In the last few years Berlin has become a magnet for people who want to start a new life and a new career here and more than ever before people from all over the world are moving here to try their luck. In the beginning it was mostly people who have already been here before and were somehow in the know about the infrastructure of the city. But things have changed. The city has evolved and the type of people who come here have changed, too.
With iHeartBerlin we have always tried to give a bit of guidance both for those who live here, but also for those who are new in town or are planning to come here, either for having a good time, or for starting a new job or university program. While we are mostly giving advice in terms of places and events what’s been missing here is some general guidance to the process of moving here, including choosing the right district, finding an apartment in Berlin, getting the basic stuff for the house and how to get around town. These are all important things of your own Berlin story and today we would like to contribute to that.
After the jump we will give you some basic advice about moving to Berlin and we’ll also be pointing out a new contest where you can win 3 months rent-free in a lovely Berlin apartment.
For everyone who wants to stay open-minded for new ideas and suggestions for their Sunday program in addition to the usual flea market visits, Berghain and staying in bed, here comes an unusual alternative recommendation. We visited the Hoppegarten horse race course on Sunday for the highlight of the racing season – the 125th edition of the Grand Price of Berlin – and had a look at all the horses and well-dressed people. Actually, some of the (older) ladies could have easily been mistaken for the Queen from behind – it was very fun to watch outfits in general and try on hats at the hat shop!
The horse names in all the different races were also quite exceptional, for example A Miracle, Waky Sol, Kimberley‘s Dream, Banana Split and Amorous Adventure. But all those wacky names didn’t give them a big advantage – in the end the horse with the almost subtle name Second Step and its jockey Jamie Spencer took the victory of the most important race on Sunday. Between races you could enjoy your Florida ice cream or a glass of wine listening to the live band playing songs from Buena Vista Social Club (one of my very favorite summer music) to modern pop or jazz interpretations. Or you could have a closer look at the beautiful horses at the parade ring or the presentation ceremony.
A visit to Hoppegarten is a very nice opportunity to swap your dark clothes for your Sunday dress, hat and picknick basket. And with a bit of luck and knowledge you could actually leave the racing not only with great new impressions, but also with a bit of betting money in your pocket. Enjoy my impressions after the jump. The next races are on September 20 and October 3, 2015.
Outdoor activities may not be the first thing you think about in context with Berlin but in summer this metropolis’ parks, unique green areas and the Spree are the perfect backdrop for some outdoor fun. Berlin is filled with little and big parks so there is always the option to get your friends together for a picnic in the park, sip a cold drink and just chill in one of the beach bars by the Spree or take a day trip and go swimming in one of the many lakes around Berlin.
But maybe you’ve done all this already and and are now looking for a bit more adventure? Fret not, you don’t need to leave your beloved city to find adventure. We have compiled a list for you on where to get active and get your blood pumping in Berlin. Read more about our recommendations after the jump.
photo: Linka A. Odom
I first visited Berlin in the spring of 2008 when I stayed with a friend in Kreuzberg. As we roamed the city, we bumped into people he knew at every turn, even though he had only been living there a few months. A vegan poet cooked us dinner, we rode the U-Bahn without paying, we went to a party in an abandoned warehouse where one of the musicians was, by coincidence, someone I had met the day before in a bookshop. I found all of this unbelievably cool. In Berlin, I felt unbelievably cool. Yes, it was grey and gritty, but there was space, it was cheap, the cafés were filled with unemployed creatives from around the world and a glass of wine was only 1.50 euros.
I fell in love with Berlin in one weekend and its allure lingers with me. Most recently I’ve had the pleasure of returning to it through the eyes of an eclectic and talented group of Berlin writers who are contributors to a series of essays, Letters from Berlin released by The Pigeonhole. More about it after the jump.
From cheap, awesome gays bars such as Möbel Olfe to highly sexual institutions like Lab.Oratory, it is no secret that Berlin’s queer scene has been under the spotlight for a long time now. Considering the fact that parties like Homopatik are causing insanely long queues in front of ://about blank every month, one might be tempted to argue that what was long meant as safe haven for the queer community has slowly become a refuge for straight people wanting to have their cake and eat it too…
Iggy Pop, 1978, Berlin, photo: Esther Friedman
When I moved to Berlin in 2009, I was struck by two things. One was the strong feeling I had, a feeling that is hard to describe. It was a kind of peace that washed over my restlessness. At the same time, I noticed that Berlin was a meeting place, that people from all over were flooding into an open city. Berlin was a city of strangers and between them I sensed a beautiful solidarity. As a writer who has lived in several cities and had travelled much, I wanted to understand these things about Berlin. I soon realized that a certain kind of free spirit had been drawn to Berlin for a long time, and often for similar reasons. I wanted to know why. So in 2011 I began to write a book, City of Exiles: Berlin from the outside in, which was published in May by Noctua Press. After the jump you can read an excerpt from the second chapter of the book. Enjoy!
photo: Michele Ursino
We’ve all seen them, out in the streets of Berlin, in our offices, they’re in the clubs, in all the cafes. They’ve penetrated our circle of friends, maybe we are even becoming one of them ourselves? I’m talking about one of the ugly results of the Social Media Age: Smartphone Zombies. They walk in the streets without checking the traffic, they sit silently across from each other in restaurants, whole hordes of them in the subway, and all of them constantly gazing into the screen of their smartphones as if they were staring through a magical looking glass into another dimension, one that seems to be significantly more exciting than the world that surrounds them.
How often do you use your smartphone? Is it the first thing you grad when you wake up, and the last thing you see before you fall asleep? How often do you check your new likes, your incoming Whatsapp messages or eMails? How often do you upload new photos on Facebook and Instagram? Maybe you are becoming a Smartphone Zombie yourself and you haven’t even realized it yet? Maybe no-one tells you because all your friends are already infected and this behavior has become a state of normalcy for all of you?
If you think the symptoms are recognizable than maybe it’s time you take action before it’s too late. We’ve compiled a list of 7 steps that will help you to avoid becoming a Smartphone Zombie. You can work your way through our list of steps and depending how early you begin to fail our recommendations the more serious your infection seems to be. But don’t worry, the final step has a remedy that will surely help you as it entails a chance to win a dream vacation on Ibiza in the Vila Mare by Gin Mare. But first things first, here are our 7 steps on how to avoid becoming a Smartphone Zombie…
Our fellow blogger Federico is a funny guy. Not only does he share his quirky and witty thoughts on his blog, he has also started a new project that has the Italian Berliner invent a new German word every day for 100 days in a row. Obviously the guy has a fascination with the German language and the fact that our grammar allows us to combine several nouns to one word (which requires a whole sentence to express in English) seems to have been a great inspiration for his new word inventions. Let me tell you one thing up front: They are not actually correct German words and therefore should not be understood as value German lessons such as the words from Days of Deutsch, but they do make so much sense, so maybe the guys from the Duden should consider some of them for inclusion into our vocabulary. Words like Kotzerleichterung (the feeling of relieve after you threw up), Finanzangst (the fear of dealing with the tax officials) and Lieberechenbarkeit (the predictability of someone you love) are so relatable to me and I don’t understand why no-one ever came up with them before. After the jump we have a couple of our favorites of Federico’s new German words. And if you want to hear more of his wit you should tune into tonight’s episode of Off the Record on Flux FM at 22h where he will be a guest of the show.
I think it’s pretty obvious that you have to speak German when you want to live in Germany. But Berlin is not Germany. Berlin is a state of mind. And in this state of mind of total freedom people often think that they don’t need to speak German when they start living and working here. I know quite some people who are annoyed by the English speaking expats, but for me as a German I find it actually pretty great that I can practice my English with a lot of native speakers without even leaving my neighborhood. But for the new people who arrive in Berlin and who try learning German it’s really difficult to practice because everybody automatically switches to English as soon they hear a foreign accent.
I know for a fact that without a certain knowledge of German (and an understanding of the culture and mentality of the Germans) some doors (business and private ones) will never open for the new Berliners who plan to make a life here. That sounds a bit dramatic, but I just wish that new Berliners have less fear of the German language and maybe a bit more enthusiasm for learning it.
While I just typed the word “enthusiasm” I had to imagine the shocked faces of several of my non-German speaking friends. And probably quite a lot of my non-German speaking readers think that I have gone insane right now. But honestly: German is a beautiful and precise language with a lot of creative freedom and abundance of neologism that makes the language alive. I don’t want to bother you much more with my love for the German. That’s why I would like to let this photography project convince you to at least try to spark your enthusiasm. The amazing photo tumblr Days of Deutsch that I discovered a couple of days ago, helps you to learn German with photographs of Berlin. More about this beautiful project after the jump.
Berlin has always been a place for new beginnings. Many people come here to start a new life. Berlin becomes their personal clean slate.
“Neuanfang” is a photo project that wants to show the everyday life of four “Wahlberliner” (Berliners by choice). With my camera I follow them to their favorite places, in particular the places where they can “breathe” their new beginning in the German capital. It’s all about “change” – change as a new way of life that is completely different from the lives in their respective hometowns.
Trying to catch their thoughts is an inspiring process for me because this topic touches me deeply. I am a Wahlberliner, too. I share their feelings and even if I think that we are all very different, this magical feeling of a new beginning simply connects us.