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Berlin is never Berlin

“Paris is always Paris and Berlin never is Berlin.” Opening with a quote migt be a bit corny,  but with this one I simply could not resist as it is just too true to not bring it in. Everybody that has been to Berlin before will instantly understand. Everybody who hasn’t, will understand after reading about the first-year Branders’ trip to the capital of Holland’s neighbour Germany.

 

Words by Hannah Purner.

 

Berlin is always sung about from the treetops and as creative Branders we for sure needed to find out what all the fuzz was about.  Firsty we had to shake off any prejudice about Germany and its inhabitants – No humour? The love of following rules? White socks in sandals? Clearly anybody that believes in these stereotypes has never been to Berlin; these are Berliners! Even their mayor himself proclaimed the now famous Berlin anthem “Berlin: Poor. But sexy” This call rang out loud and clear: Berlin is constantly changing, in resistance to the very notion of anything normal or conformist. It is creative, liberal, individual and runs with the ‘anything goes’ mind-set that simply does not give a hoot if you are gay, straight, student, punk, professional or a freak. Berlin is one giant sea of eclectic, swirling, shaking, skint neighbourhoods surrounding one dull, bombed-out-and-rebuilt-in-commie-concrete centre.

 

Of course its history is impressive, but this city has so much more to offer. One day we  walked 13 kilometres just looking for the Berlin Wall. Despite tired feet nobody complained, because there was simply no time to do so. There were so many little alleys, crazy street art hotspots and abandoned places to be explored!

So, no humour? Just take a closer look at some graffiti and street art and laugh your butt off about some hilarious, but also rebellious pieces. Following rules? If you just look at the activist youth of this city you will e realize that Berlin is everything but a follower of rules. Our guide  told us that in one neighbourhood inhabitants actually set the new Subway Sandwiches store on fire twice because they simply did not want it in their territory. And once and for all, white socks in sandals? This may describe the typical sixty year old German tourist on holiday, Berliners definitely take a flying leap around this one. They amaze with crazy styles such as headphones as belts or like one described herself: “the tranny from the block”.

 

As Paris is always Paris, but Berlin never is Berlin. This visual report  only gives so much of an impression of this always changing city, but are sure worth showing. After just a few days in this city we became fan forever.

This place full of popping graffiti and street art is called ‘The Dead Chicken Alley’. It had its birth during the time period of the Mauerfall. The desire for freedom and breaking the rules led to numerous cultural movements such as a group of young people calling themselves ‘The Dead Chickens’. They bought this alley to be able to freely express ideas and messages. Photo by Marie Van Puyenbroeck.

This place full of popping graffiti and street art is called ‘The Dead Chicken Alley’. It had its birth during the time period of the Mauerfall. The desire for freedom and breaking the rules led to numerous cultural movements such as a group of young people calling themselves ‘The Dead Chickens’. They bought this alley to be able to freely express ideas and messages. Photo by Marie Van Puyenbroeck.

 

With more and more of their cafes and restaurants coming into existence, Backstube Schiller proves to be successful with their four principles: self-made, regional, fresh and ‘long live diversity!’ They truly live up to their name giver poet Friedrich Schiller’s saying “Only the cheerful, only the peaceful soul, bears the perfect”. Photo by Hannah Purner.

With more and more of their cafes and restaurants coming into existence, Backstube Schiller proves to be successful with their four principles: self-made, regional, fresh and ‘long live diversity!’ They truly live up to their name giver poet Friedrich Schiller’s saying “Only the cheerful, only the peaceful soul, bears the perfect”. Photo by Hannah Purner.

Right before these fashion students went even more crazy: Voo Store in Kreuzberg. It is an exploration of modern design, visual culture and the future of luxury retail combined with an in-house café. The store has its focus on a selection that becomes a possession for life and serves more the longevity within design as opposed to short-lived trends. Photo by Yasmine Hilhorst.

Right before these fashion students went instantly crazy: Voo Store in Kreuzberg. It is an exploration of modern design, visual culture and the future of luxury retail combined with an in-house café. The store has its focus on a selection that becomes a possession for life and serves more the longevity within design as opposed to short-lived trends. Photo by Yasmine Hilhorst.

Art can be very interactive, as shown in this shot of a camera and a TV. Most of us kept referring to it simply as “surveillance”, but there was more to it. Taken in the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum. Photo by Leonie Miller-Aichholz.

Art can be very interactive, as shown in this shot of a camera and a TV. Most of us kept referring to it simply as “surveillance”, but there was more to it. And yes, this was indeed taken in the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, after a visit to Voo Store – the happiness lasted. Photo by Leonie Miller-Aichholz.

What do a light bulb, a lemon and a happy AMFI student have in common? They shine in brightly! A creative Brander always keeps a watchful eye for the beauty in the everyday life. Photo by Lucas Yiu Ka Yam.

What do a light bulb, a lemon and a happy AMFI student have in common? They shine in brightly! A creative Brander always keeps a watchful eye for the beauty in the everyday life. Photo by Yiu Ka Yam.

 

 

 

These high-rise bunkers in the Humboldthain Park still exist as they could not be blown up after the war to not ruin the train racks next to it. Today they are visited by joggers that give themselves a challenge by running up the hill or by creative heads to take pictures. Photo by Lukas Schwering.

These high-rise bunkers in the Humboldthain Park still exist as they could not be blown up after the war to not ruin the train racks next to it. Today they are visited by joggers that give themselves a challenge by running up the hill or by creative heads to take pictures. Photo by Lukas Schwering.

If you are a vegan, Berlin is the perfect city for you. For once everybody that tries to eat no-animal products will be one happy little human, because the offer has no end. And enjoying a smoothie and a lovely piece of vegan cake on a rooftop terrace does not sound too shabby either. Photo by Hannah Purner.

If you are a vegan, Berlin is the perfect city for you. For once everybody that tries to eat no-animal products will be one happy little human, because the offer has no end. And enjoying a smoothie and a lovely piece of vegan cake on a rooftop terrace does not sound too shabby either. Photo by Hannah Purner.

Gloomy weather never stopped anybody from having a little photoshooting – even if the studio/hostel room had very small dimensions. Photo by Lisa Licht.

Gloomy weather never stopped anybody from having a little photoshooting – even if the studio/hostel room had very small dimensions. Photo by Lisa Licht.

What is Berlin without a walk along the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, The East Side Gallery. Many of the artworks by international artists on this concrete canvas are regularly updated by civilians, as the exclamation against Trump shows. Photo by Hannah Purner.

What is Berlin without a walk along the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, The East Side Gallery. Many of the artworks by international artists on this concrete canvas are regularly updated by civilians, as the exclamation against Trump shows. Photo by Hannah Purner.

This shop redefines the term of ‘vintage shopping’. For most students some high end vintage is almost impossible to acquire, but the store ‘Good Things Will Happen Soon”’ makes quality vintage and jewelry available for an affordable price – every small-budget-fashion-lover’s dream. Photo by Lisa Licht.

This shop redefines the term of ‘vintage shopping’. For most students some high end vintage is almost impossible to acquire, but the store ‘Good Things Will Happen Soon”’ makes quality vintage and jewelry available for an affordable price – every small-budget-fashion-lover’s dream. Photo by Lisa Licht.

A typical activity for a regular Amfi student in her natural habitat. Photo by Anouchka Gauthier.

A typical activity for a regular Amfi student in her natural habitat. Photo by Anouchka Gauthier.

“The values of a brand are reflected in everything they do” is what Branders are told almost every day. This little restaurant definitely is a good example for that. ‘Klub Kitchen’ shows their love for fresh, homemade and healthy food in their interior as well; customers refer to it as a clean, earthly-coloured “find-yourself-spa” with a bunch of greenery. Photo by Lisa Licht.

“The values of a brand are reflected in everything they do” is what Branders are told almost every day. This little restaurant definitely is a good example for that. ‘Klub Kitchen’ shows their love for fresh, homemade and healthy food in their interior as well; customers refer to it as a clean, earthly-coloured “find-yourself-spa” with a bunch of greenery. Photo by Lisa Licht.

Of course we also had to check out Berlin’s famous Techno scene. Having no personal experience with this genre whatsoever, walking into ‘Tresor’ was like entering a whole new world, almost like being on another planet. An experience not to be forgotten. Photo by Hildward Werleman.

Of course we also had to check out Berlin’s famous Techno scene. Having no personal experience with this genre whatsoever, walking into ‘Tresor’ was like entering a whole new world, almost like being on another planet. An experience not to be forgotten. Photo by Hildward Werleman.

The RAW Area is an alternative cultural place that shows that everything commercial is not welcome here. It is grey and colourful at the same time, due to bedraggled buildings decorated with exciting street art. Being in this area, whose future is uncertain these days, feels like strolling around on an unknown planet. Photo by Hannah Purner.

The RAW Area is an alternative cultural place that shows that everything commercial is not welcome here. It is grey and colourful at the same time, due to bedraggled buildings decorated with exciting street art. Being in this area, whose future is uncertain these days, feels like strolling around on an unknown planet. Photo by Hannah Purner.

There is not much more to say about this image but this: Doesn’t it totally give you the Berlin vibe? Photo by Lukas Schwering.

There is not much more to say about this image but this: Doesn’t it totally give you the Berlin vibe? Photo by Lukas Schwering.

 

Spotted: A typical Amfi student in her natural habitat. Photo by Anouchka Gauthier.

What would an Amfi student in Berlin be without taking an enormous amount of fashionable pictures that could almost go into a magazine. What can you say, we would definitely fit into the Berlin lifestyle. Photo by Anouchka Gauthier.

All cultural and creative aspects aside, this trip had one major experience that was very important: As cheesy as it may sound, it gave us the opportunity to grow closer together. Photo by Anouchka Gauthier.

All cultural and creative aspects aside, this trip had one major experience that was very important: As cheesy as it may sound, it gave us the opportunity to grow closer together. Photo by Anouchka Gauthier.

Translated into English this sign saying „Wish for everything“ was spotted on the rooftop terrace of the Shopping Centre “Bikini Berlin”. In combination with more sayings in other languages as well, these signs sent out the positive and encouraging vibe Berlin is known for. Photo by Hannah Purner.

Translated into English this sign saying „Wish for everything“ was spotted on the rooftop terrace of the Shopping Centre “Bikini Berlin”. In combination with more sayings in other languages as well, these signs sent out the positive and encouraging vibe Berlin is known for. Photo by Hannah Purner.

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