The Berlin Wi-Fi Project

The short story

For the past year and a half I’ve collected wi-fi names that caught my attention all around Berlin. Click on the green markers on the map to read the wi-fi names exactly where  I found them, along with my unrequested comments/interpretation/research on their meanings.

The slightly longer story

I started my weird collection more than one year ago. On the train home after a night out  I was fidgeting with my phone and landed by chance on the list of available Wi-Fi networks.

I looked at the names changing as the train was speeding through the city. They were messages in bottles addressed to the universe as much as to a downstair neighbor.

Some were funny, others inscrutable. I couldn’t help but wonder what stories lay behind them and, from that day on, I kept noting them down wherever I found myself in Berlin. Every uneventful square in Charlottenburg or residential street in Wedding held a secret, a code I wanted to decipher.

I take out my phone and experience the city from a new, intimate perspective through those names that are meant for everybody to read and nobody at once.

 Update 13/08/2016
New Wi-Fi Names: Wu-Tang LAN, No Such Agency, Autopsy Suite, Osama Bin Laggin’, Geh raus spielen, Winternet is coming, Laser Ninja Drachen Liga, Veganer sind sexier, Veganer sind sexirrer, I come from a LAN down under, La Kosher Nostra, Da Kieckste, Kauf dir Vorhänge, Drop it like hotspot, Absurdistan
New Interpretation:
Bubu -> Bubu machen means going to sleep in the weird, simplified language you use with children.
Riechts nach Genff -> A reference to Walter Moers’ novel “The 13.5 Lives Of Captain Bluebear”, where “genff” is the smell of a dimensional hiatus.
Atomic Schrippen ->A reference to british band Atomic Kittens!
Erdbeerkaese -> A reference to a hilarious moment of television from RTL’s reality show Frauentauschen
Oxymoron Salpetersaeure -> Oxynitreum is the latin word for Salpetersäure… and comes directly after Oxymoron in a (german) dictionary for foreign words
Prinzessin Anabell  -> a character from an animated Czechoslovakian children story which was transmitted in communist countries
Gott ist das anstrengend link 2 -> It is not “God is the strenuous link” like I thought, but more something like “God, is this hard!” (still unclear what the link thing is about though).
Fackeln im Sturm -> This doesn’t mean “shilly-shally in the storm” (which, I have to admit, sounds kinda dumb) but “Torches in the storm” :-D
Krebsfreunde -> This has probably something to do with the astrological sign “cancer” rather than the illness.
Draußen nur Kännchen -> Name of a book by Asfa-Wossen Asserate, an Ethiopian prince who has lived a long time in Germany. Also the name of a famous German blog that started a series called “12 von 12”.
That’s just like your opinion man -> Quote from cult movie The Big Lebowski
Endoplasmatisches Retikulum -> This part of a organism’s cell is something that haunts German students, something they struggle to learn and then end up remembering all their life. So much so that in the pre-Facebook era there was a popular group called “Hilfe mich verfolgt ein Endoplasmatisches Retikulum!!” (help! I’m haunted by an endoplasmic reticulum) in the social network StudiVZ.
Milchmädchen und Klaus -> Milchmädchen is the name of a sweetened condensed milk or sugar fused coffee creamer. You can buy it in tubes, like toothpaste or in east Germany it used to come in cans.
Die Pizza Schmeckt Nicht -> Map contributor Lisa told me that she lives in the area where this name was found and claims that the Pizzeria on that street serves the worst pizza she’s ever had.
Credits: Thank you so much Jutta (@JuLuBe), Magdalene (@mtewes83), Alex (@alpipego), Noel(@Strhmer), Andreas (@andreastemplin), Heike(@hitchhyker, Craig, Cassie, Stefan, Simon, Carina, Svenja, Grigori, Sa Fee, Katrin, Athi, Julian, Clare, Oskar, Juliette, Sarah, Christina, Ale, Type, Simone, Michaela, Marcel, Sebastian, Daniel, Katherina, Holger, Joana, Vinzenz, Chris, Esi, Clare, Antje, Sabine, Katarina, Jenna, Max, Cristina, Malin, Maciej, Silas, Mina, Toni, Ben, Laura, Lukas, Audray, Jana, Bob+Buzz, Cynthia, Maike, Lisa,Patrik, Wiebokin, Carlos, Leonie, Joey, Alex, Thomas, Lasse, Martin, Ute, Katharina, Silas, Maria, Kai, Mi.


  1. Ferdinand

    In der Marina Europahafen in Bremen gibt es ein Boot mit einem WLAN mit einem Bezug zu Asterix & Obelix: “Sono Pazzi Questi Langeoogie”. Warum die Langeooger spinnen, kann sicherlich nur vor Ort recherchiert werden.

  2. “Data Morgana” is probably a reference to Fata Morgana, which is that sort of shimmering mirage you see sometimes above the horizon, especially when it’s very hot. It’s also a name for the sorceress Morgan (or Morgana) in Arthurian legend.

  3. […] Bei der Benennung des eigenen WLAN-Netzwerks sind uns Usern eigentlich keine Grenzen gesetzt. Doch nicht jeder weiß, wie man das Netzwerk umbenennt und daher sehen wir auf unseren Smartphone und Rechnern zum Beispiel zichfach die Fritz-Box in der Kennung. Doch es geht wie gesagt auch anders. Der Italiener Federico Prandi sammelte bei seinen Wegen durch Berlin die lustigsten und interessantesten Wi-Fi-Bezeichnungen der Stadt, kommentierte sie und erstellte daraus diese Google-Map. […]

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