Life at Central Berlin – The Best of Daphne Damiaans

The historic architectural ensemble at Strausberger Platz has been the home for our blog author Daphne after winning the Central Berlin Apartment Lottery in 2015.

The conditions of participation:
“It’s taken for granted that you’re a fan of Berlin, and that you’d love to live here. So, tell us why Strausberger Platz is where you belong. What qualifies you? What talents do you bring? What do you normally do in life? We want to be sure that, like Berlin, you are dynamic, creative, unconventional, communicative, networked and cosmopolitan.”

The prize:
Living rent-free for one year in the heart of Berlin.

27-year-old Daphne Damiaans from Haarlem won our lottery and in the end it has been two years, that she was living rent-free at Strausberger Platz – blogging about her life in Berlin. In her posts, she shares her impressions and experiences as well as the fruits of her research into East German history, architecture and culture.

Read on for a ‘Best of’ compilation of Daphne’s 10 most popular posts, which you have shared, clicked, liked and commented the most!

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A custom-made version of Berlin

Now I’d like to think that my friends simply miss me a lot and would do anything to be near me, but something tells me that I wouldn’t have to change the sheets of our sleeping couch so often if we’d moved to, say, Duisburg. You can divide the Dutch into two groups: those who are madly in love with Berlin and those who have never been there ‘but have always wanted to go’. Both of those groups know we have a guest room in one of the most central parts of the city. And they want to use it.

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Taking a photo at a Photoautomat – always a good idea

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The many surprises of Berlin

A girl I know, as Dutch as can be, moved to China a few years ago. Her boyfriend was Chinese and I’m sure she had visited him a few times before actually moving her whole life eastwards, but still I can’t even imagine how many struggles she’s had to overcome while trying to build a life on the other side to the world. Compared to that, Germany and the Netherlands are the same country –even the language isn’t that different. Still, in the two months that I’ve been living in Berlin, I noticed that when it comes to cultural and everyday differences, the devil is in the details. So for all the Berliners who have no idea how special they are and for all the non-Berliners who have no idea what it’s like to live in this city: here’s my short overview of all the surprises that came (and still come) with living in Berlin.

image courtesy of Anweber /

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Strausberger Platz – Berlin’s Hipster Square

Strausberger Platz wouldn’t be Strausberger Platz without its fountain. During winter it might be possible to overlook it, but in summer it is indisputably the pounding heart of the square. Not only does the water spray meters high, but if the sunlight is coming from the right angle, you’ll see rainbows and if the  wind is blowing from the right direction, there is a mist of water floating all over the square. Yes, I’ve been observing the fountain very closely. I’ve also seen people sitting on the fountain’s edge or picnicking in the grass in front of it. A bit weird, I thought at first.

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The most beautiful fountain in Berlin

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