stranger in Berlin

Berlin, a memorable city which I visited three times till now, once in 1996, once in 2004 and once in 2007. First time with a group friends, second time with a group of architects and the last time with a group of students (lots of fun).

The first time to Berlin we traveled by night train from Utrecht (the Netherlands). Hardly got any sleep, but far more comfortable than going there by bus. we stayed at an hostel at die Osloerstrasse, we saw lots of tourist places. The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (memorial church for emperor William I) at the end of the Kurfürstendam (and a visit to KaDeWe), Hackesche Höfe and of course what was left from die Mauer (the Berlin wall). visited checkpoint charlie and museum, and the Pergamon museum: very impressive.

berlijnse muur

The Berlin wall, the no go area and wall at the opposite side.

The difference between East and West Berlin was still (since the collapse of the wall November 1989) very visible. There were lots of construction sites, lots of empty spaces were the wall has been standing. Alexanderplatz with the Fernsehturm (TV tower) and Weltzeituhr (World Clock) was being refurbished, the Potzdammerplatz was a very large building site around the underground station of the U-bahn (metro) and from the stairs of the Reichstag building you saw lots of emptyness wit a few buildings at the horizon, where is a beautiful park now and new buildings for the government.

berlijn uitzicht rijksdag

View from the stairs of Reichstag building 1996

Later trips made clear that the empty spaces were filled in, history partly washed away, which changes the spirit of the city, but in a good way I think . Berlin is ready for new history! Looking at the beautiful new buildings, making Berlin a very modern city which only is possible because of the past. New monuments were built.

potzdammerplatz_berlijn

Potsdammerplatz before realisation

In later visits, the new Potsdammerplatz, the new roof on the Olympic stadium, buildings from Mies van der Rohe, Renzo Piano, Philip Johnson, Jean Nouvel, and so on. The Jewish museum designed by Daniel Libeskind is a real must see. How he can design a building, wriggling uncomfortably in its place!

berlijn ned ambassade

The Dutch embassy designed by Rem Koolhaas. below the interior with art from Andy Warhol showing paintings of former queen of the Netherlands Beatrix.

berlijn ned ambassade binnen

Concluding on this: Berlin is a city you really should visit. the ‘genius loci’ changed, the city has grown in its advantage! just enjoy the lot, have a Berliner Weiss (beer), and go to the nice and beautiful places!

berlijn moderne architectuur

new modern architecture 😉

 

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