The greatest legend of the current Berliner night, Berghain is considered by many – experts on the subject – the best club in the world and the temple of techno. Named after its location – between Krezberg and Friedrichshain - and housed in a former power plant, it has a fascinating industrial atmosphere with a huge 18 meter high main dancing floor and a smaller upstairs space called Panorama Bar.
Berghain is a descendant of Ostgut, a nocturnal myth born from a men-only-fetish-night called “Snax”. Open to all genders it turned into the nest of the techno-subculture in Berlin. In 2003 Ostgut was closed down to give space to the ugly O2 Arena. A year later Berhghain was born. Much of the spirit of the first house remains. There are several dark rooms and “Snax” still happens once a year. The famous and selective door control is also a way to keep the standards of the house and make sure that the people getting in match with the environment. Pictures are also strictly forbidden. With one of the greatest sound systems and the best DJs in the world, Berghain held long events that less sometimes more than a day. A place for those into real party!
The Zoo station together with the well known shopping street Kurfürstendamm – kindly called Ku’ damm by locals – formed at the time of the Wall the trendy center of West Berlin. Theaters, cinemas, nightclubs, cabarets, restaurants, fashionable stores and local designer made of the area the biggest buzz of that Berlin. Today a mix of many universes it gathers luxury with poverty, newcomers students with longtime residents, train stations, tourist attractions and a lot of coming and going.
Amazing C / O Berlin, the International Forum for Visual Dialogues, moved this year to the Amerika Haus, located in the area. Still being renovated the institution offers until spring 2014 open air photo exhibitions 24h/7 and gratis for all to see. The current theme is by the way the area where the exhibition takes place, nothing less than the boulevard Zoo & Ku’damm. Here 13 Photographers from the renowned Ostkreuz Agency were invited to explore Charlottenburg and its residents and to reveal the diverse stories and social strata behind the hectic activity and facades. Myths and truths, secrets and clichés, the different histories and social differences that stirred this usual urban scene were all portrayed. Going on until the 24th of November the Ostkreuz. To the West. A new perspevtive on Charlottenburg is located only 3 metro stations from the Amstel House, right in front of the Amerika Haus.
Berlin is many! This diversity can also be noticed between its neighborhoods, all with very strong personalities and at the same time really distinct from each other. Moabit in particular has a story a part, full of social fights, engaged arts and cultural diversity.
The very first ones to undergo the area – in the early times just a swamp surrounded by water – were Slavic tribes who crossed the river Spree in order to connect trade routes. In the 13th century its grounds were used by Brandenburg nobles as a hunting area until finally in 1715 French refugees settled around becoming the pioneer inhabitants of the island.
The map of Moabit in 1861
Life was calm and slow until Moabit was merged into Berlin in 1861. Over all, after the expansion of Germany’s Industrial Revolution, which had its burning heart right here, the new suburb began to boil. Numerous factories of big companies, such as AEG, Borsig and Siemens, were constructed in the neighborhood.
Bosig in 1900
The AEG-Turbinfabric made by Peter Behrens in 1907
Inside the AEG Turbinfabrik
The enormous job offer attracted families from all around Europe generating an impressive population growth of more than 3000% between 1861 and 1910. Soon the ports of Moabit became agitated centers of import and export and its streets a vibrant and bohemia scene of the proletarian class. The industry ran in frenetic rhythm, as well as the labor mass in its long, exhausting and badly paid daily working journeys. Against the deafening machines, Moabit working class proved to be a loud crowed always engaged in the fight for its social and labor rights. Clandestine meetings, strikes, demonstrations, arrestments and deaths marked the district in the first decades of the XX century.
Moabit in 1905
To be continued….
One of the most interesting consequences of the hectic history of Berlin are – or at least were – the many empty and abandoned spaces throughout the city: vacant land never rebuilt after the war, abandoned factories, hospitals taken by the bushes, former department stores, NSA spying bases during the Cold War are today in an interesting disrepair. After the Wall Fall in 1989 this places turned into squats or stages for clandestine Parties, where the electronic scene was born. Full with an intriguing atmosphere and surreal scenery they are definitely fun to explore.
One of these places still existing is the famous Spreepark. Inaugurated in 1969 in the former GDR as Kulturpark Plänterwald, it was the only amusement park of the former East Germany and worked quite well during decades until the Wall Fall. In 1991 it became a domain of Norbert Witte turning into the Spreepark GmbH. Despite its success at first, the park broke down in 2001 due bad administration falling into ruin. Untouched until today the place has a great captivating and bizarre look of a fantastic movie. The entrance is forbidden, but many still manage to seep in.
Exactly 50 years ago the then President of the United States John F. Kennedy made one of his best and one of XX century’s most famous speeches. In a crucial and tense period of the Cold War the first American president to step in Berlin after the construction of the Wall talked with enthusiasms to an audience of more than 450.000 people in the West neighborhood of Schöneberg. Emphasizing the U.S support for the West Germany JFK pronounced in this speech the legendary words “Ich bin eine Berliner”, which became his best known and Berlins most repeated quote until today.
Ever since then the Kennedy family won the affection of the citizens of Berlin. In honor to this special relationship Berlin opened in 2008 a museum dedicated to one of the most unique families of the recent history. The Kennedys Museum offers this year special events doe the 50th years anniversary of JFK visit. Definitely worth a look.
Considered one of the most important jazz festivals in the world, the JazzFest Berlin plays in several directions. Having the rhythm as the starting point and connection the festival investigates and presents different cultures, styles and forms of expression and emotion, which find in jazz the common means of expression. The concept of the event is the documentation, support and recognition of trends in the jazz world, becoming a mirror of the diversity of the musical creative activity.
During four days – from October the 31st to December 3rd – the event will feature a varied program and many major representatives of jazz around world. There will be plenty good music, free style, improvisation, the best African percussion and drums, hallucinating pianos and wind instruments.
Click here for more information.
For the ones planning to join the festival, the Amstel House Hostel Berlin has the best stay options. Take a look in our Offers.
Artists from New York and Berlin are gathered in the exhibition Tomorrow It’s Time for the Future. The focus is to strengthen the artistic exchange between the two poles and stimulate the growth of cooperative projects and collective artistic between them.
The flirtation between the two cities, however, is been going on already for a long tine. For many Berlin is just like New York in the 80s. Freedom of expression, creativity and urban lifestyle, as well as innovative and fluent artistic production are common characteristics between them. With the exorbitant rents the American metropolis, many artists New Yorker artists immigrated to Berlin searching for a cheaper life more time to artistic creation.
Mixing established artists with others emerging, Berliners with New Yorkers, the exhibition shows some of this affinity between two of the most important art scenes of the world. At the same time a retrospective of generations and an outlook in the future of the arts , the exhibition stays only until October the 20th and is a must go for everyone in this city.
An important part of the Bavarian Culture, the Oktoberfest has a tradition of more than 200 years. First held as a horse race in honor to a royal wedding, the festival is currently a big party with a lot of traditional music, regional food and surly a huge consuming of beer. It is estimated that over seven million litters of beer are consumed annually during the festival.
But you don’t have to be in Munich to enjoy the party. The Oktoberfest is celebrated all around the world and, of course, in Berlin too. The German capital offers different addresses for the ones in the mood to celebrate the beginning of autumn in a really Bavarian way. Decoration in blue and white; in the menu Hendl (grilled chicken), Shweinshaxe (pork knukles) and huge Brezels; to drink the official Oktoberfest beer, Paulaner.
Oktoberfest in Berlin – Foto: Paul Zinken
For those willing to get really in the mood, we give some tips on how to dress up typically. For the men the Bavarian lederhosen (leather breeches) with a white shirt. For the ladies the traditional dirndl dress over a white blouse. But there is an important detail with it: the position of the bow. If you are single, the bow should stay at your left side , if you are committed on the right and if you are a virgin – do they still exist? – in the front.
It is time to celebrate in the German way. Gather your friends, pack your bags, come to Berlin. And do not forget, if you need a cheap and central place stay, the Amstel House Hostel would be happy to host you. Take a look at our Special Offers.