whether German politicians will jump on the bandwagon. After all, the general election is only two months off. But the self-proclaimed "King of Mallorca," German pop star Jürgen Drews, who regularly performs in local clubs, said on Tuesday he's going to fight to keep the Ballermann.

"If necessary we'll march on the town hall," he said. "Peacefully, of course, like in hippie times. Then we'll sing the mayor my new song 'Kornblumen' ('Cornflowers).'"

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1. HHHmmm
peterboyle.4848 07/23/2013
Doesn't Mallorca have the right to do with it's beachs as it pleases? Obviously they think they can make more money by going upscale. So what. They are not the first, Majorca did it and it worked well for them. If a group of foreigners came to Germany and started to demand that Germany not change something they like I think the you would not like it one bit. I think Bild is trying to hype it's circulation and enough stupid people are getting all worked up over nothing. You see this in the US all the time, FOX is famous for it. Take a deep breath and think logically. It is their country.
2. Rubbish
riskyayuda 07/24/2013
The German kids think Spain needs to listen to them about whatever they want to do with THEIR land ????? I think Mallorca should be preserved and Menorca should be host to the party scene. How about going to Italy if you want the nightlife ???????
3. What??
burtone76 07/25/2013
Maybe there is some humor here that I am not picking up on. Native Germans please explain...do people really believe that they have a right to tell others what to do because they are the tourists that bring in money? Politicians might get involved? I am guessing this is a joke, but not sure. This kind of thing happens all the time in Mexico / the Caribbean, aimed at American and Canadian spring breakers and the like. I could not imagine an American or Canadian politician demanding that Cancun or other resort areas refrain from pursuing anti-spring breaker policies.
4. What?
thomaswayneward 07/25/2013
The world is getting less fun all the time.
5. Surprise
diwoccs 07/25/2013
I am v ery surprised. I was convinced that Germans have the majority in Mallorca and the island could become German state (Bundesland ) soon .
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