How clean is Washington

Henkel on his visit to the USA : "Washington is so clean"

Hello Mr. Henkel, you have just returned from Washington. In the American capital, as in Berlin, the legendary Kennedy speech 50 years ago was remembered. What were your impressions?

I am now 29 hours without sleep and stay up until the evening to prevent jet lag as much as possible. It was not my first time in the US, but it was my first time in Washington. And it was a very moving event for me.

Were you nervous about the speech you gave in English at a gala even though you never had English in school?

I wasn't excited. But it was a challenge. As Senator for the Interior and Mayor of Berlin, I was part of a delegation. The visit to Washington was initiated by Visit Berlin in cooperation with the Senate and Berlin Partner. For me the whole trip was very special.


I was born in the East and came to the West when I was 17. I grew up listening to the Kennedy Speech and feel very grateful to the Americans. I was also at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 when Ronald Reagan gave his speech and said the sentence: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! That is why it is a special experience that I was now able to officially represent my hometown in America.

Mr. Henkel, are there similarities between Washington and Berlin?

I sat down with the deputy mayor of Washington yesterday at noon. Both cities are capitals and seat of government. And we've found that both cities are greener than you think. But I also noticed how clean everything is there.

Will there be closer cooperation between Berlin and Washington?

We have made enormous progress in the tourism sector in Berlin. Berlin is also the start-up capital for start-ups. And I would be happy if there are synergy effects. A direct flight connection between Berlin and Washington would be desirable. And I can well imagine a town twinning with Washington. I'll bring that up in the Senate.

The interview was conducted by Sabine Beikler

Frank Henkel, 49, CDU party leader and interior senator, traveled to the USA as mayor of Berlin to pay tribute to the Kennedy speech. Washington could become a twin city, he suggests.

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