Tag Archives: Fall of the Wall

On Tour: 25 years fall of the Wall

A quarter century ago the whole world witnessed the most powerful symbol of the end of the Cold War – the historic fall of the Berlin Wall. In many ways it still feels like it was yesterday when a whole army of rusty Trabants invaded West Berlin after the Wall went down, causing odour nuisances amongst the incredulous spectators along the way on a lovely sunday. „Where is the next bank, good sir, I want to collect my welcome money!“ No open banks on sundays though, so most of them had to be content with an extended tour of window shopping. Now, for the anniversary of the fall 25 years later, Berlin has been invaded again – but this time its invaders have thankfully had the decency not to appear in a grey cloud of stinky emissions.

It was a wild mix of of curious onlookers, eager tourists and cheerful Berliners who populated the city throughout the weekend for countless anniversary ceremonies and glamorous celebrations. Naturally, Berlinagenten was right in the epicenter of it all! We’ve done more tours than ever and are super glad this marathon weekend is over. All our guests and tour guides can now proudly say they were part of this historic weekend – bigger than ever, better than ever, united forever!

With a huge variety of events and tours taking place on that weekend, it wasn’t easy for us to decide which to present to you. Here’s our top picks.

Our guests from mac cosmetics were here to experience an extended special edition of our popular Urban Insider Tour, focusing on the fall of the Wall, Berlin’s art scene and aiming to provide a detailed „behind the scenes“ insight.

Since we’re always trying to please our customers with tours that dig deeper into life in Berlin and its history, we started off by paying a visit to our friend Edwin Seth Brown. He’s an international media networker and a well-known art collector – insider knowledge all the way. After he shared his wisdom with us, we hit the streets – with eyes and minds wide open we explored some of the coolest places for urban art Berlin has to offer. Walking down the roads of the cult borough Bergmannkiez eventually got us thirsty and led us to a popular edgy bar that’s opened 24 hours, 365 days a year. The bar creates its own atmosphere – a dark wood interior, numerous antiques hanging loosely form the ceiling, heavy smoke filling the air and not a single sober soul to be seen. We felt a slight jolt of guilt hit us when the bartender greeted us by name, but of course that’s only because we often pass by when guiding hardcore VIPs. Cough cough. 

But then… yes! The memory hit us, we’re here to do a tour. We quickly left the Schlawinchen before getting caught up in the bar’s maelstrom for good. We can reveal this much already: the rest of the tour was awesome. One of our guests left us a heart-warming message on his way back to Paris: 

As I am about to head back to Paris, I would like to thank you for having me and my friend on a tour in Berlin. I feel privileged, blessed and lucky to have crossed your path! You certainly have added interesting nuances to our Berlin tour (and honestly, to my vision of life).“ – Idris Henry

Too kind, really! But not even that surprising, with the rest of the tour still to come. We got a glimpse on secret locations that feature some of the coolest graffitis and of course we had a look at the spectacular light border near the well-crowded East Side Gallery (the last remains of the Wall still stand tall here). The light border consisted of roughly 8000 luminous white baloons along the whole route of the Wall, visually displaying the dimension of division the Wall once brought upon Berlin’s inhabitants. Before visiting an underground museum that we’ve already had the pleasure to introduce Madonna’s daughter Lourdes to, we paid a visit to a real „rockstar“. Well, he’s not really playing music but has definitely altered the playing field of the trendy (sun)glasses scene in the city. Ralf from ic!Berlin showed us around in his glasses manufactory – his brand has already become a cult label.

After the last stop at a trendy vietnamese restaurant (that cooks the award winning best burger in Berlin), our guests felt exhausted but wore a dreamy expression of content on their faces. They had gotten a better view behind the scenes of life in Berlin and its history than many do in a lifetime!

Other tours

So, what else was on the menu for the weekend? Our charming tour-guide and legendary blogger Lollie Barr had the pleasure of guiding two groups from Atlanta and Detroit around the city. Lollie daringly led them through the city’s hidden oases and secret pathways until her feet had worn sore. Our guests were given the chance to not only experience many of the landmarks, but to also hear numerous insider stories about the vivid nightlife, the developing creative scene and had the chance to get an exclusive feel for the city’s atmosphere. Then there was the brewery tour (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like) – 16 norwegians tasted their way through Berlin’s most popular breweries. If the exquisite supply of fresh beer hadn’t played tricks on their senses, they might even have noticed they passed by some of Berlin’s Pink Pillow Hotels.

Wait… what? Pink Pillow Hotels? Surely, this must be an idea that our gay mayor Klaus Wowereit came up with! Close, but no. VisitBerlin invited a group of french media representatives and event managers to stay at one of the Pink Pillow Hotels – hotels that especially welcome gay and lesbian guests. They experienced the city during the anniversary celebrations, with a special emphasis on the open-minded Berlin gay scene. Naturally it was up to Berlinagenten to do the guiding. Our Berlin by Night Tour set the mood for a vibrant night out – originally we wanted to visit just a few selected trendy bars, but of course ended up partying until early in the morning. Berlin, baby!

Last, not not least…

Journalists and travel agents from Japan, Denmark and Israel. After a 5h Urban Lifestyle Tour, we joined sunday’s final night of the anniversary celebrations. After a reception at the legendary hotel Adlon, we were off to the biggest event the weekend had to offer. Exclusive VIP access to the grandstand facing the Brandenburger Tor – it was concert night. Peter Gabriel, Udo Lindenberg, die fantastischen Vier and global super star Paul Kalkbrenner enchanted thousands of visitors with their perfomances, right in front of the historic landmark. Doesn’t matter if you look 25 years ago or today – what unites us in our hearts and spirits always remains the same – the love for music.

Our selection of the best videos “25 years Fall of the Wall”:

Berlin Wall baloons are released for anniversary

Kick-Off: Fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years later

Light border in Berlin: From the ground and from above

Peter Gabriel sings “Heroes” at Berlin Wall ceremony

Huge Party as Berlin celebrates 25 years since Fall of the Wall

25 years Fall of the Wall – Light illumination

Insiders: Berlin legends – Britt Kanja

Berlin always drifts somewhere between left and right, rich and poor, success and failure. We’re a city of thousand faces and maybe the most prominent face over the years has been that of our nightlife. Ask anyone who’s been to Berlin and they will gladly tell you, the never-ending parties are beyond good and evil. Some might even tell you about the many stars and legends that have once shaped the surface of our nightlife to what it is today. One of those stars is Britt Kanja and we talked to her about the craziest parties in Berlin, the meaning of life and the secret of her seemingly everlasting beauty.

Q: Hey, Britt. As you know we have many international readers who might not be so familiar with the Berlin nightlife and its history, so let’s start from the bottom. Could you tell us about the infamous 90° club that you and Bob Young founded in the 80’s?

A: Bob and I were both very life-affirming and full of joy. But no matter where we went, it was never quite what we longed for, so it wasn’t long until we began throwing our own parties. In the beginning it was just a theme party called Tanzstelle in various different locations, but eventually it came as it had to come and we founded our own club, called the 90°. Life was very intense back then. Our parties went on forever, the nights became days and days became nights again. The vision of beauty united us and we were always glad to find like-minded spirits. The kind of people who realized that fame was just a game and you’ll only ever be a winner at it if others win as well. 

Q: You toured Europe as a professional dancer and lived in San Diego for five years before coming back to Germany. Did that have an influence on your idea of giving birth to a new nightclub?

A: I really had a cultural shock when I got back to Berlin in the 80’s! Many people had left the city and others moved in, often from smaller villages. They moved in for financial and political reasons, to study or to avoid being drafted. I studied nutritional science back in the US and I looked like blossoming life itself when I returned, but that really wasn’t en vogue here. It was cool to look sick and broken and walk around with your nose high up in the air, feeding on your own arrogance. So the vision of beauty that we brought to the table was something completely new.

Q: So where did you find your inspiration?

A: Berlin was the gay center of the world in the 60’s and the nightclubs and coffeebars were buzzing with life. When I returned home in the 80’s, it had changed into a city with a very low spirit for community. That was the time I figured that any place I came back to, people rejoiced and told me how everything had fallen apart while I was gone. It was right then that I realized I have always had the gift of connecting people and bringing them together, so founding a nightclub was an easy choice to make.

Q: You must have seen some really, really wild parties over the last decades. Which of them were really off the hook?

A: The style of our parties always was something between genius and chaos. The guests were a mixture of all ages, hetero, gay and androgyne. You know all these bad taste parties people always go to and have a blast? We were the first ones to pull that trick out of the hat. 20 years ago we threw the first „Bad Taste Is Back Again“ party in Berlin and it was mindblowing! Celebs from around the globe joined in. Unforgettable memories, especially since everyone was dressed up like in the 70s, no matter which background they had.

Q: That does sound marvelous. Are there any oth-

A: Wait, I remember an even better party! Berlin, 1995. All the stars and politicians were invited to the unveiling of the Reichstag and half of Europe’s Royalty booked flights to Berlin to become part of this legendary happening. And so we threw an immense party the night before in Café Moskau. The theme was Indian night and all the celebs were dressed up as Indians, turbans and everything. That might be one of the most legendary nights I remember.

Q: So you’re saying Berlin’s most popular public figures got totally wasted and the next day it was off to the historic unwrapping of the Reichstag?

A: Yes, exactly! And just think of it, everyone wearing those hilarious indian costumes.

Q: At the unwrapping?

A: No! At the Café Moskau, the former club-restaurant for priviliged people during the communist era. We were the first to bring back life into the venue after the political turnaround, the fall of the Wall. The army had to clear the place of wiretaps first, though. The place was Honecker’s entertainment „palace“ in the GDR, featuring many private séparées and hidden rooms. I can only imagine what kind of things Honecker did at the Café back then. Hence all the wiretaps! Then we found the biggest surprise yet. The basement was filled with pineapple tins, up to the ceiling. Hundreds of them, no, thousands! What a view that was!

Q: Haha, maybe Honecker was secretly undertaking pineapple experiments in the basement. But enough of the parties – you’re a woman of many talents. What else do you do?

A: I designed a collection for a knitting manufactory, I did the choreography for the fashion show as well as the production of the fashion catalogue. After I retired from working in the 90° club I started studying graphics- and film cutting programs at a media academy and did a traineeship at the Circus of Now. Nowadays I spend a lot of time painting. I am currently working on an art exhibition – each piece consists of three pictures and covers a whole wall and there’s five all together. So far it has me a 3/4 year and it’s not even finished.

Q: That sounds great, you’re still going strong! How did you manage to stay so fit, mentally and optically?

A: Life offers us nuts, but cracking them is up to you. Everyone faces their challenges and some people become desperate over time. That’s bound to make you old, grey and bitter. You’ll only get in trouble if you run away from your challenges instead of facing them and I prefer clarity over bitterness. I’m constantly trying to broaden my horizon and I feel I’m expecting less and less and am able to give more and more. We’re living in tough, exploitative times but it’s up to you to make the best out of it and stay fit.

Q: Truer words have never been spoken! Last question – could we please get an insider tip for a wild night out in Berlin?

A: If you’re a little crazy and tolerant and maybe a little gay, too, then I know just the spot. It’s an underground party called Chantal’s House of Shame and it takes place every thursday. As excessive and uninhibited as it gets these days. There’s a wild mix of gays and heteros and things can go from normal to hunky-dory in a split-second. It doesn’t matter who you are and what you are, everyone’s welcome.

Q: Any last words?

A: There’s hope for humanity. You. It’s in each and every one of us. Fill up the treasury of your beauty. Only when the power of love overcomes the love for power, this world will find its peace.

Thank you, Britt! We wish you the very best and we hope to see you in Berlin’s spotlights for many years to come!