I'm a Berliner, we're all Berliners - in this blog we give you the inside scoop and some of the best local knowledge so you really can feel like a Berliner.
To celebrate the launch of our Berlin City Map , we interviewed some of the city's creatives on their favourite places in the city.
This is Anna, a photographer and art director - you can see her work at annaarroyo.com.
Originally from Barcelona, Anna has lived in Berlin for nearly three years
“What I like the most is the creative side of the city and its people,” she says.
After working in the fields of fashion and design for around five years, she was attracted to Berlin because “the city is a great place to experiment, to meet people and develop yourself.”
“When I think about Berlin, the first thing that comes to my mind is freedom.”
Home to over 180 museums, the longest open air gallery in the world, three Unesco world heritage sites and three grand opera houses, “it inspires me year on year and makes me want to stay."
Anna is also on Instagram - @growlingskies
This is Tom, producer and musician from British band Losers.
Alongside producing albums by Young Legionnaire – consisting of ex-Bloc Party bass player Gordon Moakes and Paul Mullen of yourcodenameis:milo fame – and Berlin-based band Bullet Height, Tom has been busy recording Losers’ third studio album. Due to be released in September, it follows the success of their first two records which have had songs featured in Game of Thrones, Hercules, Chuck, CSI and True Detective, to name a few.
“I have always loved music,” says Tom, “It gives me a voice, helps me vent my anger and comforts and fulfils me. I never made a conscious decision to start writing music and my fascination with it will never end. I would be at a total loss without it.”
Tom works in his studio in a building called Art Traktiv in Springfuhl, which is full of rock bands, techno producers, classical pianists, metal bands, opera singers, woodwind, strings and brass players, and DJs.
“You name it, they're all in there and everyone allows each other to be themselves in a perfect blend of disparate harmony.”
Moving to Berlin was a direct consequence of needing to find a space where he could continue the dream of making music for a living. After touring Europe for many years with his previous band, The Cooper Temple Clause, Berlin always stood out as a place that he’d like to return to - a city with amazing energy that fuels artistic expression juxtaposed with a relaxed, liberal atmosphere; the perfect melting pot for creative individuals and communities.
Now an accomplished Berliner, Tom spends much of his time in Friedrichshain, a place he describes as “very welcoming to the many people here with international backgrounds.”
Here, a good friend runs a Mexican restaurant called Santa Maria East, on Krossener Straße.
His list of recommendations is exhaustive:
“Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzburg have much to offer foodies, including one of the best burger joints in the world called The Bird. Lilyburger on Urbanstraße in Neukölln will also blow the mind of any salivating burger enthusiast. The best kebab in the world can be found at Maroush on Adalbertstrasse in Kreuzberg. To wash it all down, be sure to visit John Muir on Skalitzer straße for a stiff cocktail. And for those who like to travel by bike like myself, exploring Berlin is a joy thanks to all the great cycle paths.”
This is Benedict, Head of Marketing and Branding at Standert - a cycle shop based in Mitte, central Berlin.
Founded by Max von Senger in 2012 whilst studying Industrial Design and working as a bike messenger, Max designed his first bike frame and decided he should sell it somewhere. The company has grown into a cycle showroom, café and now has its own team of riders and apparel. You can see the bikes and put together a custom build at www.standert.de
Aside from a six-month stint working in Hamburg, Benedict is a Berliner born and raised. What Bene likes most about the place David Bowie called ‘the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine’ is the different facets of the city.
“I think what I like about Berlin is what most people like about Berlin,” he says, “You have everything all in one city. That's why everybody somehow feels comfortable here. Berlin is so diverse that whatever you are looking for, you will find it in one of the many neighbourhoods.”
Living in Charlottenburg, working in Mitte and splitting his leisure time between the two, Benedict enjoys the calmer surroundings in Charlottenburg.
“There are less tourists and most of the population are Berliners, but you don’t miss the big city beat.”
There are still many traditional pubs and restaurants, like his favourite Kuchel-Eck.
Photos by Constantin Gerlach / Standert Bicycles
This is Jayne, writer at www.jaynecash.com.
Her love affair with Berlin first began at a young age when she started travelling from her nearby hometown to watch live music; “I guess this was the point where I fell in love with the city.”
Her interest in music has always been present, “My dad has a very big collection of records from the 80s and 90s. I grew up in the Eastern part of Germany and there it wasn’t so easy to buy cool records 30 years ago.”
“There was a fixed day of the week where his favourite record store got new stuff and on those days he would wait for hours in line in front of the store just to buy any new record.”
After spending time in other cities such as Brussels and Hamburg, Jayne always felt her heart belonged to Berlin.
“It’s such a culturally diverse city,” she says, “You live in Germany but it feels like you live everywhere in the world at the same time.”
“It’s the same for the music scene. Bands from all over the world stop in Berlin to play a concert here. There is no place that I know where you have so many bands, different genres and attitudes.”
Just like her father, Jayne loves listening to new music, “If I discover a band that I really love, I want to share it with all my friends.”
This lead to her decision to start her music blog and share stories of new music from Kantine am Berghain or Auster Club with the world.
“Another cool way to discover cool music is to go to Ä in Neukölln on Wednesdays. They organize very small and cosy concerts, it feels like the acts are playing in your living room.” @jayne_cash
Shop the Berlin City Map here.