Berlin is… European

Berlin is… European

photo: Neil H / CC

When I travel to foreign continents and get asked where I am from, my answer is often: “I am from Europe”. I never really thought about what this means until the Brexit vote. It’s not that I don’t want to say that I am from Germany (because whoever asks is probably going to demand a more precise answer anyway and I will give it). It’s not a lack of national pride; it’s more a sense of international unity within my own continent. I am happy to be German, but I am proud to be from Europe. Being born and raised in an isolated country like the GDR, the sense of freedom after the reunification was amazing.

I grew into an adult benefiting from the bond that the European countries had formed with one another after being in conflict for centuries. For me this became the status quo. I could travel, study, live and work in all of the other countries without problems, which many of my class mates actually did, going to France or the UK after school. When many of the countries even started to share one currency it became even more united. Going to Madrid or to Rome over the weekend to visit friends or just have a good time, this no longer felt like taking a vacation in a foreign country. It felt like something else…

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Brexit in Berlin: These British Expats Weigh in on the Effects of Britain Leaving the EU

Brexit in Berlin: These British Expats Weigh in on the Effects of Britain Leaving the EU

photos: Andrea Lavezzaro. 

One thing we can easily agree on: Brexit fucking sucks. The idea to separate from a union like the EU in times of global uncertainty is just… well: a bad one! Especially considering the way it went. Of all the things that have gone wrong in the EU, this is certainly the most tragic one to date.

We are still not sure if anything is going to happen. With all the delays it feels like a bit of an irony that Brits can vote for European Parlament this week, not even sure if they will be part of it much longer. But what is also uncertain, and this is the biggest sting for us as such a multicultural platform, is the future of all these non-British people living in Britain and all the British ones living in other EU countries. When Brexit goes through, it seems like the days of free movement within Europe are over when it comes to Britain. It feels like a massive set-back.

Andrea Lavezzaro is a Brasilian photographer specialized in street and documentary photography who lives and works in Berlin, but often also in London. For her Brexit means traveling and working in London will become more complicated. This circumstance prompted the idea to talk with other people who will be affected by Britain leaving the European Union. For her new portrait series “Brexit in Berlin” she talked to Brits living in Berlin who voted to remain in the EU about how the change will affect their lives. To bring the whole political debacle into a more personal perspective we want to share their stories with you here.

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The Importance of a United Europe for the Young Generations

The Importance of a United Europe for the Young Generations

photos: Alejandro Arretureta. 

Europe, not the continent, but the union, played a pivotal role in how my life turned out to be, and consequently who I am today; Europe, for me, meant belonging to something greater than just your own country, it provided this new identity you now have, you’re not just Greek, Spanish, French, you’re also European. This second identity connects you to so much more than what you could relate before it.

Because of Europe, I was able to travel abroad as an exchange student and also stay abroad as a young adult and work, an experience that has changed me in a million ways. I’ve met cultures I could never dream I would; not only met but thoroughly known, lived with, worked with, been friends with, laughed with. I’ve learnt about others, but also about my own self, got my head out of my own ass a little bit more than if I had just stayed in the perfect homogeneity of my country, where all I can see around me are reflections of me, of how I’ve grown up to think, what I’ve grown up to believe, nothing ever challenged.

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Berlin has Europe in its Heart

Berlin has Europe in its Heart

At the last European Elections in 2014, only 46,7% of Berliners went to the voting booth. This number is fucking disturbing because this means that less than half of the population even cared to make Democracy work.

But in 2019 we can’t afford to be that careless anymore. In the last couple of years, the rise of populism and anti-Europeanism made it clear that we can’t go on with our lives and leave the boring government stuff to the politicians. They will fuck it up if we don’t initiate a movement and start a counter-revolution to these reactionary forces that are unchallenged. 

Yesterday, we were again proud of Berlin for showing up and making noise for a progressive and positive European Democracy. One week before the elections for the European Parliament over 25 000 people walked through the city to demonstrate for a free, human and ecologically aware Europe.

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Discover the Secrets of Cacao Ceremonies in Berlin

Discover the Secrets of Cacao Ceremonies in Berlin

I experienced pure cacao for the first time last winter after ice bathing in the frozen lake of Plötzensee with the group Ice Dippers. Its founder, Jonas, served us hot cacao as we came out of the water. The first sip of pure cacao is really bitter and far away from the warm chocolate you probably experienced as a kid. Though, I enjoyed a full cup of it, not only for its taste, moreover for the mixed feeling of relaxation and stimulation it provided me. I couldn’t stop asking myself where this cacao could come from? Or if there was anything added to it. I had to ask Jonas about the story of this Moruga cacao that he had served us which goes actually way beyond our usual experience of cacao.

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Why Orgies are My Favorite Form of Self-Care in Berlin

Why Orgies are My Favorite Form of Self-Care in Berlin

photos: Vismante Ruzgaite. 

Paying more attention to self-care has definitely become one of the more positive signs of our times. And while the common definition of this concept keeps on expanding in a process fueled by sharing personal experiences, I thought I’d add my two cents by talking about a particular routine that only Berlin has enabled me to truly discover and embrace. What’s the greatest self-love of all, to paraphrase Whitney’s everlasting hit? Going to orgies, if you ask me.

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How to Get a Visa to Live in Berlin

How to Get a Visa to Live in Berlin

photos: Vismante Ruzgaite. 

No matter how great their love for Berlin is, many non-EU expats agree that the visa process can be quite off-putting. Nevertheless, it’s a challenge that many of the most brilliant members of our community have to deal with. We’ve spoken to some of them – who also happen to be dear friends – and, basing on their personal experiences, we’ve put together a rough overview of the most common visa types. While this article isn’t aimed at helping you navigate through the maze of available options, we hope it might inspire you to pursue your Berlin dream – especially in spite of the setbacks that many others had to face as well. 
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3 True Berlin Stories of Ridiculous Dating Fails

3 True Berlin Stories of Ridiculous Dating Fails

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu. 

I once compared the struggle of finding a soulmate in Berlin to doing groceries on a Sunday in that it only seems possible on limited occasions and in selected spots. Without acquiring a detailed schedule, you may just end up investing much hope and energy into an effort that won’t get you any further than the glass door through which you can only cast a longing gaze on what could have been. But since growing bitter seems to be the cardinal sin of undesired singlehood, it’s probably best to laugh it off and try to move forward. To help you with that, we’ve collected some ridiculous dating fails – since we all know the funniest ones tend to be not your own.

One could argue that being forced to sit in front of someone who, as it turns out, clearly shouldn’t have been granted that benefit of a doubt is bad enough, but some dating fails are just a bit more spectacular than that. Not only do they leave you wishing you never left home, but sometimes even make you feel like maybe it’s time to leave town.

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The Abandoned Spreepark Will Open Its Gates Once Again

The Abandoned Spreepark Will Open Its Gates Once Again

photo: Tonkberlin / CC

Berlin, are you ready for the Spreepark to finally (legally…) open its gates again?! You probably heard some stories of this abandoned amusement park in the Southeast of Berlin, but we got the real crazy sauce for you. So, why was it abandoned and how come no-one ever tore it down? And how can you get in there to see some of the crazy old rides of the park? Let’s start from the beginning.

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The Most Unconventional Berlin Bucket List

The Most Unconventional Berlin Bucket List

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu. 

We decided to rethink the concept of a conventional bucket list and came up with scenarios that shamelessly embrace Berlin’s potential as the backdrop of some memorable experiences. And ‘’memorable’’ is actually somewhat of an understatement here – some of these shenanigans are simply unforgettable, even if some parties involved may indeed wish otherwise. While we are by no means condoning every single one of these actions, let alone encourage anyone to draw any kind of inspiration for real-life pranks, it would literally just be ‘’so Berlin’’ if you were ever to…

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