Click HERE to read the mag and visit the article in its original publication.
Berlin is fast becoming a cultural nexus of artists, DJ’s, designers and entrepreneurs creating a futuristic bohemia in a city that truly belongs to the people. Frequented by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio and Johnny Depp, the German capital has risen above the darker times when a wall split the city in half, and is now home to a world class club scene and industry built upon organic social culture.
While living costs pushed the creative class out of the likes of London, Paris and New York, Berlin welcomed them, offering affordable living, a thriving cafe culture frequented by freelancers and entrepreneurs and a growing popularity of co-working spaces. What sets this city apart is the way it has turned the youthful culture of a city into its primary industry. Art galleries, film festivals, start-ups, developing fashion designers and a transient 24 hour club scene together create an environment where tourists and locals alike can indulge in a culture totally unlike any where else in the world. The commercialisation of the city’s culture has now translated onto the culinary scene, with michelin star restaurants popping up next to classic german bratwurst street stands.
Th city was transformed by its youth in revolt, Berlin’s club scene arising from the fall of the wall in the early nineties, when locals made a mass relocation from the east to the west, leaving behind the empty shells of residential buildings, factories and warehouses. It was a young demographic of students, artists and DJ’s from the west who moved in and claimed the abandoned spaces as their own, rebelling against the districts communist memories.
Illegal underground clubs and bars started appearing in the spaces, some existed only for a few months while others moved from place to place, the locations known only by word of mouth. Today, Berlin is home to clubs dubbed best in the world by the New York Times, such as Bar Tausend in Mitte, visited by Ben Stiller and Di Caprio and the techno powerhouse of Berghain, a church to techno music based in an abandoned power plant, while the illegal underground club scene still exists, especially in the Neukolln district.
Aside from the buzz surrounding this creative hub, Berlin is also home to significant tourist hot spots. Mitte is centrally located and home to the historical Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag, the Berlin wall crossing point of Checkpoint Charlie and the tree lined boulevard of Unter Den Linden. Mitte is also home to Tiergarten zoo and gardens and the Nostalgia Christmas Market during the festive season. For a truly jolly and picturesque market experience, Grand Schloss Charlottenberg is a castle whose grounds play host to christmas stalls, christmas concerts, a carousel and Ferris wheel. Potsdamer Platz is a metropolis of high end fashion, and flagship designer stores while Friedrichshain in east Berlin is home to the East Side Gallery for graffiti and street art found on both sides of the Berlin Wall. However, to really get a feel for Berlin and its different neighbourhoods, take the Ring-Bahn line on the U-bahn and hop on and off the different stops around the city.
The buzz surrounding Berlin and its unique social culture is largely due to its people, a futuristic bohemia, the creative masses are juxtaposed against the modern wonders of a world class city. While Melbourne has its laneway culture, Paris its fashion and London its punk revolution, Berlin is a combination of it all, where young people and creatives rub shoulders with the bourgeois bohemians, fast becoming one of the worlds coolest cities.