The Virtues of Moving to Berlin During the Pandemic

The Virtues of Moving to Berlin During the Pandemic

photo: Roger Sabaté. 

Berlin has been unrecognizable to its long-term inhabitants ever since March 2020. Lockdown after lockdown has gradually changed our carefree reality into an enduring nightmare. What’s the allure of the free-spirited capital when its clubs, bars, and cultural institutions are closed off for an indefinite time? And yet, even in those dire circumstances, some brave souls still sought to make Berlin their new home. How is moving to Berlin in the pandemic different than what most of us ex-pats have experienced?

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How It Feels to Live in a City Where the Extraordinary Are the Majority

How It Feels to Live in a City Where the Extraordinary Are the Majority

photos: Andrea Hansen. 

Hidden amongst other notes hanging from a lamppost, not far from my apartment in Friedrichshain, something caught my eye.

Berlin – the city whose residents communicate via notes:

Apartment-hunters, declarations of love, Weltschmerz, lost teddy bears, the announcement of a party, sometimes also the announcement of a natural home birth and accompanied by a request not to call the police due to the resulting noise. There is nothing that cannot be said in Berlin using this form of communication.

The note that caught my eye was asking for help on an indie movie set.

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DIRE-LOGUES: Discussing the Problem of Racism in Berlin

DIRE-LOGUES: Discussing the Problem of Racism in Berlin

“I love the Südländer men” was one of the most common messages I would receive when I was still on dating apps, oftentimes as the cherry on top to complete the recipe. Apparently, it was deemed to be a compliment for some but to me, it was downright offensive. It only showed how the lack of race talk in Germany failed to educate people that racial fetishization was not a suave thing and it was blatant objectification. I was never part of the macho and aggressive Südländer stereotype they had in their fantasies and I was never willing to be, to the much disappointment of my suitors.

Conversations about race can be very difficult in Germany, even in our city that people regard as one of the most open-minded and equal places in the world. Self-defensive reactions to race talks and complete rejection of the conversation led our society to define racism differently from other parts of the world, creating multiple misconceptions about it. Some of these experiences of racism in Berlin are narrated by a series of short video portraits called DIRE-Logues by BlackBrownBerlin co-founder Chanel Knight. Established in 2018, BlackBrownBerlin aims to empower POC communities in Berlin and beyond, and speak up about discrimination and misrepresentation.  You can read our previous interview with them here to learn about their story, mission, and activities. 

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10 Things that Make the Berlin Summer so Amazing

10 Things that Make the Berlin Summer so Amazing

illustrations: Sophia Halamoda. 

As a native Istanbulite, summers always meant eluding the city as soon as possible with everlasting fear of crowds, the heatwaves and the tourists during the entire three months. Leaving the city in summer is almost a global tradition for every metropolitan, except for Berliners. We prefer to foray into foreign lands in winters, but every true Berliner knows in their heart that our city is exceptionally beautiful and sexy in the summer, and we don’t want to skip a bit of it.

Inspired by some of the chapters in our book Like A Berliner, we narrowed down our favorite activities that make Berlin so special in summer. If you enjoy it, you should get the limited summer package including our 2 books Like A Berliner, Learn Deutsch with iHeartBerlin and the “Summer in Berlin” poster in our webshop!

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More Than Ice Cream: Magnum Launches Unique Limited Design Edition by Independent Designers

More Than Ice Cream: Magnum Launches Unique Limited Design Edition by Independent Designers

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In the last couple of days, Berlin is finally starting to wake up again and feel like the multi-faceted and fun city that we all know and love. The sun is shining, people are outside and the Berlin vibes are slowly kicking in.

What better moment to come out with something new than now? We’re all craving some pleasure, and ice cream, and some golden sunsets. It feels like the perfect timing for what Magnum has in store for us. 

Recently I was lucky to get a glimpse of some shiny things coming up at the press event by Magnum. Of course, there was a brand new ice cream flavor involved, and some amazing bedazzled roller skates. Sounds like fun? Let’s dive in…

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The Berlin Movement Dose of Pleasure is bringing  back the Joy of Dancing together

The Berlin Movement Dose of Pleasure is bringing back the Joy of Dancing together

Photography by Rita Couto ©,  Berlin 2021

Finally, Berlin is getting its open-air dance floors back this weekend. Yet there was one particular dance movement that brought people together with electronic music even during the lockdown. If you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s really time you find out about Dose of Pleasure, because once you tried it you will be addicted to it. I promise. 

Basically, Dose of Pleasure is a collective dance meditation that starts usually quite softly, gets energetic with time, and lets you groove to electronic music in a completely different way than you would do in a “normal” night out in a club. The method behind the movement of Dose of Pleasure was created in March 2020, when the first lockdown hit Berlin and the world. Based on his experience with the Berlin night live, the dance teacher Alvin Collantes created a way to move with yourself and get deep into the groove. 

Last summer, the movement had regular raves happening in different locations all over town. This Saturday 19th there will be the first public dance demonstration again happening at Tempelhofer Feld. You can find more about the event and the schedule over here. 

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For Poles, Pro-Choice Often Means a Trip to Berlin

For Poles, Pro-Choice Often Means a Trip to Berlin

In Berlin leftist graffiti dominates the streets. Unless you venture far enough into Pankow, which I cannot recommend, you’ll likely only find posters, street art, stickers, and graffiti that match Berlin’s politics: left-wing, queer, and pro-reproductive rights. Less than a two-hour drive away in Poland, it’s an entirely different story. There’s a Polish joke that goes: “if you’re standing on the street and there’s an anti-abortion poster behind your back and you don’t see one in front of you, it means you’ve reached the border.” 

Since 1993, abortion has been illegal in Poland except in cases of fetal abnormalities, a serious risk to the life or health of the pregnant person, or rape or incest. In October 2020, the country’s Constitutional Tribunal struck the first of those–fetal abnormalities–from the list of permitted cases. And although this law only came into effect in January 2021, hospitals began refusing people last fall. Contraception is available in Poland but can be refused on the grounds of a “consciousness clause,” meaning medical staff can deny access based on their beliefs. 

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Undress to Express – A Conversation with the Berlin Strippers Collective

Undress to Express – A Conversation with the Berlin Strippers Collective

photos: Megan Auer

Berlin is undoubtedly a hedonistic city. It’s known for its wild sex clubs, indulgent late-night food culture, excessive drinking, and the legalization of sex work. Despite this sinful reputation, sex workers in Berlin still face much of the same stigma they encounter elsewhere. Berlin Strippers Collective (BSC) is an organization of strippers living in Berlin, working to tell their stories through art and events, while always advocating and fighting for their ultimate goal: decriminalization. Read on…

12 Asian Podcasts & Projects to Check Out in Berlin Amidst Growing Anti-Asian Racism

12 Asian Podcasts & Projects to Check Out in Berlin Amidst Growing Anti-Asian Racism

Rice and Shine, photo: Valerie Siba Rousparas. 

Following the tragic shooting in Atlanta, Georgia that killed 8 Asian-Americans on March 16, 2021 the topic of anti-Asian racism has been in the spotlight around the globe, an issue that does not exclude our very own Berlin.

Especially due to the pandemic with phrases like “Kung Flu” and “China virus” being thrown around, Asian communities have become wary of increased anti-Asian racism. For myself, this past year has forced me to be aware of my Asianness more than ever, leaving me to wonder if the person who just moved away from me on the U-Bahn only did so because of my almond-shaped eyes smiling at them from behind my mask.

While COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation, racism towards Asians has been around long before the pandemic. Here in Berlin, I have had men fetishize my “exotic oriental beauty” and “ching chong” gibberish shouted at me on the street, just to name a few mild remarks. Attention needs to be brought to such experiences not to complain of our beloved Berlin, but because we care about this city and want to help make it feel safer for the communities that make this place so special. 

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What to Do When Your Friends Are in Crisis Mode

What to Do When Your Friends Are in Crisis Mode

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.

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