18 Mar Atelier in Berlin
Atelier // Alexander von Wiedenbeck – Berlin
Oh my beautiful Berlin, how fond I have grown of you! I must confess, I was not taken by the German capital at all 17 years ago. Back then, it all just seemed pretty dirty to me, there were scary figures running around the streets and apart from Potsdamer Platz, which had already been completely renovated back then, the rest of the city resembled one big ghetto… at least from the perspective of a young lad who had spent his youth up until then in a very sheltered corner in the Bavarian province.
My first visit certainly did not leave behind a positive impression, but I nevertheless was once again drawn to this, how shall I describe it… constantly changing city a few years later. This then continued over the next few years with my path taking me North time and time again with increasingly shorter gaps in between until… yes, I decided I wanted to spend my life, or at least part of it, here in Berlin. And once this thought had entered my head, nothing could stop me from looking for a suitable location for a small atelier… somewhere to work, take photos but also where I could feel at home.
This search was by no means easy and not every change in Berlin is for the better. The property market in particular clearly appears to be developing for the worse, at least from the perspective of a “true” Berliner… and I definitely did not want to be one of these “wannabe” Berliners who fall for inflated property prices and further exacerbate the situation.
And so I searched and searched… it took much longer than a year. My path took me to almost all the areas of the city, from Kreuzberg to Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg, via Neu-Köln as far as Charlottenburg… the result in the end surprised even me, as I hadn’t even considered this neighbourhood at the start until two friends originally from Berlin said to me, “do it, this is the real Berlin, it has charm” – MOABIT – once a disreputable part of town as a result of the prison situated smack bang in the middle, Moabit is only just starting to turn around. New shops, bars and restaurants are cropping up almost every day. The refurbishment of public spaces is progressing steadfastly and you can already walk home through the numerous green spaces and parks without any worries or an anxious shiver today, even at night. And at the same time it is not even losing a tiny bit of its charm yet and I can confirm without any hesitation, it inspires me. Many a person might think I’m mad to make this statement… but it’s true, the quiet side streets, little cafés on the corner… the market hall… the friendly but megalomaniac Turk from my regular kebab shop… the authentic Berlin taxi driver who still tells you today, almost 30 years after reunification, that Berlin used to be divided once (just in case you didn’t know)… all in all a fantastic place to work and live.
Could I possibly put down roots in Berlin? No, surely not, I am too at home all over the world… I am certain that my path will take me onto somewhere else again… and yet beautiful and dirty Berlin will always be a special piece of home to me!