Berlin has been accused of being many things: shabby yet magical, fairly open dirty-minded, pretentiously unpretentious and being that scene whore while it doesn’t ever truly let you in on where that “scene” actually happens. They say Berlin lets everyone be who they feel they should be, resulting in an open hearted city, that rarely lets people out of its loving but smelly embrace. But what really moves you about Berlin?
We went out on the streets to directly ask the people we met there, how Berlin makes them feel. So we picked up our camera on a rare sunny day to leave the holy hearts of our office to ask:
What is your Berlin experience?
Momo is a true Berliner and was born and raised in Kreuzberg:
“I was born and raised in Berlin. Yeah, that is basically what keeps me in Berlin, I would say. There is an amazing atmosphere here most of the time. Here it is simply easy to be different, in a nice way. Berlin is changing a lot at the moment, look at the gentrification and all. I think we need politicians who really care about the city and its development. I grew up in Kreuzberg. It’s sad for me to see that a lot of my friends can’t afford to live in this area anymore, that I was born in.
The Berlin experience for me is: You go out with one or two friends to have a beer by Admiralsbrücke, then run into another friend, who calls his friends to join you and you become this big great group of people. Later you move on to a Späti and drink more beer and then go somewhere else. Yeah that’s my Berlin experience.”
Nico is 19 years old, was born in Berlin and works as a photographer. His friend Tobi plans on moving here to study film and is currently looking for a place to stay:
Nico: “First of all the fact that I don’t have to pay any rent, because I can live at home. But it is really the Berlin vibe. It’s open, it’s multicultural – it’s so open minded for anyone! You can achieve anything you want, it truly is the best place. I love the Berlin culture – such amazing people from all over the world. Imagine Berlin with only German people – it would be super boring.”
Tobi: “I think Berlin needs flats that people in education can afford. Many young people cannot invest in expensive living, so more flats for students and young people should be provided!
Especially if you have lived in a small city all your life, Berlin really seems like paradise. You can do so many things! Go out and party or enjoy all the cultural aspects museums have to offer. ”
Yola is Bulgarian and has been living and loving Berlin for 3 years now. She is 21 and works as a video editor:
“I came here to study cinema, but I dropped out and want to change courses. University is what brought me here. Since then, I experienced the city in many ways – it is really warm and human. But I feel that it’s really crowded here, and is only going to get more crowded. It has been a total life journey since I arrived in Berlin. The city has taught me how to be more human and empathetic with people.”
Seyeon G-Sim Kim is a painter and a tatoo artist born in Korea:
“You gotta be here, to know Berlin. It’s not like any other city. I came to visit Berlin a few times before I moved here. One time, my friend took me to Berghain. So the first time I went, I was like .. whaat the?! is this place!! So, Berlin lingered in the back of my head.
I was in Korea for a while when I thought: “Ah, Berlin,.. okay. I wanna go!” So I came here, opened a tattoo shop and a gallery. I think it’s the people, who keep constantly changing Berlin. There more people here now than when I first visited. People changed, they are more conscious of their health and all that. So, my Berlin experience? Just being here.”
Stephanie is now in the final phase of her master of psychology and has been living in Berlin for 5 years now:
“The search of my future and the variety you find in Berlin is what keeps me here. Especially in the food scene! Also the freedom of mind and its internationality. But I can see that this is a temporary phase still, I don’t know how long I will stay in Berlin. I remember in 2003, when I first visited, people told me: “Don’t go to Kreuzberg!! (It’s dangerous).”
That has changed a lot obviously. The general term is gentrification, I guess. I think the Berlin experience is kind of over. After New York in the 80s, Berlin became the next hot spot for art, but people who do art cannot afford places to rent here anymore, so they go elsewhere. So, what has been my Berlin experience in the past might not be the same for others in the future.”
Alice moved to Berlin 2 years ago. She now works as a physiotherapist and wants to stay for another year or two:
“I came here to study physiotherapy. And I will stay for another year, because I love Berlin! I love it being so international and all these things you can do – it’s like Disneyland! Berlin has its own culture. It changed my life! I think Berlin is like traveling around the world in one city. You meet a lot of people, it’s a good experience.”