Public Thoughts on Secret (and Not-So-Secret) Places

In this review edition of IFA International, we recap some of the best ideas and places to go in the German capital, given to us during the show by some of those “in the know”.

Stuart Braun, a Berlin-based Australian writer and journalist whose book City of Exiles describes Berlin’s special allure for foreign artists like the late David Bowie, told us how the city really switches on after dark. One of his favourite bars? “Ankerklause is a unique Kreuzberg kneipe (bar) located on the bridge that spans the Landwehr Canal. Marinethemed, with faux sh tanks and a terrace that edges across the water, this late-night Berlin staple caters to a diverse crowd who also like to dance around the 60s juke box.”

Berlin’s Governing Mayor, Michael Müller, believes the once-divided German capital lures visitors because it makes them feel “like they belong”. He adds that IFA attendees have much to discover in Berlin.

“The German capital lures with its cultural wealth, its museums, theatres, the historical memorials and memorial sites. But it is also the free and cosmopolitan atmosphere in our city that makes our guests feel so comfortable”, says Müller. “Tourists say often, ‘We feel at home in Berlin.’ That is a nice compliment because it says that you do not feel strange as a guest, but feel a strong sense of belonging.”

The Mayor adds that everyone should be left to discover Berlin on their terms according to his or her own fate: “Berlin is made up of many cities and every resident swears by their own ‘Kiez’, or neighbourhood. In this respect, I feel particularly comfortable myself in Tempelhof. But as the city mayor I know no neighbourhoods, only my Berlin.”

Meanwhile, Christian Taenzler, spokesman for visitBerlin, the city’s travel marketing agency, explains that Berlin offers roof terraces and beach bars in summer, Christmas markets and shopping in winter, and sightseeing and museums in between: “At any time of the day, every day of the year, there are events, concerts, exhibitions and theatre performances, entertainment and culture. This is why our Berlin 365/24 initiative is so exciting, with a programme 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whenever you come to Berlin, something is always happening.”

Finally, Ortrud Wetheider, Director of the newly reconstructed Barberini Museum in Potsdam, has woken us up to this new attraction: “A new cultural institution is born in Potsdam with the opening of the Museum Barberini, hosted in the reconstructed Palais Barberini, built in 1771/1772 in Potsdam’s historic centre. Visitors will and three temporary exhibitions ranging from Twentieth Century American Art to works by Rodin and Monet. The temporary exhibitions are enriched by major loans from international museums and private collections.”