Border Child: My Childhood Between East and West Berlin

Border Child: My Childhood Between East and West Berlin

“East or West?” the taxi driver asks in the course of our conversation while driving from Mitte to Kreuzberg. It goes without saying that I am also a Berliner by birth, like him. We talk about the resurrection of the Kurfürsten Damm and the crime on Kottbusser Tor, about the inadequate rents in the city center, and about those who have moved to Berlin, both new and old. “Uh, both,” I reply, biting my tongue at the same time. I realize what’s coming now. “Well, both doesn’t work” he corrects me, wise-assed. “Where did you go to school?” I could just lie and spare ourselves further questions. But we are right there, so I say: “In the West, but we lived in the East. That was before the fall of the Wall. “Now he is quite confused. I know the reaction. Anyone who grew up in Berlin in the 80s is either from the West or the East of Berlin. Only I can not answer this question clearly, because between 1986 and 1990 I lived in East Berlin, but went to school in West Berlin. I crossed the border daily in the Tränenpalast (Palace of Tears), as the commute to my school in West Berlin was called. I am neither Ossi nor Wessi, rather maybe Wossi: a child of both sides. I am familiar with the gray East with its bullet holes in the walls of the houses, the empty shelves in supermarkets, and the cozy East German atmosphere.

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Trainspotting Berlin: Near, Far, Wherever You Are…

Trainspotting Berlin: Near, Far, Wherever You Are…

Collecting small anecdotes of transitory moments.

The underground is full of myths. A place that we share with so many others, yet hardly experience together.

A place where collective memory resides; and although mostly not crossing over the borders of personal experience, some moments transcend into the wider consciousness of the masses.

She was one of them.

Just a mystical rumor at first—captured in shaky Instagram videos and hollow voice messages—spreading along the U8 like a wildfire on a dry day in late August.

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What Nights in Berlin Taught Me

What Nights in Berlin Taught Me

A personal-analytical journey, narrated to smashing four-to-the-floor drum beats at 130 bpm.

I turn left and lean against the thin metal wall next to me, the cool stainless steel nestling against my overheated skull. I’m dizzy, sweat running down my forehead. “So, what are we doing?” the familiar, rough female voice has this authoritarian and determined sound to it. A flash of light illuminates my vision—the dusty yellow light bulb’s reflection on the shiny, sterile surface of a mobile phone. Snow gently trickles; seven sweaty, half-naked bodies in a confined space, in need of a clear mind—or wings to fly again. The bass wafts underneath our feet, the sound of a toilet flushing next door.

What am I doing?

Looking at it superficially, I lost control over my life—yet, from a deep analytical point of view, I’m doing everything just right.

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Principles of Voguing: A Guide to Ballroom Categories

Principles of Voguing: A Guide to Ballroom Categories

The Ballroom scene of Berlin is on fire right now! Never have there been more balls happening with new events popping up every other week. It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm of the young generation and how they rise up to create their own gatherings.

After we had so much fun at the last ball hosted by the charming David Angels Milan during Pride, we teamed up with him for his next ball Voguing for the Ocean that is happening this coming Saturday at Säälchen. The oceanic theme is not just meant as a dress code for the outfits of the Voguers, the event is also a charity fundraiser for the organization Ocean Now that is campaigning to protect this important ecosystem. Voguing for a good cause!

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How it Feels to Run Your First Marathon in Berlin

How it Feels to Run Your First Marathon in Berlin

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After running his first marathon our guest writer Laurent sat down to share his experience at the run with us, as well as the program that Nike hosted in their Home of Running where he lead a panel talk with the founders of some of Berlin’s biggest running communities.

“Are you running the Berlin marathon?” This is probably the question I have been asked the most in the last 3 months. When you are a runner, running a marathon is already one big thing. Living in Berlin and running the Berlin Marathon is THE thing! 

This is not just another race. It is the race! It is incredible to see how the city changes from the week prior to this big event. Runners from all countries are invading the city and bring it to life in a different way! Streets, parks, cafés, runners are everywhere, getting their last kilometers before the big day! The atmosphere and enthusiasm around running have been growing so much in the past years. And Berlin has definitely played an enormous role in shaping the running culture. 

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How iHeartBerlin Reader Jacob Reduced His Illegally High Rent by 226 EUR

How iHeartBerlin Reader Jacob Reduced His Illegally High Rent by 226 EUR

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The topic of the rising rents in Berlin has been plaguing us for a few years now and it doesn’t seem to become any better with the shortage of available rooms and apartments becoming more severe over time. The situation has led greedy real estate companies to ignore legal rent regulations offering apartments for prices that only the wealthiest can afford. The “Mietpreisbremse” introduced a while ago was meant as a tool to stop landlords from overcharging. But the mechanism requires people to take action against it, no-one’s doing it for you.

A few months ago we took a closer look at what you can do if you think your rent is illegally high. Now that some time has passed we wanted to know: Does it actually work? We got in touch with one iHeartBerlin reader who actually went through the process with one of the options from the article: the consumer rights service wenigermiete.de. To our delight, he successfully managed to reduce his rent by 226 EUR. We met him in his apartment in Neukölln and talked with him about how that worked.

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The Story of the Berlin Wall Explained in One Big Comic

The Story of the Berlin Wall Explained in One Big Comic

illustrations: Sophia Halamoda. 

The history of the German division and the Berlin Wall is – to put it mildly – a rather complicated one. Especially since even today, 30 years later, it still feels the country has not completely recovered from it. I was only 7 when the wall came down so I feel my memory of life in the East is pretty much seen through the eyes of a child. I don’t remember life for my family being bad in any way, we were quite happy actually. There were a lot of things we didn’t have – but also we didn’t know about them, so we didn’t miss them.

But once the two German countries re-united, it did feel like something exciting and good was happening – at first. It took us all a while to understand what was really going on. On the surface, we were re-uniting but underneath it was more of a take-over. I don’t mean it in a hostile way, and I’m not blaming either side for what had happened. It is, as I said before, more complicated than that. But in the few decades, those two parts of Germany developed so differently under such different circumstances, that throwing them together again like that was just going to cause some collateral damage. If you only look at the election results or statistics such as unemployment rates you will see a country that is maybe not as united as it should be.

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Trainspotting Berlin: Morning Misery

Trainspotting Berlin: Morning Misery

Collecting small anecdotes of transitory moments.

One of those mornings. The night was too long, the alarm clock too early, the coffee too late—and three cups too little.

As I fall over my open shoelaces in the hallway, I do wonder if I should have called in sick.

On my way down the aggressive miniature dog of my second-floor neighbor greets me with noisy, squeaky barking and jumps right at my throat. My day hasn’t even properly started but my heart rate already reaches unhealthy heights and my mood hits a new low.

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The Fight For Climate Justice Unites over 270.000 People in Berlin

The Fight For Climate Justice Unites over 270.000 People in Berlin

The Global Climate Strike took place earlier today in Berlin, as well as in many other cities across the globe. Fridays for Future, the movement started by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, announced that around 270.000 people went to the streets in Berlin, which is a number much higher than anticipated. It was for sure the biggest demonstration I have ever been to, even bigger than the Europe demo in the Spring and the #unteilbar demo last Autumn (not counting Christopher Street Day).

This turnup and the engagement of the people in the fight for climate justice was really impressive to see, but who impressed me the most were the young people and kids that came, screaming and chanting at the top of their lungs with such a level of seriousness that went into my bones. I think their cry for justice was the most powerful element of the entire parade. I cannot imagine how it must feel for kids growing up with the understanding that previous generations (including ourselves) have majorly fucked up the future of their planet.

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