1st WG: "Place of Longing Berlin"
On 10 September 2019 the first Berlin-WG met in Mitte. Together with Joab Nist (Notes of Berlin) and a colourful mixed group of Berliners it was analysed and discussed why Berlin is portrayed as a "place of longing" by numerous people all over the world.
Who were the WG residents on 10 September?
- Mark, entrepreneur
- Kevin, database specialist
- Sebastian ("Schere"), bassist of the band Die neue Sachlichkeit
- Carol, Project collaborator
- Masha, Influencer, Blogger
- Christian, Network Berlin helps!
What was discussed at the WG table?
At the first Berlin-WG, newcomers met urban Berliners, an influencer met an entrepreneur and a bassist met a refugee network initiator. What connects these different characters with the city of Berlin? This question, based on a "note" from the blog Notes of Berlin, opened the first round of discussions, moderated by Joab Nist.
"To have to leave Berlin feels like to leave the love of life" - this feeling of solidarity and longing for Berlin has probably already been felt by many people, including Joab, who visited Berlin from Munich and then moved here a short time later. Why do so many people come to Berlin? What is the fascination of this city? Above all, keywords such as freedom, honesty, diversity, variety, communication, endless possibilities, courage and openness shaped the further conversation.
Carol from Italy, for example, describes that it is a special feeling when you are in Berlin for the first time: a feeling that you are at home. For them, Berlin is a great love. Masha, an influencer, also fell in love with shocks when she was young. On her first visit to Berlin, she felt really alive for the first time. She also believes that everyone can feel at home here, all you have to do is find the right neighbourhood for yourself.
Joab then asked the Urberliners why they were still in Berlin.
For "Schere", Berlin has always been part of his life, but in the meantime he is also drawn to other cities. Berlin has changed a lot in the last ten years in which he has lived here, he says. He misses the alternative cultural circle, which in his opinion has already declined considerably in recent years. Berlin has established itself over the years and he lacks spontaneity.
Kevin finds that every type of person - whether individualist or collectivist - fits into this colourful, diverse city, which is comparatively unattractive to him only in winter.
Mark has moved back to Berlin because he has missed the feeling of living in a big city while at the same time having the opportunity to find his own private space. In his opinion, Berlin has always fascinated artists, the independent scene and start-ups. Mark loves Berlin unconditionally and in all its facets, because he is a great friend of different cultures, exchange and freedom.
The diversity and the possibilities are for some the charm of Berlin and for others an overload, Christian says. In Berlin, you have a large choice, but you still have to be able to decide. For some this is an expression of freedom, for others it is too much.
Berlin consists of numerous neighborhoods where you often have your own baker, butcher and laundry of confidence. A kind of village character emerges, although you are in the middle of a big city. Is it at all possible to develop an all-embracing "Berlin feeling"?
Christian believes that Berlin has a basic consensus, in diversity and openness. For Kevin, Berlin is the most anarchistic capital. Mark agrees and thinks that this reflects exactly what people think they can find in Berlin. Joab also notes that Berlin has a different cityscape than other metropolises, so that his work with the "Notes of Berlin" is only really possible here. In Berlin, it's part of one's attitude to life to simply leave a message somewhere.
In an anecdote, Mascha tells how other people react when they learn that you live in Berlin: a foreign acquaintance has already observed several times that Berliners directly name Berlin, that Munichers name Bavaria as their place of residence - but that people from other German cities only talk about Germany in general. For Mascha, Berlin was like an island. Berlin was a different Germany. Berlin simply stands for itself.
What do the WG visitors want for the next ten years from or for Berlin?
With this question the participants sum up the first WG discussion.
The "scissors" think it is important that the free space in Berlin should be preserved, at best even more should be created. Carol hopes that Berlin will give her the opportunity to grow old here. In Berlin, Christian's tolerance, creativity and madness should be preserved. Kevin hopes that the possibility of self-realization will be preserved and that the voice of the city will be listened to more. In Masha's vision, the future of Berlin should give more space to creative people and promote them. Mark's wish is directed at Berliners: All those who feel like Berliners should keep their hearts on their tongues. They should perceive the paradise in which we live here and celebrate the city in which we live.
We thank all participants for their honesty and lively exchange.
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