Street Art in Berlin, the European capital of cool

Street Art in Berlin, the European capital of cool

Experiencing the German capital’s famously gritty and rebellious creativity…

Last year I was invited on a short bloggers trip to Berlin, courtesy of airline bmi, and although we met at the airline’s rather lavish Heathrow lounge, The Great British Lounge and were swanking it up by staying at Rocco Forte’s fabulously luxurious Hotel de Rome, the famously gritty and rebellious creativity that the German capital is so famous for is never far away.

Following a particularly long evening sampling the city’s (in)famous nightlife – an hours sleep’s enough for anyone, right? – we were treated to an early morning street art tour – arranged by contemporary art tour specialists, GoArt! Berlin and delivered by a chap called SKAN – needless to say he knew his stuff…

Street Art in Berlin, the European capital of cool

A melting pot of international street art styles…

Probably the first thing you’ll notice is the huge array of styles on show – Berlin’s not a pretty city and, thankfully, the work doesn’t get cleaned up too much, so if you’re fond of wheat pastes, Banksy inspired stencil work or even ‘Guerrilla Knitting’ – yep you heard it right – you’ll get more than your fill. Interestingly, the astronaut piece – by artist Victor Ash – is positioned as such so come nightfall a shadow from a flag at a car dealership across the road appears in his hand…

Here’s a little video that the rather charming Tom Crosthwaite of Travelbite – with whom I shared said nightlife exploits – put together…

Street Art in Berlin, the European capital of cool

Pizzeria with a difference…

Just before crossing the river from Kreuzberg into Friedrichshain, we stopped for a well earned pizza – and much needed hair of the dog – at the rather intriguing Eckstück, a pizzeria cum music/party space that’s also a street art mecca, with its very own graffiti version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The place is a testament of just how important street art is in these areas, and indeed this city – and they serve up a cracking pizza/hangover-cure to boot…

Street Art in Berlin, the European capital of cool

Berlin is still an exciting hotbed for outsiders and radicals…

With artists, hippies and punks moving into derelict buildings in the 70s and 80s, much of the city – and Kreuzberg in particular – experienced the squat movement that continues to wage war with property investors even now. It gives the area a kind of militantly creative feel that’s like nowhere else – fences surround boarded up properties daubed in politicised street art that house communities of anarchists,artists and hippies existing in their own counterculture…

Street Art in Berlin, the European capital of cool

We are not a tourist attraction…

Edgy, vibrant, creative and as much partying as mere mortals can possibly comprehend, Berlin is very much a destination for travellers looking for an inspirational destination that defies the norm – yet, with a recent club night going under the name “Fuck The Tourist Commerce – We Are Not A Tourist Attraction”, are you welcome? The very nature of the locals’ anti-capitalist, artistic psyche is obviously at odds with all that tourism brings so it’s certainly worth considering should you be planning on traipsing round with a bum bag and a DSLR around your neck. If you’re of an arty disposition and have an ounce of street-wise about you then, of course, Berlin is a perfectly safe city. The simple fact is that, much like us Brits, they enjoy a good moan – keep your wits about you and with a little hard work, even 22 years after the wall came down, Berlin can still be the most inspirational, edgy city break you’ll find…

About the Author;

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Editor of We Heart & The Brief

Twitter; @buckhouston

Founder and editor of the award-winning design and lifestyle online magazine, We Heart, and now _theBrief too. Ex-designer, rock star reject, lover of a good party. Lover of all things beautifully designed. Admirer of architecture. Favour eclecticism over minimalism. Equally as happy sipping wallet-stripping cocktails as I am spilling a plastic glass of beer down myself at a sweaty little music venue. Compulsive content consumer. Worryingly short attention span. Dogs not cats.

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