photos: Sascha Wolters
Berlin is no place like others when it comes to special corners and Sightseeing. No wonder here, Berlin has a lot of history. With its many Sightseeing possibilities and countless historical buildings, there is probably no corner in the capital that is not worth knowing about. Which is why there are many city guides, leading foreigners through the capital. But also for locals it’s great to get to know one’s own city better. And there is one guide in particular that offers tours around the city with a special twist.
Tobi Allers is the founder of Berlin Kultour and offers around 15 tours through Berlin with different topics, interesting for anyone who is interested in art, culture and history – or just the city he lives in. We met up with him to take an exclusive, intimate version of his tour “Refugees in historical perspective” and got to know a lot. Get some impressions and see some pictures after the jump.
We meet in Mitte, with the sun shining, right in front of the Palais Podewils. Tobi leaves no doubt about his motivation for the following 2,5 hours: He wants to educate about how much the capital was influenced by migration and refugees, for hundreds of years. And how beautiful that is. Considering the present refugee situation, Tobi puts the current events in a context, embeds all the present information into a history: “I want to show, that there are self-repeating patterns when it comes to how a society deals with migration”, he says.
Along six stations we traveled in time with Tobi in the city. Starting with the Huguenot and the Calvinists that, when coming to Germany, weren’t received with open arms. The first reaction is often a certain suspiciousness concerning the new culture coming in, but: “It always evens out in the second or third Generation”, Tobi educates us.
From the Huguenots we move to the beautiful Ephraim Palais, to the incredible project of the House of One, the Engelbecken and St. Michaels Kirche, to Oranienplatz and into the present at Kottbusser Tor, where Tobi closes his informative tour with some background information about the migrant worker from the 1960s and 1970s.
“Kreuzberg is a story of success” he says. “Actually, all of Berlin is a story of success. There is cultural diversity.”
At the end of the 2,5 hours tour Tobi closes with the following words: “Culture never means stagnacy. And we are all responsible for co-creating a society for each and every one of us.” And as we look around in this beautiful scenery in the midst of Kreuzberg we all feel: He is very right.