The Most Amazing Bookshops in Berlin

The Most Amazing Bookshops in Berlin

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!

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Berlin, Augmented Berlin: An AR Exhibition by High Snobiety

Berlin, Augmented Berlin: An AR Exhibition by High Snobiety

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.

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Greetings from Berlin 1981 – Photos of a Divided City

Greetings from Berlin 1981 – Photos of a Divided City

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!

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The Return of a Berlin Icon: Neue Nationalgalerie to Reopen

The Return of a Berlin Icon: Neue Nationalgalerie to Reopen

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.

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Strangers in Berlin: Breaking the Ice During Social Distancing

Strangers in Berlin: Breaking the Ice During Social Distancing

With the new social distancing measures during the extended second lockdown, the idea of meeting a stranger is pretty much a contradiction. But how come the craving for social interactions is so big right now? Is it the season, is it the allure of something forbidden, or a simple case of “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”?

Visual artist Tanya Sharapova has decided to explore this idea as a reaction to the second lockdown which has proven to be such an odd and testing time. The first lockdown already prompted a string of artists to come out with wonderful photo series such as the window photos from Lovis Ostenrik, the daytime/nighttime outfits by Kseniya Apresyan, the nude social distancing portrait by Aja Jacques, and the Together A Part series by AnaHell and Nathalie Dreier. But the second lockdown has been quieter in terms of creative output – even for ourselves. So we are glad to be able to share Tanya’s series “Strangers” here with you.

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16 Amazing Creative Responses to the Pandemic from Berlin

16 Amazing Creative Responses to the Pandemic from Berlin

This year was quite different, wasn’t it? There was a lot of crazy stuff happening, but we can all agree on what the most significant thing was: the pandemic. If you would have told me a year ago that this would happen, I probably would not have believed you. But here we are, 9 months into a global outbreak of an airborne viral disease that has turned the world upside down.

Of course, this pandemic brought us a lot of negative things, but I don’t want to focus on those – you can simply turn on the news for that. I want to focus on the things that were good, specifically on how people responded to the crisis in positive ways. While a lot of us were struggling with our lives, our work, and our mental health, some people gathered their creative energies to come up with great things to brighten the days of everyone else and show some optimistic spirit.

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The Black Universe of Esther Perbandt – An Interview with the Iconic Berlin Fashion Designer

The Black Universe of Esther Perbandt – An Interview with the Iconic Berlin Fashion Designer

One of the major highlights for me this year was watching our good friend Esther Perbandt, the iconic Berlin fashion designer, succeed on the new designer competition show Making the Cut by Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. It was the first time for me to see someone I personally know on a hit TV show and it was such a thrill to follow her through the lens of American reality TV.

Those of you who have been following us now for a long time, know that Esther is very closely connected to us as we organized one of her early runway shows with our sister project Designer Scouts back in 2010 and co-hosted the two aftershow parties of her spectacular Volksbühne fashion shows in 2014 and 2017. She also curated one of our city guides for us showing her favorite places in Berlin. It is always so amazing for us to become part of her black avantgarde universe and we feel so proud of all of her accomplishments as a designer in all those years.

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3 Fun DIY Games to Play with Friends & Family

3 Fun DIY Games to Play with Friends & Family

The holidays are the time of the year when time moves really really slowly. It’s lovely to spend some days with your friends and family if you can. Maybe you are even back in your hometown. But you basically spend your days eating, watching telly and waiting for the next meal (unless you are the unlucky one who prepares all the meals, then you are stuck in the kitchen for days).

To avoid falling into a hole of boredom I feel like playing games this year. Any game will do – no matter if it’s a complicated board game, a simple game of cards, scrabble or just a huge puzzle. I’m actually really into Monopoly, but I will also be ok with UNO. Anything so we can avoid watching the Helene Fischer show on ARD…

But what if you don’t have any of those games at home? Well, we have a solution for that! We thought up a few games for you that you can simply print out at home on a regular A4 sheet. Now let the games begin…

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Learn Deutsch with iHeartBerlin: A Different Kind of German Language Book

Learn Deutsch with iHeartBerlin: A Different Kind of German Language Book

“Learn Deutsch with iHeartBerlin” is our Christmas present to all those Deutsch A1 drop-outs in need for some other kind of motivation to get into the German language. We collected some of our most beloved features about the German language (such as the one about casual German skills) and turned it into a sassy little book. And to make it even sassier we asked internet sensation and stand-up comedian Daniel-Ryan Spaulding to write the foreword to the book who is elaborating on his own naughty reasons why you should learn German – at least a little!

With vocabulary gems such as “Arschgeige”, “Feierabend”, “Wegbier” and the all-embracing “Na?” you will be equipped with the most practical and comprehensive terms that will fool any German into believing you are proficient in the language.

If traditional German classes make you cry our book will be an excellent remedy. Because everything is easier with a good portion of humor.

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Here’s to Togetherness – A New Glow-in-the-Dark Street Art Mural by Yeni Rakı

Here’s to Togetherness – A New Glow-in-the-Dark Street Art Mural by Yeni Rakı

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It’s times like these when being together with our loved ones is the only thing we look forward to. But because of the situation, the entire world has found itself in this year, it’s the one thing we should all avoid. And the realization of how much we miss being together is hitting us harder than we ever imagined. As the famous Janet Jackson song goes: you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.

It seems an impossible task – being together without actually meeting. We’re all trying to redefine and rethink the ways we socialize in these testing times. Long phone calls, writing physical letters, video conferencing – we’ve all experimented with these things to make up for what we are missing. It can be an alternative, a new way that we can learn to cherish. But this requires a great amount of goodwill and optimism. 

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