Finding the GDR in the Supermarket

Back in the GDR, shopping for groceries must have been some sort of adventure trip for anyone coming from the West. Coca-Cola, Nutella, Mars, Nivea? None of those big Western brands were for sale in the former East Germany. Instead, the country created its own brands or continued already existing companies that were based on GDR territory. There were around 700 of them, some pretty much one-to-one copies of famous Western brands, others authentically GDR. A 2012 study found that about 100 brands managed to stay alive in the new Germany – and a lucky few even have a spot in the supermarket.

Central Berlin Shopping
Shopping for groceries in the GDR. Image courtesy of Hubert Link

Continue reading

DRR Limited – the Book that Tells the Story behind Central Berlin

Week after week, we bring you news and other interesting facts about life at Strausberger Platz and in the surrounding area. Today is different. Today’s blog post is about a book – not just any book, but the book, as far as we’re concerned: your one-stop shop for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about CENTRAL BERLIN.
DDR Limited by Stephan Schilgen and André M. Wyst tells the exciting story of the buildings at Strausberger Platz, their cutting-edge architecture and state-of-the-art interior design. But this “Back in the day” aspect is only one part of the story – the other part of the book is dedicated to finding out what happened to the buildings and apartments and how they’re being used today.

Central Berlin DDR Limited
The Book about the Projekt – Central Berlin; Source: Central Berlin

Continue reading

Berlinweh: Why I Miss Berlin as Soon as I Leave the City

Berlin and I haven’t seen a lot of each other in the last few weeks. Within a little more than a month I’ve been to London, the Netherlands and Hamburg. While I was away, I missed Berlin. Traveling is fun, but I love my life and my home. And it’s more than that: I actually missed just being in Berlin. Not just sitting on my couch, walking through the nice neighbourhoods and dancing at good parties, but also the people, the buildings, the Berlin vibe. Let me try to describe what I miss about Berlin – the essence of the city – when I’m away.

Central Berlin Strausberger Platz
How can you not fall in love with that? Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

Continue reading

Wriezener Bahnhof – The Train Station That Turned into a Party Palace

A former train station converted into a public park next to a commercial estate, the Wriezener Bahnhof site, which also houses one of Berlin’s most famous – some might even say notorious – night clubs, typifies urban development in the German capital. Only a few minutes’ walk from Strausberger Platz, the site borders on the Spree river and a residential area.

Central Berlin - Wriezener Bahnhof
Wriezener Bahnhof 2005 source: Andreas Steinhoff

Continue reading