For me 2016 was actually a great year, even though I almost don’t dare saying it out loud. A lot of sad and terrible things happened in 2016, yes, but there still was a lot of good stuff that I think needs some more attention: Small and big moments in Berlin that showed what a great city this is and what amazing people live here. We should focus more on these things, at least for a moment, and take these positive memories and feelings with us into the new year.
Here are the most happy moments and amazing happenings of 2016 in photos and videos.
Countless words have been written on the magnificence of the Berliner Summer and its superiority to cold seasons of the German capital. Yet, I cannot stop thinking why we need to compare such dissimilar cases. Fall and Winter in Berlin can be tough even for the ones, who grew up here, with regard to the weather. Thankfully, there are always viewpoints of people who do not fixate on how many degrees above or below zero the temperature is, but focus on the beauty that lies in every situation instead. Watching the following video by Chloé Schnorhk, one cannot help but be positively surprised by her black and white take on the city with the numerous faces. The music of the cello in the background reminds me of the heyday of the European cinema. While I was watching this, I could not stop wondering how come Woody Allen has not shot a film here yet.
Who draws the line between privacy and policies aiming at public safety? Is it the people through voting and demonstrating or is it the governments, who are in total control of this somehow delicate matter? The fact that these questions cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, but need to be thought through first, before shaping an opinion is what it renders this issue one of the most controversial and exciting topics of this century.
We are currently living in countries that are constantly under the shadow of potential terror attacks. As far as Germany and more specifically Berlin is concerned, this has led to the installation of nearly 15.000 surveillance cameras around the city, the vast majority of which are part of the system of public transport. Their presence is discreet making the feeling of being monitored rather rare. One of the current governing parties, the CDU, has always pleaded for the presence of closed-circuit television. Yet one inconvenient question seems to linger: does this measure have a positive effect on people’s safety and if yes, is it substantial enough to justify the countless eyes following us in our daily life? Especially in light of the recent assault of a young woman in the Berlin subway this topic has come up in people’s minds again.
The intervention artists Rocco and his brothers have addressed the issue through the following brass initiative documented in this suspenseful video.
photo: Berlin Station / EPIX
No matter how hard to believe it might prove to be at first, Berlin has hosted the shooting of a variety of tv shows and films, from unknown indies to massive, Hollywood blockbusters, such as Inglorious Basterds and Hunger Games. It is very hard to describe the feeling of watching your beloved city on camera being the centre of a plot that has very little in common with the way you choose to spend your time in the German capital. Here are my favorite picks, when it comes to tv shows and films worthy of binge-watching, that have been shot to a great extent or even entirely in Berlin. Make sure you share with us your opinion/suggestions on the comment section below.
Why the House of Red Doors’ theme parties are not to be missed and how Berlin’s authentically wild side is reflected in them, is something we have already written about. What you might have missed though is the mannequin challenge the whole Bad Bruises crew, that organizes the parties, has recently shot. If this does not make you feel butterflies of excitement in your stomach and the need to learn more about this talented group of people and their vision, I do not know what could then. I personally expected Jessica Lange’s Elsa Mars from American Horror Story to show up owning it as always.
January 26th 2017 will be day of the one year anniversary of this already iconic party and you should definitely check it out.
When you visit one of the many abandoned places of Berlin you will most likely find traces of previous visits, or even habitation there. Squatters, ravers, sprayers, vandals, urban explorers. They all left their marks on these forgotten buildings of Berlin and contribute to the decay of what these places once were. If you’re lucky you might even find some traces of creativity there.
When I first stepped into the abandoned railroad yard in Pankow last summer I was amazed by the spectacular light inside the circular building that came in through the panoramic windows in the ceiling. The place itself was completely empty and pretty much devastated by vandalism. But within all the debris and decay I found golden confetti and feathers on the floor like a little glimmer of hope and joy. It looked like someone had a good time there not too long ago. Maybe a small party, or an euphoric photo shoot. Either way it was another trace of life in an otherwise dead place.
When I stumbled about the contemporary dance video titled “Ephemeral Rooms” by Ruben Reniers and Nora Vladiguerov that was shot in this location earlier this year I was reminded of my visit. Just like whoever left the golden confetti the two choreographers and dancers breathed some life into this abandoned place with their beautiful performance.
If you’re an expat like me, you’ll probably agree that while living in Berlin might equal a lot of things, becoming a part of the German community definitely isn’t one of them. Quite the contrary – it is actually quite likely to live surrounded by the members of international or maybe even your native community, shifting every day from your WG to a foreign startup you work in, and not having to speak a word of German. Ultimately, the only considerable encounters with the culture of the country you presumably chose to live in might be limited to YouTube ads and an occasional Tinder date.
Another fact you might acknowledge when you’re an expat is that one should try to broaden their horizon, venture somewhere off your usual paths and beyond the reach of the basic Spati vocabulary. At iHeartBerlin, we’ve always been trying to help on that quest, offering advice on both the linguistic and cultural issues.
Today we’re back with a combined force: brush up your Berlin trivia and hear some of the most endearing German attempts at being funny with the 70s short film: Rundflug über West-Berlin (flight over West Berlin)!
For the fans of American Horror Story this makes a great setting for the unraveling of gruesome and spooky plotlines. The ferris wheel used to be part of the Spreepark, a theme park in Treptow Köpenick that opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Plänterwald. Unfortunately, a lack of ample parking space and a rise in the price of the ticket led to the closing of the park on the onset of the current century. What followed was an unbelievable series of stories about the park and its owner that far exceeds the notoriousness of most other abandoned places in Berlin. The following spectacular drone video made by a Swedish drone flyer and urban explorer showcases the park, as it is now; abandoned and forgotten with the ferris wheel moving slowly in the wind as if ghosts keep it company to make it forget its eternal loneliness.
Have you ever wished you could travel back in time and experience different eras in history, that have always fascinated you and you have been constantly watching films or reading books about? Well, this tour will definitely satisfy your wishful thinking. Whereas the usual tours consist of a guide narrating stories about the place you are visiting, a collaboration between When in Berlin Tours and Time Rift Tours offer you the opportunity to experience Berlin and the division of the city through the Berlin Wall with the help of virtual reality tour in an impressive 360° stereoscope experience. History comes at the forefront, as it does not remain in the constraints of memory, but unravels in front of your eyes at an unprecedented pace. We have a little video for you that gives you an impression of the tour and how it works.
It should come as no surprise that this is happening in Berlin. Imagine you are lucky enough to walk out of your place in the morning and bump into this delightful event. Musicians on the staircase of the building you live in and seems soulless during these cold winter days, singing and playing music just like that. StairsBerlin is a project created by Guilherme Valverde that takes a multi-faceted approach to this little talked about side of the city creating urban art like posters, photos as well as music performances and making, thus, something really special out of something that we otherwise would not even pay attention to.