Completely unrelated to the ongoing pandemic, the beloved Neukölln club Griessmuehle had to close down a year ago for reasons you can read up about here. It was a blow to the nightlife scene of Berlin as it stood for the worrying recent city developments of Berlin and the ongoing club closings we’ve witnessed now for a decade and more. The city is full of night clubs but oddly the popular district of Neukölln doesn’t really have that many, so it was a major loss for the party kids of the neighborhood.
Luckily, the club makers of Griessmuehle could move their outstanding programming to Alte Münze last year and also found a new location in Schöneweide at the Revier Südost. But with the permission for outdoor raves coming relatively late last summer, there was not much raving to happening.
It’s the news we have all been waiting for for months now: There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the seemingly endless lockdown of all nightlife and culture venues. As many media outlets reported yesterday, the Senate has announced to start re-opening venues for public events in combination with rapid covid tests. The first venues to be part of the trial are the big stages of Berlin including the Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, Berliner Ensemble, Volksbühne, Philharmonie, and the Konzerthaus.
But what we are most excited about is that there will also be a trial at Holzmarkt’s Säälchen in collaboration with the Berliner Clubkommission. Hold your horses, it’s not a party, it’s “just” for a concert. But still. This is the first step we have been craving for, and if all goes well it will mean that soon more events can happen and more venues will be able to re-open.
It’s kind of hard to admit this, but to be brutally honest: I’m not doing great. It’s surprising after a year of the Corona crisis. I feel like 50% of my time I have to invest into staying somewhat sane which means a lot of other stuff gets left behind. But when I look around me, some of my friends seem in even darker places and that’s a scary thing because how can you be of support if you yourself are also not in the best place. Maybe you can’t. But maybe you can at least not do anything completely wrong.
Our friend and collaborator Sophia Halamoda who we co-created our Like A Berliner book with, has dedicated a brand new comic to this very sensitive topic. In it, she describes how she believes we should treat our friends that are in crisis mode and it takes a particularly close look at the very difficult but very real topic of toxic positivity. It’s something we have all probably mindlessly practiced once and this particular situation is making it clear, how that is a rather lazy cop-out than actual help.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-12737 / CC-BY-SA 3.0.
We can’t quite get over how amazing Berlin looks right now all covered in snow. This has been really uplifting in the last days, especially when the sun threw itself in the mix. We really needed that. It made us realize how long it has been since Berlin was covered in snow like that. I certainly don’t remember when the last time was it feels like ages.
But if we go way way back, we’ll find that snow in Berlin used to be more common. Scrolling through historic photos we found quite a lot of beautifully captured moments of Berliners in the snow. As you know we love to also include Berlin’s history on the blog, may it be about the divided city in 1981, Berlin’s naughty nightlife in the 1920s, or this very iconic colorized post-war video. There’s something about having an eye on the past that lets you appreciate the present that much more as well as look forward to a possible future of our beloved city.
With scenes of snowmen building, sled riding, snow shoveling and just frolicking through the beautiful white wonderland we feel all giddy to get out there and capture as much fun as we can have. We all know it can melt away at any moment. Enjoy the snow!
photos: Kseniya Apresyan.
Berlin’s nightlife and music scene are holding their breath. And they have been doing this now for close to a year. What is usually the number one reason for people to come to Berlin from all over the world is now in a strange limbo the city has never seen before. Clubs and bars are closed – or at best turned into Covid test centers – stages are empty and all the people who normally come to these places to dance and celebrate are most likely at home – hopefully not alone.
These are unusual times, we have to completely rethink so many things. But while party kids and concert-goers will just find other ways to spend their time, it’s quite a different story for those people behind the scenes and on the DJ decks and stages of Berlin’s nightlife. They are all facing an uncertain future, many are out of work or have to start completely different careers to make a living, some even had to leave the city going back to their home countries. It’s a tragedy to think that those who build up Berlin’s reputation of having one of the most thriving and influential nightlife and music scenes are left with practically nothing during this pandemic.
The second lockdown is holding on to our sorry asses and it looks like it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It’s a bleak outlook, I know, but what can you do other than trying to make the best of it, right? Did I just hear you say: “Shut up!”? Well, fair enough.
I think I’m not exaggerating when I say this whole corona era has been a mixed bag. While some of us have our sanity hanging on a thin thread by now, others finally got the time they needed for self-fulfillment. I’ve seen people falling in the abyss of mental unwellness, while others keep on trucking with their lives as if nothing has happened. People’s responses to the pandemic and the lockdown could not be more divisive.
But how are you doing, dear iHeartBerlin reader? We were wondering about this so we sat together with our cherished collaborator Sophia Halamoda with whom we authored the fabulous Like A Berliner book and created a brand new personality quiz to find out what quarantine type you really are. It’s fully illustrated by the lovely Sophia, so make sure to check out all the cute little details in the drawings. We hope they can brighten your day a little.
Whatever your end result of this quiz might be, always remember, we’re all in this together and there will be another, happier day. Whenever that might be…
With most places closed during these months, there is really very little we can do these days, not even going shopping. It’s been an interesting time for us not really being able to give you the guides we are used to compiling. But there is one last type of place that has not yet closed during the lockdown: Book shops! We already have a guide about book shops, but we noticed some places have closed and some are new, so it’s time for a new one!
With the rise of the digital and our attention span shrinking by the minute, it’s actually a miracle that so many cool book shops still exist and have not been killed by online mega shops. We’re glad that there are so many people out there still appreciating physical books and we hope it stays like that. Berlin has a lot to offer in terms of book shops, from big to small, from mixed to super-specialized. We picked some of our favorite book shops that offer a variety of different books. We hope they give you a place to head out to when you wanna leave your house for a change. Happy reading!
photo: Manuel Rossner.
One of the major challenges of the new world we’re living in right now – still in the middle of a pandemic – is rethinking some of the old ways and concepts that we are so used to and to see how they fit into this new reality. In many cases, it’s out of necessity, but in some, it’s also an opportunity. We can expect many things to go back to normal after the pandemic, but wouldn’t it be a waste if we didn’t use the momentum to push the envelope a bit on developments that were already on their way but that are especially fitting for our current circumstances? I’m thinking here of things like remote working, e-learning, live streaming, and – of course – digital art.
The digital program “Berlin, Berlin” that is initated and presented by our colleagues from High Snobiety starting today in conjuction with the final weekend of Berlin Fashion Week is set to explore exactly those opportunities I’m talking about inviting important initiatives, musicians, artists, and designer of the city such as United We Stream, Ellen Allien, Âme, GmbH, and Olafur Eliasson to create one cross-genre experience that is certainly shaping up to be a highlight of the current lockdown period we’re in.
photos: Maarten van den Berg.
With this post, we would like to share a very special gem with you that was submitted to us by our reader Maarten from the Netherlands. We are particularly excited about what he sent to us as we haven’t really had anything from that part of the history of Berlin on the blog – at least not specifically that decade. The story he shared with us is about his visit to Berlin in 1981 – a time when the reunification wasn’t even on the horizon, a time when Berlin was still a divided city with the wounds of this division still raw and open. During his visit, he took street photos of both the West and the East of Berlin, and of course plenty of impressions from the Wall that seemed to be some kind of tourist attraction at the time. It’s impressive to see the city that we are so used to today in this condition. So many of these former dead areas of Berlin are now integrated into the city life and filled with new places and buildings that make us forget the scars that they used to be.
Maarten has self-published a photo book of this stunning series which you can order here. He also shared some words about the visit and the photos he took that were long lost and just recently resurfaced. We hope you enjoy these images!
BBR / photo: Thomas Bruns.
Those of you who have been in Berlin for more than a minute might remember that we actually had an equivalent to New York’s famous MoMA not too long ago but it somehow vanished behind a construction fence in what feels like ages ago. I’m talking about the Neue Nationalgalerie on Potsdamer Straße down the street from the Philharmonic and the Kulturforum.
The famous museum had been Berlin’s main exhibition space for Modern Art for almost 50 years until it had to close back in 2014 because of the growing pains of the building. The building from the late 60s is one of Berlin’s architectural icons, designed by former Bauhaus director Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It’s actually the last building he designed in Europe.