The Little Vietnam in Berlin
Restoring a Vietnamese market ‘Dong Xuan Center’July 11th, 2019
The recovery operation of Dong Xuan Center, the ‘Little Vietnam’ in Berlin, began after a big blaze last week.
Composing over 1% of the entire population of Berlin, approximately 20,000 of Vietnamese people is the largest East Asian community in the city, mostly living in the Eastern Berlin. The history of Vietnamese community in Berlin goes back to 1980s, when two groups of communities came to Berlin: One is temporary contract labors sent by the North Vietnam as a part of a cooperation between the two communist governments, while the other is South Vietnamese those who escaped Vietnam after the Vietnam War and came to the former West Berlin. Since the fall of Berlin Wall, other Vietnamese also moved to Berlin from the other side of East Germany, while many of them opening up their own small businesses many of them were located in East Berlin such as Lichtenberg, Marzahn.
In Lichtenberg, the largest Asian market in Berlin ‘Dong Xuan Center’ is located where two thousand wholesalers including food, clothes, electronics, hair salon, and other service industries make their livings and building business communities. Due to the fact that the eighty percentage of merchants are Vietnamese, the market is rather known as ‘A piece of Vietnam in Berlin’ or ‘Little Hanoi in Berlin’. However, this Little Vietnam in Berlin is now facing a crisis after being suffered by a large fire last week. At around 12:00 on Thursday, July 4, Dong Xuan Center was enveloped in flames devouring the central warehouse of the center with a dense cloud of smoke seen from few kilomteres away. Fortunately, no casualty was reported, however, the 5.000 meter square warehouse was found to have been burnt down after five-hour fire. The same day, the counsellor Dang Chung Thuy of the Embassy of Vietnam in Germany toured affected areas and comforted victims, promising damage restoration operation.