Clubs without Dancing: What Berlin’s Clubs are Doing Without Raves

Clubs without Dancing: What Berlin’s Clubs are Doing Without Raves

Halle, photo: Roman März.

There are many other reasons to come to Berlin apart from the clubs but they are definitely among the most popular ones. Techno has its roots in Detroit and the Afrofuturism movement but both the name and the current widespread popularity have to do with what it evolved into in Berlin.

While these parties are still relatively underground in many cities, Berlin has embraced rave culture and built a special relationship with its clubs and their audience. Berghain has already secured legal status as a cultural institution, and other clubs are fighting for the same. Club tourists are also valued by the city’s government as a major contribution to the economy.

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How to Get the Berlin Look

How to Get the Berlin Look

While Berlin’s weather is too unpredictable to count on it, at least you don’t have to worry about always having to find the appropriate outfit for the current circumstances. Berliners tend to be quite liberal as far as putting together a look goes. Or taking a look apart, for that matter: showing some skin is often a viable option. At the first glance, it might look like they’re just throwing on random stuff they just picked up at Humana, but there’s a logic to this aesthetic madness.

Together with the illustrator Sophia Halamoda, we’ve analyzed some of the most prevailing Hauptstadt fashion trends for our book Like A Berliner (available here) and extracted some advice for you on how to get the Berlin look from the chapter Look Like A Berliner!  

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Dresscode: The Contrasting Daytime and Nightlife Outfits of Berliners

Dresscode: The Contrasting Daytime and Nightlife Outfits of Berliners

photos: Kseniya Apresyan. 

This photography series by Kseniya Apresyan showcases one characteristic Berlin is a paragon of – the freedom that for many is almost synonymous with the city’s kinky nightlife. But don’t expect sneaky snapshots from the dancefloor – this project brings the partygoers back into reality, creating intriguing images of their respective lifestyles.

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These Berlin Fashion Designers Are Now Sewing Face Masks

These Berlin Fashion Designers Are Now Sewing Face Masks

Musician & Songwriter VELVE wearing I‘ VR. 

I’m well aware that there is a certain controversy about self-made or non-medical face masks. The German government has so far been shy about ordering the people to wear face protection, mostly because of the extreme shortage of available certified masks but also because the effectiveness of masks is still debated. One thing is certain though: Those few countries that have a mask policy in place seem to have much flatter curves. This can, of course, have various reasons. But then again, if you just think about it. The more people wearing masks, the less those will accidentally cough or sneeze out into the open in the early stages of infection when they are the most contagious and the least likely to show symptoms yet.

While a few weeks ago the Germans seemed to be quite reluctant to wear masks, in the last week it has dramatically changed and I see a lot of people with self-made or other fabric masks out in the streets. And I do admit it does make me feel a little more safe seeing more people around wearing masks and consciously protecting others from being accidentally infected by them.

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Why I’m Afraid to Leave Berlin

Why I’m Afraid to Leave Berlin

photos: Beth James. 

When I think about Berlin I imagine the U-Bahn rattling on the overhead tracks, pigeons flapping above rooftops and the faint sound of techno in the distance. Berlin is graffiti, sweaty nightclubs, beers on the canal, weird art exhibitions, midnight bike rides, sticky summer days that wrap around you like a blanket and icy, grey winters that make you forget what summer feels like. Berlin is late nights and early mornings, lake swims, laughter on rooftops, marathon dance sessions and afternoons in the park, shoes off, lying on your back under a hazy sun. It‘s a place that tempts you and taunts you, that lifts you up and tears you down. Where freedom reigns and no-one gives a shit. It gets under your skin, and the longer you stay the harder it is to leave.

Berlin is also an identity, and many wear it as a badge of honour. That’s why you see people with Instagram accounts that say their name and “Berlin”. Because it’s a vibe, it stands for something. Being associated with it explains who you are. I’m finding it hard to untangle myself from this identity I have been wrapped in for the better part of a decade. It has taken a lot of soul-searching to make the decision to leave my long-time lover, with its dark heart and endless thrills. Over the years, whenever I felt it could be the right moment to go I would be sucked back in, somehow pulled by an invisible current. I would come up with a million reasons why this was the place for me, and why I could never find anything like what I had here.

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Game-Changers for Singles in Self-Isolation

Game-Changers for Singles in Self-Isolation

photos: Kinga Cichewicz

Just when I thought that being single in Berlin couldn’t possibly get any harder, the level of difficulty has skyrocketed because of the pandemic. It feels like suddenly, one is basically stripped of all the cool Berlin single life privileges but has to carry all of its burdens. Ironically, in pre-Corona times, singles would sometimes get annoyed by some of the very things that actually can bring us solace in the current circumstances of isolation.

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The Dancers from the Staatsballett Berlin Dancing From Home

The Dancers from the Staatsballett Berlin Dancing From Home

As you probably know we’re big fans of the Staatsballett Berlin here at iHeartBerlin. So naturally, this new video really warmed our hearts when we first saw it: Initiated and edited by Principal Dancer Ksenia Ovsyanick, 45 of the dancers recorded themself at their homes or wherever they spent their quarantine giving a little performance that seamlessly blends over from one dancer to the next as if they all danced together in unison. The result is a cute little collage of all the dancers that give us some positive vibes and smiles in these strange times. Thank you guys for that, we can’t wait to see you back on stage, hopefully soon!

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The New Netflix Show Unorthodox is an Escape to Berlin

The New Netflix Show Unorthodox is an Escape to Berlin

Since Dark, the German TV show productions of Netflix have unfortunately not really been my cup of tea. This changes with the new mini-series Unorthodox created by Anna Winger and Alexa Karolinski and directed by the wonderful Maria Schrader (also known as an actress from Deutschland 83/86 and the film classic Aimée & Jaguar). I just finished the entire 4 episodes in one evening and really warmly recommend it to everyone, especially since it does a good job at making Berlin look incredible.

The show is based on the autobiographical book by Deborah Feldmans by the same name and tells the story of 19-year-old Esty who grows up in the ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community of Brooklyn – or as another Jewish character from the show describes it: the “lunatic fringe”. During her arranged marriage Esty realizes that she can’t imagine living her life under such strict rules, so she escapes to Berlin where she gets drawn into the scene of young aspiring musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic. Both timelines, her final year in Brooklyn and her first days in Berlin, are told in parallel which creates an impressive contrast between the strict community and the liberal life in Berlin.

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The Closing Of Berlin As We Know It

The Closing Of Berlin As We Know It

With the imminent closing of beloved Neukölln nightclub Griessmuehle coming up soon, the oldest cinema of Berlin, Moviemento, fighting for its survival and the iconic Clärchens Ballhaus already shut down the current mood of the city is pretty much set. Is the Berlin that we know and love gradually going to shut down now? Did the commercial powers that be finally win and swallow the alternative, untamable, free-spirited Berlin? I’m not gonna blame you if this is how you feel.

As someone who has been observing Berlin for 20 years now, I have seen many cherished clubs and cultural places go, some are even dearly missed today. The division of the city, the unwanted and abandoned places, relics of the industrialization, they all offered so much space for the underground and nightlife scenes to develop and thrive, especially since the wall came down. It created an ever thirsty and unflinching spirit to re-invent, re-purpose and experiment with spaces, objects, ideas. It created a city that turned its lack of pompous sights into a virtue and made its lifestyle into the magnetic quality that brought countless people here over the past couple of decades.

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How It Was Like to Arrive in Berlin 20 Years Ago

How It Was Like to Arrive in Berlin 20 Years Ago

photoPatrick1977Bln / CC-BY-SA

It’s the year 2000. While I was already in my late teens and fresh out of school the rest of the iHeartBerlin crew that you know today was still munching on Fruchtzwerge. It’s the year that I arrived in Berlin, and boy, this was quite a different kind of spectacle than it is nowadays. Imagine coming here without knowing anybody because there were no social media channels to connect with people before you even arrive. And imagine walking around the city with a foldable paper map because there was no Google Maps. Imagine the Eberswalde U-Bahnhof in now-quaint Prenzlauer Berg being the Kottbusser Tor of the time (no idea what the real Kottbusser Tor would have been like because you would JUST NOT GO THERE). 

It was the time before the big Berlin hype, the time before waiters that only speak English, before the cult of Berghain, before all these big shopping malls, before Berlin’s main train station, before people complaining about high rents or gentrification, before casual conversations about drug use, before mobs of tourists, before laws against leaving dog poop in the streets, before Air Berlin went bankrupt, before Tempelhof was turned into a gigantic park, before jobs existed in Berlin. It was a totally different world back then. It was a Berlin on the borderline between the raw, untainted post-wall 90s that so many of us older new Berliners idolize, and the Berlin of now.

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