photos: Lovis Ostenrik.
These last couple of weeks it became almost a mantra: Stay at home! Angela Merkel said it, viral expert Drosten said it, your mom said it, we said it. It’s in everyone’s ears, and in everyone’s mouths.
But what does “staying at home” mean for everybody? It’s certainly not the same for everyone. If you’re living alone in a dark studio apartment in the backyard it can certainly start to feel claustrophobic at some point. But if you’re lucky to live in a big bright Altbau with balcony (or even better: a garden) together with loved ones, it can also be pretty ok in the end. No matter if it’s a big sacrifice or just a small one, the importance as one of the most significant measures to battle this pandemic cannot be denied.
photos: Marga van den Meydenberg
Dutch photographer Marga van den Meydenberg has a mission: to photograph as many unique Berlin personalities as possible in her popup photo studio in Berlin. In her own words “every human being is unique and therefore a piece of art.” And this is totally true, you can see that each Berliner has added their own and unique point of eccentricity to each picture. I can even glimpse a Dalí influence in the approach of this project.
Funny, surreal, colorful, unexpected… and above all: spontaneous. Every portrait is a new surprise, a different story. Marga sees every photo as an experiment to discover how far she can go with the model. In the end, the collaboration between artist and model is the best way to create unforgettable moments. When you enter the studio, time doesn’t matter, leave your hurries behind, be willing to share all your creativity and don’t be afraid to give it a try. The more personality you show, the better.
This is the story of an extraordinary Berliner. His childhood in a completely destroyed Post World War II Berlin definitely shaped him. In that period Wolfgang Sadowski made of, at first, simple and seemingly insignificant actions, like helping his mother cook a hot meal, an act of rebellion against the misery and decay that surrounded him. Because, in the end, our little victories will help us make it through the day. Maybe that’s why he grew up unwilling to retreat and with the ambition to conquer every moment of his life.
This passionate man whose commitment and love for sports and, especially, weight lifting has made him maintain a positive attitude throughout his life and kept him young and vital until today. Weight lifting is presented to us as a metaphor for survival, persistence and overcoming the toughest times. And accompanying the strong visuals a beautiful and delicate soundtrack that allows us to immerse ourselves in the narration and that guides us through the daily life of Wolfgang.
But this is not my story to tell. This is Wolfgang Sadowski’s story. So grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and let yourself enjoy this short film made by Felix and Isabella Hoffmann about Wolfgang Sadowski, the strongest man of Berlin.
illustrations: Sophia Halamoda
They say every city can be a bittersweet experience, but Berlin has a penchant for taking everything to the absolute extreme; it’s syrupy like Glühwein and pungent like take-away coffee from a Turkish run späti. No mouthwash – not even Pfeffi – could ever make you forget its taste.
How did you feel when you realized Berlin is the World’s Greatest Circus, and upon moving here, you could leave the audience and get on stage? Everything is improvised, it can get ugly – and the only character that’s even trying to be funny is the BVG. But you stayed, watching others, trying to learn the cues, and ultimately you fell in love with the beautiful mess around you.
How well do you know it now? Can you tell the cliches from the truth? Have you been to the wild side? Are you even vegan?! In other words: how much of a Berliner are you, really? Let our quiz be the judge.
illustrations: Berk Karaoglu
Here on iHeartBerlin, we like to get real. So all fancy dining guides aside, we know the drill – it’s 3 am, you’re somewhere unterwegs with very little to no money left, but the only thing you’re still able to feel is hunger, so you think you might just as well get that greasy snack. Berlin’s got you covered – read on to see our ultimate top selection of iconic Berlin bites that you should introduce your visiting friends to, thus completely ruining their diet plan.
Photo by Cherie Birkner
I moved to Berlin from New York because of everything Berlin promises: freedom, liberty, affordability, creativity, internationalism, a nice dose of socialism – a real celebration of the artist’s life. It’s the party capital of the world with a burgeoning tech scene, a true city of the 21st century built out of the rubble of 20th century. For such a progressive, young and energized city, then, why do I have such trouble with internet access?
I’m not even talking about the dreaded download fines up to €1000, the IP-spying, the GEMA denials of YouTube videos “not allowed in your country”, as frustrating as these things are. I’m just talking about basic access to the amazing modern utility on our planet: the internet!
photo: Harald Hauswald
We all know the stigma: True Berliners are grumpy people. People who directly speak their mind, could not care less about unnecessary chit-chat and definitely have a strong problem with, well, for simplicity reasons, let’s call it hipster culture. Despite stereotypes being generally untrue, it doesn’t really take you long to see that person right in front of you, does it? But is there a reason for all the grouch? Has anyone ever dared to ask when you saw one of these rare True Berliners? It feels like in Berlin there is this ongoing, unspoken, not clearly defined tension pressing under the surface of the city; an unverbalized conflict between these who came and those who were already here. The “Neuberliner“ vs. the “Urberliner“.
In search of an answer for all this bad mood, we, the “Neuberliner“, need to go back in time. As finding the cause for these temper issues is just not that simple. This text is one approach, but of course there could be one hundred other reasons for grumpy Berlin people being grumpy. But let’s try…
In the time that we have all spent in Berlin either as visitors or residents, how much energy have we invested in getting to know the city? What could we say about it, that could be insightful and at the same time descriptive of its true identity? Do we even know the city we so passionately talk about?
Brenda Strohmaier’s and Alexander S. Wolf’s “Der Berlin-Code” tackles this -oddly- rarely addressed issue by creating a very special guide for anyone curious to find out a little bit more about Berlin’s core identity. What makes this book unique is that it transcends the usual questions “Where to go?”, “What to do?” etc. as well as the well-known discontent about how Berlin used to be and how it currently is. Instead, it delves into themes that cannot be approached by a simple Google search.
illustrations: Sophia Halamoda
After how many years can you say that you are a real Berliner? Five? Maybe ten? Or maybe 20? Some people even say that only the people who were born here have the right to be called “real“ Berliners. But what about if you were born in Berlin but left at the age of 10 and never came back? Would you be a real Berliner then?
I would like this nonsense about real Berliners and not real Berliners to stop once and for all. Most of the people now living in Berlin came from elsewhere and might even leave and go somewhere else after a couple of years. The Berliner-DNA is not defined by your birth certificate, your current Geo-Tag or the length of time you have spent in this city. As kitschy as its sounds, being a Berliner is a matter of your heart.
But sometimes listening to your heart is not as easy as it sounds on paper. To give you some help in discovering the (not so) secret essence of this lovable city, we joined forces with our favorite cartoon artist Sophia Halamoda. As a creative contribution of the #LiveThere exhibition by Airbnb we created a semi-serious guide to how to become a real Berliner. Go and discover after the jump.
UPDATE (Nov 2019): If you love the illustrations and sense of humor by Sophia you will love the new book Like A Berliner that we made in collaboration with her that will get you even further into the Berliners’ way of life.
‘How much Turkish am I and how much German do I have to be?’
The struggle of finding and being yourself in a world full of restrictions and limitations is real. Anyone with a second (or third or fourth or…) ethnicity in their persona, DNA or environment will have to ask himself these questions eventually.
The search for your ‚true‘ self gets even harder, when identity and integration come into the mix and interfere with your general soul searching. Suddenly, to find an in-group, as social identity theorists would call it, you need to check their markers and face possible rejection. The fear of the Unknown comes with obsession of control, dividing more than including.
To fit in, one has to adapt. To be recognized, one has to fit in a box. To be equal, one has to be the same. At least, that’s what society taught us. Is it right though?