Free admission to Berlin’s best museums

four museums from Berlin

Berlin has more than 175 museums. I tell you which one you should visit and provide you will all the information on how you can enter them for free

Berlin offers more than 175 museums and therefore has more museums than rainy days (around 106 days) per year. A day in a museum is perfect if you love to explore and learn new things, or also if you are looking for a nice activity inside hiding from the bad weather. Plus there are many museums for free in Berlin so it can also save you some money if you are travelling on a budget.

Museums Sunday for free admissions

Every first Sunday of the month, Berlin invites everyone for free to over 60 (state) museums, for example, all four of the famous museum’s island. Here you can find the bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti in Neues Museum (in English “New Museum”) and the Great Altar of Pergamon in the same called Pergamon Museum.

Bode Museum

For most museums, you will need to book a free time slot. You can get it earliest one week beforehand on the official homepage. You should be fast, especially for the famous museums since the time slots are really fast booked out. The best is to already book your ticket directly at midnight the Sunday before. You can book up to two tickets per person (if you want to go with more people make sure someone else books tickets as well) for several museums. A few museums can also be visited without a time slot. Museums Sunday started in the summer of 2021 with the idea of getting even more people interested in the diverse cultural offerings of Berlin.

Museums that are always free

Inside the Bundestag

If you just missed the Museums Sunday – do not worry, there are more than 60 museums and memorials which are always free of charge. Spoiler: Three of them are also on the list of my favourite museums – so this is an absolute pro tip! You can find a list of all museums here (the page is only available in German).

Inside the dome of the German Bundestag
Inside the dome of the Reichstag Building

One other place which can be visited for free is the German parliament. You can book different tours to get more information on how German politics work but also visit the roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag Building. You should book your time slot for the visit beforehand here.

My favourite museums in Berlin:

Jüdisches Museum
Hall of Fame

The Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum) tells stories and the history of Jews in Germany – from the past till today. You will learn more about Jewish people in general, but also as a religion and a culture. During your visit you will get to know famous Jewish people in the Hall of Fame – Did you know that Amy Winehouse was Jewish? Yeah, me neither. The Jewish Museum opens up the history of Jews in Germany as a part of the country. It speaks about traditions as much as pop culture. Also, the Holocaust is just one of many chapters the museum will guide you through.

An interactive exhibition to take part in
Anne Frank and Peggy Gugenheim

The Jewish Museum is one of my favourite museums because it really understands to make its exhibition vibrant and interactive. I wrote my name in Hebrew, put my wish on the welcome tree, transformed myself into a painting, listened to pop music, and embossed a coin of Anne Frank for my pocket. Pro tip: Bring a 5 Cent coin to the museum to press your own.

Advanced architecture

The whole architecture of the building is stunning and the partition of it is really thought through. Two of the most memorable places are the Holocaust-Tower and the installation Shalekhet by Menashe Kadishman.

The Holocaust-Tower is a cold and isolated building. In general, it is dark inside, there is only a splinter of daylight coming through the narrow slit of the tower but especially in winter also the coldness. This experience leaves you with an oppressive feeling, especially in combination with the name of the tower.

The screaming faces

The installation Shalekhet which means translated fallen leaves can be found in the Memory Void. More than 10,000 faces are covering the ground. The masks are made of round iron plates and formed into screaming faces. They are dedicated to all victims of war so they won’t get forgotten.
At first, I was a bit shocked when people just started walking on the faces. But then someone from the museum’s staff explained to us that the idea is to walk over the masks because of the rough ground you have to look down at the screaming faces to not lose your balance and fall. In addition, there is the sound of scratching when you walk over the iron plates. The ulterior motive of the artist is that the visitors therefore will not forget the experience.

Prices and how to get there
💰 The permanent exhibitions as well as the ANOHA museum for children have free admission. Only the changing exhibition can cost an extra entrance fee of 8 EUR (8.50 US$) or reduced 3 EUR (3.20 US$), depending on the exhibition. Some of the changing exhibitions are free as well. The best is you check the official page before visiting the museum. The Jewish Museum is also taking part in the Museums Sunday.

📍 Lindenstr. 9–14 in 10969 Berlin

🚌 You can take the U1, U3 or U6 to the station Hallesches Tor or the U6 to Kochstraße. There is also bus 248 going directly to the bus stop Jüdisches Museum.

Find more information about the museum on its official homepage.

Topographie des Terrors
The entrance of the indoor exhibition

The museum Topographie des Terrors deals with the German institutions of terror that organised the Holocaust. The ground itself was used by even these institutions: The former Secret State Police Office (Gestapo), the leadership of the SS, their Security Service (SD) and from 1939 the Reich Security Main Office.

More than 17 million people, more than 6 million of them Jews, were murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War between 1933-1945. The focus of the museum is taken on the crimes which were committed across Europe by the central institutions of the SS and police in the Third Reich. The museum is located in Kreuzberg and has an exhibition indoors as well as open air. But you will also find a long piece of the former Berlin wall along the museum.

Free audio guide and tours

The museum is mainly a lot of white boards with background information, quotes and historical photos but also old documents. You can get a free audio guide or use your own smartphone to guide you through the museum. I would highly recommend listening to the audio guide. It is available in 17 languages and takes approximately one hour. You can also take part in a guided tour which will be also free of charge.

Why you should visit the museum:

I think this museum should be on your bucket list if you visit Berlin because it is so important to never forget what happened not too many years ago here in Europe and especially in Germany. It shows us where racism can lead us. It also reminds us how important it is to not forget about the people who were killed during the war. Especially now, that the last contemporary witnesses and holocaust survivors die, it is important to not forget about the crimes against humanity they were put through.    

More information
The current special exhibition of February 23

Besides the permanent exhibition, there is also another room with a special exhibit.

If you want to know more about the Nationalism and Holocaust, you can also visit Sachsenhausen, a former concentration camp in Oranienburg. Nowadays it is a memorial and museum and is free of charge.

Prices and how to get there
💰 Admission to the museum is free.

📍 Niederkirchnerstraße 8 in 10963 Berlin

🚌 You can take the U2 or S1, S2, S25, S26 to the station Potsdamer Platz or U6 to Kochstraße or the S1, S2, S25, S26 to Anhalter Bahnhof.

Find more information about the museum on its official homepage.

Urban Nation
The current exhibition in 2023

The Urban Nation Museum for urban contemporary art was founded in September 2017 in Berlin-Schöneberg. Not only the exhibitions but also the housing facades are changing approximately every two years. Therefore there is actually no permanent exhibition. The museum enables a deeper look into urban art, its history, artists, and techniques. The focus is usually taken on up-to-date political and cultural topics. So does the current exhibit Talking & other banana skins which brings together artists from all over the world to get in dialogue with each other. What I love most about the museum is its creative way of bringing contemporary art and modern topics together.

Murals all over Berlin
Mural by Deih XLF

The Urban Nation initiative supports the exchange with the neighbourhood of Berlin – not only in its own museum walls but also with the project One Wall. The idea is to bring five artists to Berlin every year to repaint old house walls and create a colourful Berlin.

Prices and how to get there
💰 Admission to the museum is free.

📍 Bülowstrasse 7 in 10783 Berlin

🚌 You can take the U1, U2, U3 or U4 to the station Nollendorfplatz.

Find more information about the museum on its official homepage.

Berlin Global
The first room of Berlin Global

The exhibition Berlin Global of the Stadtmuseums Berlin (City Museum Berlin) is one of several in Humboldt Forum. It shows Berlin from many different perspectives in the matter of history from wars to the fall of the wall or in terms of culture and music. The glamorous golden Twenties and reunification of the country are just as much a part of the city’s history as the Holocaust and the colonialization. The exhibit offers a lot of different topics which results in the fact that some subjects can be only touched on superficially – But what I think is way more important, it gives you a lot of thought-provoking impulses and the drive to learn more about it. Berlin Global also shows you how many topics are connected and influence each other – for better or for worse.

Take your own part

The exhibition is colourful, varied and gives its visitors the opportunity to interactively shape their visit themselves. In the beginning, you will receive a bracelet that allows you to take part in surveys, which often raises a dilemma: Are borders here to protect you or do they exclude you? Are you ready for change or do you prefer to protect what you already have?
In the end, you can have your decision evaluated to get your personal result. Tradition, freedom, security or equality – which is your greatest asset? Mine were freedom and equality.

Funerals and disco fever
Burial of affordable rents

One of my personal highlights is the installation Begräbnis bezahlbarer Mieten (Burial of affordable rents) by the artists’ collective Rocco and His Brothers. The rent grave was built on a street corner in Berlin-Kreuzberg in 2016 and laments the rising rents in the district becoming unaffordable for the people living there. The topic became even more up-to-date with the increasing rents in recent years.
My other highlight is half huge walk-in disco ball. Mirrors, lights and disco music of different musical areas and genres make you (or at least me) dance and just enjoy Berlin. Overall I loved being so active in the exhibition and exploring the seven theme rooms with completely different stories and focal points. 

Prices and how to get there
💰 The exhibition costs a 7 EUR (7.40 US$) entrance fee but is free for students and pupils. You can also visit it for free on the Museums Sunday.

📍 at Humboldt Forum, Schlossplatz in 10178 Berlin, first floor

🚌 You can take the U5 to the station Museumsinsel.

Find more information about the museum on its official homepage.

You have read the blog post Free admission to Berlin’s best museums on My Travel Journal-Blog.

Little Stories of Berlin  – Short stories, curiosities, and trivia

Little Stories is a category I started on my Instagram channel and where I post short stories, curiosities or trivia. Here you can find all posts about Berlin. #littlestories

#9 Colourful Berlin

What do we love more than colour on grey winter days?

You can find the cutest and most colourful houses at Gartenstadt Falkenberg in Berlin. The housing estate is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and was created by Bruno Traut between 1913 and 1915. All houses have different colours, patterns and were differently designed. Berliners call it Tuschkastensiedlung which literally translated means paint box settlement which also illustrates the many different and strong colours you will find there. The beautiful front yards bring even more colour to the picture.

If you want to visit Gartenstadt Falkenberg just take the S-Bahn to the station Berlin-Grünau.

📍 Gartenstadtweg in 12524 Berlin-Bohnsdorf

 





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Guide geteilt von My Travel Journal-Blog (@mytraveljournalblog)

You have read the blog post Little Stories of Berlin  – Short stories, curiosities, and trivia on My Travel Journal-Blog.

Schwerin – a day trip from Berlin

The castle of Schwerin

Only 2.5 hours takes the train ride from Berlin to the state capital of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. A town that is often forgotten and somewhat underestimated. Schwerin convinces with its charm and its architecture, such as its famous castle, its old town, and its proximity to the Baltic Sea.

Schwerin is one of these cities which turn out to be a nice surprise when you visit it. We did not really expect too much when we planned our visit but in the end, it convinced us with its charm and beauty. It has a really pretty old town and of course, its wonderful castle which characterizes the cityscape. You can find the palace in almost every picture if you google Schwerin. Palace Schwerin is located on an island surrounded by the same named lake. Therefore you can explore it eighter way from the water by renting a boat or taking a long walk around.

💡 Facts about Schwerin

Schwerin is the state capital and second biggest city (behind Rostock) of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania (in German: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). It is located in Northern East Germany, approximately 225 km (140 miles) from Berlin. In the other direction, the seaside is not far. Schwerin is only around 30 km ( 19 miles) away from Wismar, a city directly located to the Baltic Sea. Therefore it is a perfect destination for a weekend or even a day trip.

Strolling through Schwerin
Schwerin Cathedral of the Old Town

You do not need a map, Schwerin is small and can be easily discovered on foot. The city also offers signposts to help you to orientate yourself. One other clue is the conspicuous tower of the Schwerin Cathedral which rises 117.5 metres (128 yards) above the old town.

Visit Castle Schwerin

The Palace Schwerin was the seat of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Nowadays the palace is not only a historian but also a political place. Since 1990 it has been used as the home of the parliament of the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The other side of the castle is a museum and can be visited by tourists. The entrance fee is 8.50 € (8.25 USD) but also offers a discount. Children (under the age of 18 years) have free admission. The park and gardens are also open to the public and can be visited for free. I would definitely recommend taking a walk around the castle.

🚌 How to reach Schwerin from Berlin by public transport
Schwerin is easily reachable by (regional) train or bus.

From Berlin, you can take RE2 in the direction of Wismar, it takes approximately 2:30 hours. The trains leave from many stations, including Berlin-Spandau, Zoologischer Garten, Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Hbf), Friedrichstraße, Alexanderplatz, Ostbahnhof and Ostkreuz. You can find all connections on the official page bahn.de.

If you want to go by bus, you can use for example the bus company Flixbus. They usually offer one direct ride a day which takes around 2:45 hours. Typically the bus is leaving from Berlin ZOB (close to Messe Nord/ICC).

Click here to find more blog posts about other weekend and day trips in and around Berlin.

You have read the blog post Schwerin – a daytrip from Berlin on My Travel Journal-Blog.

Berlin’s best spots for the Cherry Blossom-season

Cherry Blossom in Berlin

What the cherry blossom season in Berlin has to do with the Cold War, how Japan was involved in planting the trees, and where to find the best spots for the pink sea of blossoms – all of this I will tell you in the following blog post.

Every year between mid of April and the begging of May, Berlin blazes in a pink sea of cherry blossoms. The time mostly depends on the weather and how early in the year it is getting warm. In general, the trees bloom between two and three weeks.

💡 Information about cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms (also Japanese cherry) or in Japanese called “sakura” (桜 ) is the white or pink flower of the ornamental cherry tree and of particular importance in Japan. The blossom of the tree is considered to be the national flower of the country. In Japan, it describes the attributes of beauty, departure, and caducity. In Japanese, it is combined in the non-translatable word mono no aware” (物の哀れ) that describes the bittersweetness of a fading moment of transcendent beauty. The cherry blossom season in Japan markers the peak of the Japanese calendar and the beginning of spring.
The Japanese cherry is only used as an ornamental tree in contrast to cherry trees that are planted for the actual fruit.
A present from Japan

Germany received the cherry blossom trees in 1990 as a gift from Japan. East and West Germany celebrated their reunification on the 3rd of October. Therefore, the Japanese TV broadcast TV Asahi started fundraising for the planting of some cherry blossom trees. They received enough money for more than 9,000 trees, most of them were brought to Berlin.

Exchange of spies during the Cold War

The first trees were planted at the Glienicker Bridge in November 1990. The bridge links Potsdam (former East Germany) with (West) Berlin and was especially important during the Cold War since the USA and the Soviet Union used it to exchange their spies. Until today, the bridge is painted in two different shades of green and markers the borderline (nowadays it is just the borderline between two different federal states). The GDR (German Democratic Republic, East Germany), as well as the FDR (Federal Republic of Germany, West Germany), painted both around half of the bridge. The part of West Berlin is in a darker green shade. Not only because East Germany chose a slightly lighter green but also because West Germany started painting the bridge a few years earlier and therefore, the weather conditions stained the bridge.

The longest cherry blossom alley of Berlin

More than 1,000 trees seaming the TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenallee (cherry blossom alley) on the wall trail (Mauerweg) between former West-Berlin and the GDR (German Democratic Republic, East Germany). The alley is more than 100 metres (109 yards) long. Usually, there is also the Hanami Festival. Hanami (花見) is Japanese and means literally translated “flower viewing”. It describes the Japanese tradition of visiting the first cherry blossoms in spring and enjoying their beauty. In Berlin, the festival offers a picnic, Japanese food, and a cultural programme.

❗️ Cherry blossom ticker
The city of Teltow in Brandenburg has its own cherry blossom ticker (Kirschblütenticker) to check if the blossoms are already blooming at the TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenalle, the longest cherry blossom alley of Berlin. The ticker is in form of a photo gallery with a current photo of the bud of a flower, renewed every second day during the season. You can check out the ticker here (the homepage is in German).
Cherry blossom meets German history

The cherry blossom trees are mainly planted along the wall trail (the former location of the Berlin Wall) and also marker some Historian places in Berlin. A lot of trees are under the bridge “Bösebrücke” which was the first open borderline between East and West Berlin on the 9th of November 1989, the day of the fall of the wall.

🚌 Where to find cherry blossom trees
📍 TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenallee (Borderline between Berlin-Lichterfelde and Teltow):
Take the S25 or S26 to the S-Bahn station Lichterfelde-Süd, from there you follow the Holtheimer Weg. After around 550 metres (601 yards) you should reach the cherry blossom trees.
📍 Under the bridge Bösebrücke” at Bornholmer Straße (Prenzlauer Berg/Gesundbrunnen):
The Mauerweg with its cherry blossom trees runs directly under the bridge of the S-Bahn station Bornholmer Straße (S1, S2, S25, S26, S8, S85).
📍 Volkspark am Weinberg or also called Weinbergpark (Mitte):
You can reach the Weinbergpark in around 5 minutes by foot from the U-Bahn station Rosenthaler Platz (U8).
📍 Zionskirchstraße (Mitte):
The Zionskirchstraße is just another 5 minutes walk from the Weinbergpark. If you follow the street in the direction of the same-named church you will find an alley of cherry blossom in the middle of the city.
📍 Schwedter Straße at Mauerpark (Prenzlauer Berg):
The Schwedter Straße on the Mauerpark lays between the U-Bahn station Bernauer Straße (U8) and Eberswalder Straße (U2).
📍 Strausberger Platz (Friedrichshain):
The cherry blossom trees are directly at the U-Bahn station Strausberger Platz (U5).
📍 Gärten der Welt (Marzahn):
Gärten der Welt (literally translated Gardens of the World) offer 22 different garden installations. The park costs an entrance fee and is best reachable with the U5 to the U-Bahn station Kienberg – Gärten der Welt.
Click here to visit the official page and to get more information.
There are a few more spots in and around Berlin, especially at the Mauerweg (Wall Trial) where you can find more cherry blossom trees. These are the more famous spots.
The public transport of Berlin is called BVG, click here to find more train connections.

First written on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021, you have read the blog post Berlin’s best spots for the Cherry Blossom-season on My Travel Journal-Blog.

Urban Art in Berlin

Art is on the street – at least in Berlin. Nowadays, Berlin is one of the hotspots for Urban Art in Europe and is used by people from all over the world as a canvas.

The graffiti scene started in the underground of New York in the 70ties and came within a few months from America in the capitals of Europe. In West-Berlin, street art was mostly used by groups which were excluded from the society back then. But already at the end of the 70ties, the interest in urban art increased. Artists explored new techniques and styles. They used the street to leave their messages – very often political motivated – and took part in recreating their city. Especially the Berlin Wall was used as a screen. Urban art also established in East-Berlin however the artists were more limited here since their art had to conform with the Socialistic Realism of the GDR (German Democratic Republic).

Urban Art is the main term which combines street art, graffiti and general art in a public space.

Schöneberg
Urban Nation Museum

The Urban Nation Museum (Bülowstraße 7) for urban contemporary art was founded in September 2017 in Berlin-Schöneberg (free admission). Not only the exhibitions but also the housing facades are changing approximately once a year. The museum enables a deeper look into urban art, its history, artists, and techniques. The Urban Nation initiative supports the exchange with the neighbourhood of Berlin – not only in its own museum walls but also with the project One Wall. The idea is to bring five artists to Berlin every year to repaint old house walls and create a colourful Berlin – a lot of the following murals were also painted by this project.

Bülowstraße

No wonder that the Bülowstraße around the U-Bahn stations Nollendorfplatz and Bülowstraße is full of urban art because this is where the Urban Nation initiative has its offices. The building right on the opposite side of the museum (Bülowstraße 101, corner Bülowstraße/Zietenstraße) was designed by the Berlin-based Ecuadorian artist Roberto Rivadeneira in October 2020. As part of the One Wall Project, he created a metaphor for colliding time periods and named it Because the moment simply is. But also the buildings next to it are covered with street art in different sizes and forms (Bülowstraße 94-98).


Next to the museum, on the same street side (Bülowstraße 11, 12) the works of the two Spanish artists Deih XLF (first photo below, left) and David de la Mano (first photo below, right) decorate the houses. The latter was painted afresh over another work of David de la Mano which was damaged through work on the houses. The artist prefers to draw silhouettes, trees and other monochromatic symbolisms. This also confirms itself in the new artwork. It is named Gray Habit and shows a black and white silhouette of a woman.
Altogether eight murals are at the facades of the houses (Bülowstraße 32) next to the U-Bahn station Bülowstraße. The paintings are from different artists as D*Face, and Word to Mother from England, the US-American collective Cyrcle, as well as Shepard Fairey, and the group Berlin Kidz. The newest is an additional painting of a naked woman with a red glove and a paper bag over her head from 2019. Portraying persons with the just mentioned paper bags in a critical context is a trademark of the German artist Christian Böhmer. His mural Speak Up. Stand Up. draws attention to the violence against prostitutes on the street of Bülowstraße.

Mitte
Haus Schwarzenberg

Concealed in the backyard of the Haus Schwarzenberg (Rosenthaler Straße 39, next to the Hackesche Höfe) does a dream come true for urban art lovers. Here are all kind of colourful murals, paintings, graffiti, collages, and stickers. A closer look is recommended because there are so many messages, drawings and little details hidden. Some of the paintings are changing with time. Besides the art, there are a studio, a cinema, two bars, the museum of Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind, and a permanent exhibition about Anne Frank.

U-Bahn station Heinrich-Heine-Straße

Next to the subway exit of Heinrich-Heine-Straße is the entrance to the rock club Sage. The door itself is hidden through paintings. Sage shares its rooms with the KitKatClub, Berlin’s most famous fetish club. Right on the opposite of the entrance of KitKatClub is the mural Unter der Hand (freely translated: secretly) by the German artist CASE.

Just around 700 m further in the direction of U-Bahn station Moritzplatz (Heinrich-Heine-Straße 36) is another mural called Face Time by the artists Various & Gould right in front of a parking slot. The painting is a combination of the techniques of serigraphy and collages.

U-Bahn station Birkenstraße

The boy with the injured elephant is from the German street art duo Herakut and the two Swiss artists Wes21 and Onur. The mural carries the message As long as you are standing, give a hand to those who have fallen – and was created through the first edition of the Berlin Mural Festival. It is located next to the subway station Birkenstraße (Stromstraße 36).

Friedrichshain
RAW-Friedrichshain and East Side Gallery

A must-see on every sightseeing tour through Berlin is the East Side Gallery (Mühlenstraße 3-100) between the S-Bahn station of Warschauer Straße and Ostbahnhof. The historical monument is the longest (well) preserved segment of the Berlin Wall. In spring 1990, after the fall of the wall, 118 artists from 21 countries painted and decorated the east side of the wall. Most pieces show the Political changes around 1989 and 1990.

The RAW-Friedrichshain – or RAW-Gelände (Revaler Straße 99, next to the S-Bahn station Warschauer Straße) – is one of the most popular places for night owls in Berlin. Besides plenty of smaller clubs and bars around the corner, it is also a perfect spot for street art lovers. The walls exhibit all kind of art pieces. The RAW-Friedrichshain are former rail train halls which are used for an alternative culture project nowadays. It is also the home of the Urban Spree, a small art gallery with changing exhibitions (free admission) but also a location for concerts and festivals.

Holzmarkt25

Holzmarkt25 (Holzmarktstraße 25, close to the S-Bahn station Ostbahnhof) creates its own village somewhere between the districts Mitte, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg. Besides a music school, a kindergarten, and different creative-working companies, it has its own bars, restaurants, and saloon for events. But more importantly, it offers nice spots to chill at the Spree, get a beer from the very own brewery – with the club Kater Blau next to it. The houses and walls of the alternative quarter are full of paintings and art.

Volkspark Friedrichshain (park)

Attack of the 50 Foot Socialite (Am Friedrichshain 33, diagonally across from the Fairy Tale Fountain of the park) is a mural by the US-artist Tristan Eaton. It is influenced by the iconic film poster of the US-movie of the same title from 1958. The painting was also part of the One Wall Project.

Kreuzberg
U-Bahn station Gleisdreieck

Aufstand der Farben (freely translated: Riot of the colours) was a project of Interbrigades e.V. in July 2009. The mural (Luckenwalder Straße 11) covers 600 square metres. It was created by the Latinamerican street artists Shamaniko, Hechiza, Somos and UKI as well as four Berlin artists. It took four months to finish the painting.

U-Bahn station Hallesches Tor and Tommy-Weisbecker-Haus

Next to the exit of the U-Bahn station Hallesches Tor (Mehringplatz 28/29) are the murals Make Art Not War by the US-American Shephard Fairey and Hoodie Birds by the Danish-artist Don John. Both paintings are part of the One Wall Project in 2014. Just a few steps further are two other murals (corner Franz-Kühls-Straße/Friedrichstraße) by Aryz (third photo) and the Spanish street art duo PichiAvo (second row, first photo) which were created during the Urban Art Week in 2019. A lot more paintings are hidden around the corner: There is a housing complex (Wilhelmstraße 2-6) covered in portraits of people with different ethnic backgrounds.

My favourite mural shows an elephant with a balloon in form of the earth by the Berliner artist Jadore Tong. It is on the backside of the Tommy-Weisbecker-Haus (Wilhelmstraße 7) in the background of a basketball court and right in front of the Theodor-Wolff-Park. The house is a self-governing residential collective named after the left-wing extremist Thomas Weisbecker. But also a view around the house is worthwhile since all four walls are covered with art.

U-Bahn station Kottbusser Tor

The Astronaut/Cosmonaut (Oranienstraße 195) is part of the project Backjumps – The Live Issue von 2007. The mural was created with help of stencils by the Portuguese artist Victor Ash. The motif was inspired by the Cold War when the USA and the Soviet Union not only started their arms race but also tried to outplay themselves on space technology. The divided city Berlin was part of this conflict between East and West. This is why Ash wanted to place his painting close to the former borderline. The lettering around is not part of the original but was added later by other influencers. The mural is close to the U-Bahn station Kottbusser Tor. On the way, you can also find the older lady with the pelican and coffee in her hand (Skalitzer Straße 134) – This mural is right next to a coffee shop.

Prenzlauer Berg
Schwedter Straße

The street Schwedter Straße in the district Prenzlauer Berg was repeatedly one of the locations for the One Wall Project. In 2017 the Spanish street artist Deih XLF started with his science-fiction mural (Schwedter Straße 34) where he reflects his introspective of emotions and draws his inner life. One year later the Berlin artist trio Innerfields created another house facade (Schwedter Straße 30) – a cynical observation on digitization and social development. The newest painting links the well-known cartoon character Snoopy with realistic optical illusions (Schwedter Straße 29). The English artist Fanakapan combines two- with three dimensions – a closer look reveals the artist with his smartphone taking a photo as a reflection in the 3D balloon. A little further is the international filling station FIT (Schwedter Straße 261). Not only the petrol station is sprayed but also its walls around. In the pretty side road with buntings is a book store with paintings of a child riding a giraffe and an elephant (Choriner Straße 49).

Other districts
Tegel

The street Neheimer Straße in Tegel is the home of four skyscrapers with eight murals on both sides of the houses. They were painted in different years during the One Wall Project. Some of them are already overpainted by new urban artists – these eight murals are the current ones.
The first one Summer of Peace (Bernauer Straße 133/Neheimer Straße 2) was created in 2015 by the Australian FINTAN MAGEE and is inspired by the children’s book A Child’s Garden by Michael Foreman. Around one month later the US-American twin brothers How and Nosm realised their painting On Tiptoes (Neheimer Straße 6) at the Artpark in Tegel.
One year after, in 2016 followed the mural The Starling (Neheimer Straße 6) by the Dutch duo Collin van der Sluijs and Super A. The paintings of the two artists seem often dreamy and surreal. Their chosen motif symbolizes the strength of a collective. Another mural created in 2016 is Lads are back (Neheimer Straße 8) by the English duo The London Police who use bold colours and simply iconic characters to create positive art. Playing Cards (Neheimer Straße 2) painted by the Italien Pixel Pancho followed a few months later. Typical for the artist is his work with earthy colours and robot-like figures.


In 2019 the female Swiss duo Queenkong worked in collaboration with the Polish artist Tankpetrol. Their mural 2268miles & Lunchadora Pachamama (Neheimer Straße 4) combines the work Pilot Girl (on the left side) by Tankpetrol with the naturalistic style of the Swiss duo. The latter points out the importance of the mindfulness for nature.
The newest two projects of the Open Wall at Artpark Tegel followed in 2020. The Berlin painter, illustrator, musician and concept artist Jim Avignon created his mural (Neheimer Straße 8) about an adventure in a balloon and the future between uncertainty and departure. The latest mural from BustArt plays with the style of graffiti-pop and comic. Departure (Neheimer Straße 4) is the name of his painting and is a reference to the former airport in Tegel.

Neukölln

This painting was more of a chance find: On the front side of a parking slot (Donaustraße 94-95) of a supermarket is a huge mural with the theme Brave New World.

Charlottenburg

Covered in paintings is the front side of a hostel (Stuttgarter Platz 17) in the district Charlottenburg. The house facade was created by the Irish artist Dom Browne.

One of the oldest murals is the one of the ship Phoenix (Wintersteinstraße 20) from 1989 by the Berliner artist Gert Neuhaus – it is in surprisingly good condition especially in the consideration of urban art as ephemeral one.

Midsommar in Berlin

Thirty degrees, sunny weather, cold beer and girdles of flowers of the head. On the 24th of June Berlin celebrated his Midsommar Festival with a real pole.

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A Scandinavian tradition

Midsommar or in English “Midsummer” marked the summer solstice, it is the day when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. Midsummer will especially celebrate by Northern Europe as Scandinavia and – very especially – Sweden. These countries have a short summertime. However, in the North in midsummer, it seemed as the sun doesn’t set. It is the lightest night of the year. In Scandinavia, people celebrate midsummer on a Friday between 19th and 25th June.

Flowers under the sleeping pillow

This special midsummer festival in Berlin started in 2012. Every year different bands and DJs play music and invite to dance. Furthermore, the organisers offer a flower wreath workshop,  a pole, traditional dances and games. At the beginning of the festival, the visitors can SDC11831create their own girdles of flowers (“midsommmarkrans”). I and a friend also tried our best. However, if you want to create a girdle of flowers, you should be on time. We came two hours after the beginning and had our problems to get flowers and wire. I am afraid, that was the reason why my flowers looked a little bit withered.

Actually, I read about a tradition. It says that you should pick up seven different flowers on your way home. If you put these flowers under your pillow, you will meet your future love in your dreams. Actually, I tried it, however, I can’t remember my dreams of that night. Damn. Perhaps I will give it a second chance next year.

Dance as a frog or play flute

Similar to the maypole the Scandinavians also have a traditional pole, the “midsommarstång”. The people dance around the pole. However, you can also dance without a tree. The midsummer guide of the festival said there are different styles of dances. One is the “Små grodorna”, translated it means something as “The small SDC11871frogs”. The guide says you should imitate frogs (and also pigs, elephants and so on). Another dance is “Vi äro musikanter” translated as “We are the musicians” and the dancing rules for this is imitating violinists, trumpeters and other musicians. Another tradition is some typical games as the egg-and-spoon-race, sack race or the nail driving. Furthermore, in the back of the garden were waiting for a small Finnish sauna (and a bathtub full of ice cubes).

The festival also offers a lot of food trucks and small food waggons. They offered traditional food as Köttbullar, however, also -not so typical for the midsummer – fries, waffles and Brazilian pancakes.

Tickets for free in Berlin

I can strongly recommend the event. I have to confess, I never visit a midsummer festival in Sweden (or anywhere else in Scandinavia), so I’m pretty sure I missed the best midsummer feasts. However, the festival was really nice, the weather was great, it was fun to create girdles of flowers and I and my friends liked the Scandinavian folk music. One little lead in the end: If you want to go to the midsommar festival of Berlin, you should register before because then you will get a ticket for free. If you buy a ticket at the box office, you have to pay ten euros.

Carnival of Cultures

Berlin is a really multicultural city. And this is exactly what the citizens celebrate at the “Karneval der Kulturen” (translated in English it would be “Carnival of Cultures”), every May in Kreuzberg. The highlight of the festival is the big parade on Sunday. 

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Karneval der Kulturen in Kreuzberg

“Karneval der Kulturen” (Carnival of Cultures) is a big urban festival with an open programme for free for four days in Berlin-Kreuzberg. At the festival are different stalls with all kinds of different food and drinks from all over the world and of course also clothes, toys, music instruments, jewellers and other beautiful treasures. The festival has also a green area and many stages, where several artists and musician present their art.

Empanada from a Uruguayan stall

I really liked the little stalls with different food. I was happy to find an Uruguayan stall with Empanadas and Alfajores. Unfortunately, all Alfajores were already sold out, but I was lucky and could catch an Empanada con Carne (with meat). I was in South America one year ago. That was when I first tried Empanadas (and Alfajores) and felt a little bit in love with this dish. Empanadas are baked or fried pastries. They are filled with different meat, vegetables, cheese or others.

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Empanada and Tartes

When I told the stallholders that I travelled to Uruguay on my own a half year ago, they looked really surprised or even a bit sceptical (perhaps because I’m small and blond). Even more, when I told them I took the bus from Colonia del Sacramento (it’s a small city in southwestern Uruguay, only one hour with the ferry from Buenos Aires when you cross the Río de la Plata) to Montevideo. The man looked at me and asked all the time “For sure?”
By the way, the Empanada from Karneval der Kulturen was tasty but not as good as in South America. 

Many guests visit the Carnival of Cultures
Key chains and dreamcatcher
Colourful pants, bags and scarves
Bohemian cakes
The end of the festival was at midnight

Different stalls

The stallholders at the Karneval der Kulturen sell much different DSCN7168