Tag Archives: kreuzberg

Dinner in White. Flashmob. Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt

Dinner in White. Flashmob. Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt

Berlin was my home for 3,3 years. I came there July 2011 after graduation in England and was ready to start a new period of my life. I knew nothing or very little about Germany and Berlin in general, but I was tired of the UK and naively believed this was my chance to start a career.

A year before I moved to Berlin I visited a friend in Berlin. She lived on a vital full of bars, cafes and restaurants Falckensteinstr. and I fell in love with the city immediately. It felt both familiar and new at the same time. It felt like this is the city that never sleeps and this is what I need because I don’t wanna sleep.. I wanted to work hard 5 days a week in a media company and do my own video projects in the spare time. And so I started a German course on my 3rd year of studies, and a year later moved to the German capital with 50kg in my hands, paying a €300 big fine for the overweight in Luton Airport. Honestly, I did not know back then Berlin is such a popular city and that 95% of planes that land here bring whether expats full of hopes or party tourists who won’t even see Brandenburger Gate.

Kreuzberg remained my neighbourhood from the very first to the very last day, even though I moved several times like a proper Berliner, because if you haven’t changed at least three flats within the first half a year, then you are not in Berlin. A typical Berlin flat is located in an old building with wooden floors and a high ceiling, some of them still have coal heating and a stove that takes the 3rd of your 12 square meter room that costs you now €300. When I moved to Berlin, the Neukoelln boom has only started. While some only spoke about it, many others already were moving there, paying €200 for a 25 square meter room.

The first three things you have to get used to are: that Berlin drinkssmokes and parties a lot and everywhere; that friends you had yesterday, might be gone today because it’s a transit city and last, but not least that there is no work. Sitting in a park with a 0,70 cent bottle and a €2,90 kebab is comfortable and cheerful, smoking a joint is legal and relaxing. When there is a party – you don’t have to rush there, because: 1. everything in Berlin starts late 2. if you don’t go there, there are another 105 variants today and tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. With the friends situation I never figured out what to do – whether not to get attached to anyone and be just “whatever” or simply hope that I leave faster than my new friends.. Anyway, the reason why all the friends/expats/people are leaving is exactly work.

I did a 100 different jobs in Berlin. I worked for a paleo restaurant, film festivals, Berlin Fashion Week, creative agencies, model agencies, tourism agencies, startups, art and film projects, production companies, Rocket Internet + I did various freelance jobs and ran workshops on the internship economy. After a month I moved to Berlin I already had my collages presented at the public exhibition. Seems like a lot going on, but all that does not make you financially stable. There is no minimum wage in Germany (even though this shall change soon) and many places offer you black work, which means that no one pays the taxes, and you end up without a pension scheme and most importantly without a health insurance. Having no health insurance in Germany is a tragedy. Yes, you can come with an EU or whatever insurance from your home country, but it still will cost you money OR will cover only emergency. All in all you gotta love German bureaucracy in order to survive.

Berlin is definitely one of a kind. It’s a city of freedom. You can do here whatever you want. Participate in any kind of activities, climbing walls to check abandoned spaces, going to wild, experimental parties or riots, attending tantric or DMT gatherings, having a dinner with your own table on the underground station, traveling naked etc etc etc. See my The Very Berlin Moments blog post.  Whatever you want to try in your life, you can do it in Berlin and no one ever will ask you anything or give you a judgemental look, because here everything is normal or abnormal, but still acceptable. Berlin is a vegetarian city that stinks of urine, beer and weed. Berlin’s true face is “I work at the party”. Because most of the people work in the bars, cafes, galleries, tattoo salons, festivals, shared spaces etc. Startups work hard, but Friday afternoon you already see boxes of beers in the office. Fashion shops in the city centre open at 11am. And even big international companies will end up sniffing coke, because they are young, because the young rule the city. It’s like a big community and in the end of the day it’s just a big party where everybody knows each other. Not that it does not happen in London or other capitals, but here it’s more public and sexual. It’s more dirty by all the means, like New York in the 80s. Creativity for the creativity’s sake, not for the money. I am a freelancer, I pay my rent, but I can’t pay for anything else.

All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard

Berlin is beautiful in it’s own ugly way. It’s grey on the outside, but it’s the most saturated on the inside. Walking the right streets and entering the right doors open up a completely different view on the city. Berlin is absolutely anti-romantic, rough, but very cosmopolitan. Berlin is the city where you can discover something new every day, I’ve gone to random stations and came across with mind-blowing things. Berlin is a cheap prostitute without a health insurance. And yet it is full of talented and amazing people, important and special places. Berlin is the city to love and hate. With all these wonderful opportunities, there is no industry here and respectively no money. Poor artists’ myth has died with the previous century. An artist is also a job not a style of living. 

Bossa Fakata in Berlin.

Bossa Fataka in Berlin.

There are now mainly three work options in Berlin:

  1. You run your own business, and you earn enough to live in prosperity.
  2. You are a freelancer, who is lucky to have clients who pay enough to live in prosperity.
  3. You do a simple job (example: bartender, sale’s person, call centre) and you are happy with €700 – €1000 a month, because you do not care about the career

All these options are a headache, because there is no money in the city and you are in a constant run for the client who pays. Berlin is NOT the city for those who want to build a career. To register a new company you need €1, to make sure your business gives an income, it has to be international. Same goes for the freelancing – locals won’t pay much for your most wonderful design; often they won’t pay at all. It’s a normal practice – work for nothing. Herz lV is not an option. Living on benefits is not an option, because to move out from this city was the option for me. Because working for free was not something I came for. The experience I gained in Berlin is unbelievable. Nowhere else in the world I would have had a chance to do what I did in Berlin. But you get tired from working for free, because working for free is volunteering.

It’s important to understand that there are job offers in Berlin, but mostly internships, badly paid or unpaid. I’ve gone to interviews to find out they have no money to pay. My friends had high positions, but their payment was delayed. I was also told stories when applying for a cafe job a boss would ask:”Do you want to get paid?” It is also important to understand that there is a high competition absolutely everywhere, especially because us Latvians, Polish, Romanians, Bulgarians etc. don’t want to stay in the home country. We increase the amount of applicants for a good position up to 300 and up. But if other cities have well paid options, Berlin mostly does not.. Even IT specialists are paid much less in Berlin than the rest of Germany.

Berlin is a city of change, Berlin won’t be poor forever. The business centres are being built, the clubs and graffiti being removed, even the Wall leftovers.. More than half of my friends have left Berlin, and a few are planning to move out soon. This blog post is also written for those who plan to move here. My advice is – know exactly what you want from the city. If it is just a year for the experience sake – it is a great place, if you think “career” and “family” – this is a sad place. Not being able to pay for the dentist is sad, not being able to fly for a holiday is sad. Berlin is sad during the day and fun during the night.

A few days before leaving for good I’ve filmed the places I have been cycling through on a regular basis. This is Berlin I will remember.

Goodbye to Berlin from Katja Avant-Hard on Vimeo.

Falckensteinstr. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

Falckensteinstr. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

1. To love dogs. I used to have panic attacks, when I saw a dog, and I never wanted to have one myself. Berlin changed it all. From big to small Berlin dogs never bark, never jump, don’t wear a leash and can sit outside the shop without making a move or noise what-so-ever. See for yourself here.

2. That the artist has to know how to sell. You are the product, the marketer and the seller all in one.

3. To love beer. Before I moved to Germany, I strongly disliked this type of alcohol. Now I can tell the tourists what is what. I also learned that your bathtub is your beer fridge for the house party. And if you haven’t drank beer in -10, you have not been to Berlin.

4. That Berlin has the best Zoo in Europe. When you’re sad, I strongly recommend visiting this place, where you can easily spend the whole day.

5. To make the bridge bounce while dancing on it (Modersohnbrücke in particular). Get DJs, get a good stereo system, invite people, make a party, let the heavy cars still go over the bridge, dance like none is watching, make it bounce, feel it!….

6. That unfortunately yoga and being vegan can be fashionable. After several years of living here I got a flock of sheep impression. Because people without reason are trying to do both and are not realising, that it does not suit every body, and both vegan lifestyle and yoga can do harm. Yet on every corner in Berlin you now will find a yoga center and even though Germany has really good meat and lots of farms and farm product delivery options, Berliners are trying to avoid iron and take B12 Vitamin. Dear readers, everything should be in balance. I have vegetarian/vegan friends and I respect them. Find your reason first, and make sure your body agrees with it.

7. To multi task. German classes in the morning, work until 20:00, meeting friends in the evening + contributing to 10 other projects at the same time.

8. To cook crackers and bread without flour and eggs. I worked for a paleo restaurant, where I learned the secret.

9. To cycle in Neukoelln. Neukoelln inhabitants have a tendency to stop their cars randomly in the middle of the street, they also ignore traffic lights which turns a cyclist experience into survival.

10. To travel with soup pots and baking dishes on the underground. Shared food parties is a normal practice here. Great and sweet idea too!

Kottbusser Tor. A part of a university project.  Don't have the name of the author, if you know please drop me a line.

11. That the trash bags can cost €3,50 when they’re bio  supposte to normal ones for €0,59. Recycling is a big thing here.

12. What means an amazingly relaxed big city life. It’s the capital, but there is no stress and no rush. No rush in the morning, no rush in the evening, no rush for the party…

“There just isn’t really this fear of missing out,” Mr. DeNorch said. “You just feel like wherever you’re at is fine. You’re just having a good time.” … “When you want to go out to the club, you grab a beer on the way,” he said. “You can buy some weed on the street so you can smoke a joint if you want to. There’s all these little things you can do here that you can’t do there to get you in the mood.”

“In New York specifically, there’s a huge amount of stress about what you’re doing tonight and where you’re going to be in the city and who you’re going to be with,” said Mr. Ladner, a founder of the Janus party. 

Read full Article on NYTIMES

13. A feeling of blended genders. Berlin is the city where I’ve received the least amount of compliments. In here you forget that you’re a woman, as it does not matter how attractive you look, people seem to not pay any attention, because they like it all: any size and any gender. There are both negative and positive aspects of this, yet this is typical Berlin.

14. That Berlin is a temporary stop for many of us.

“It’s like living in an airport here in Berlin”
Ben Sömethingorother

15. That work and parties in Berlin are like black and white. “…half of all Berliners make under 1500 EUR a month, and a third less than 1000 EUR” (source)

Berlin is the poorest German city, with highest unemployment rate and half of the expats are receiving the job-centre benefits. Berlin is the place where jobs don’t last long. And it’s also normal if you have not been paid up to a year, but then you might want to go to the lawyer. On what really is happening in Berlin and the city’s mayor you can read here.

As about the parties – they are always here: cheap or absolutely free, 7 days a week. On a hot summer weekday all the parks in Berlin are full with jobless people or people who do odd jobs. Berlin parties more than it works. If you are considering Berlin as your next career destination, please think of Hamburg first.

16. That Berlin’s tech startup scene is far behind the Silicon Valley, and that we Europeans are modest in comparison to brave Americans, who can sell an old three-leg-chair without blinking as a brand new one.

17. That bio products in Germany are at least 95% bio, full stop. My research on eco label in Germany you can read here.

18. That a Berliner is a traditional North German pastry similar to a doughnut with no central hole made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top. 
John F. Kennedy‘s words “Ich bin ein Berliner” are standard German for “I am a Berliner”. Mentioned in Len Deighton‘s 1983 novel Berlin Game, an urban legend has it that due to his use of the indefinite article ein, Berliner is translated as “jelly doughnut”, and that the population of Berlin was amused by the supposed mistake. The normal convention when stating a nationality or, for instance, saying one is from Berlin, would be to leave out the indefinite article ein. Throughout the 1980s, the legend was spread even by quality papers and reputable media like The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC or NBC.

A berliner in a box by Dorit Bialer

19. I also learned that giving a birth and remaining skinny is a normal practice in Berlin. The answer to “how?” I still haven’t found.

20. That it is okey to be explicit, naked and have sex in public spaces. Freedom to everyone. Just be yourself. No judgement, no fashion, no boundaries. From train station to night life. Berlin is possibly the most sexually open city on earth, that also makes a stable classical relationship almost impossible. Berlin greets open relationships, swingers, gay/lesbian/transexual, BDSM and other experimental loving methods.

“Ask any straight woman over 30 and she’ll tell you that the odds of finding a committed man in this city are about as high as unearthing the Holy Grail. Is there any hope for the single Berlin female?”

– See more at:

“Men are like toilets. They’re always occupied, and when they’re not – they’re full of shit. Well, welcome to Berlin!”

                                                                                                                           – Emilie

P.O.P Berlin

P.O.P Berlin

Kreuzberg, 1945. Image taken from:

On 3 February 1945 shortly after 11 clock, 937 bombers of the 8th United States Air Force threw 2264 tons of explosives on Berlin. An hour later, it was pitch dark.

There was Exportviertel (export quarter) along Ritterstraße which had a lot of profitable small businesses, and the “press quarter” along Kochstraße was the home for most large German newspapers as well as the Ullstein, Scherl, and Mosse book publishers.

Both of these industrial quarters were almost entirely destroyed during World War II, during the single night.

At least 2,800 people died in the attack, more than 12,000 injured and 120,000 homeless. And this is where we drink and party now…

Russian tanks of the type T34 at the sector border between Berlin-Friedrichshain (East) and Kreuzberg (West).

Berlin-Kreuzberg, Schönleinstraße, 1945

Gleisdreieck 1945

Kreuzberg, February 3rd

der strausberger platz

Bombs over Kreuzberg

Branderburger Tor, Mitte

Image taken from Fiesere Miese FB page

Image taken from Fiesere Miese FB page

Köpenicker Straße 18-20 is a large industrial space. With a Buddha statue in the middle of the yard and Zolando HQ on the corner we bumped first into the people celebrating wedding, and then somebody’s birthday on the beach before we saw the sign “Fiesere Miese 100 metres that way ➝”.

Looking for a clubwe were faced with an inscription PUFF. Old cars, a burning animal head, a red carpet, and the entrance through the bus – that’s Fiesere MieseIt is small in comparison to the famous Tresor and Berghainbut definitely one of the most interesting spaces I’ve seen in Berlin. Stuffed animals, a bathtub with a running water, a wooden barrel for washing hands, tons of old TVs and metal bars are just a few things you can find there.

Sadly it is not one of those places where you can come whenever for a drink. They are open for all kind of bookings, even clothing parties and feasts with white tables for X-mas; which means every weekend is different, and the place does not have a techno label on it. We saw a burlesque performance there which was followed by a minimal-techno DJ. Thank you VAGE and Puresque for having us last night!

Keep your eyes open for their future events here on Facebook.

Fiesere Miese 4 berlin

Fiesere Miese upper bar

Fiesere Miese old cars

Fiesere Miese cars

puff berlin 2

Fiesere Miese stuffed birds

puff berlin 3

Fiesere Miese one of the rooms

puff berlin

Fiesere Miese, view from downstairs

Solmsstr. Berlin

Solmsstr. Berlin

There are hidden streets in Berlin where masters do amazing work making this world a little bit more like a fairy tale. Last week I came across with one of those places -called  Alla Hopp. A small cute working space/shop with hundred of famous faces.

These are puppets who look like Oscar Wilde, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Virginia Woolf and many others. They are being made by graceful Karl Schlarb, a designer and artist based in Berlin. His puppets are made of material, filled with small balls; and surprisingly there is no wire inside, but Karls has his own trick to make them sit and bend the hands. The heads are made from a special thick plastic in order to show all the features of the face.

This is a project which started 3 years ago as an idea to put love for puppets and literature together. So, the puppets got the faces of famous authors. Among them are also Bjork and David Bowie.

Read More

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

This blogpost is not a review on film, it’s a sentimental note about Berlin then and now. How the landscapes of the 80s look today, based on the film “Der Himmel über Berlin”.

It so happens that I live in the yard, where in 1987 Wim Wenders has filmed very important “Wings of Desire”moments – the circus scenes. It is the yard by Hallesches Tor, very close to Friedrichstr. When I started watching the film I did not expect to see the yard I cycle through every day, or Tommy Becker Haus (then – a squat, now – a house project), which famous wall paintings are being regularly photographed by tourists until now.

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

Wings of Desire with Tommy Becker House on the background. Screenshot.

Berlin, Tommy Becker Haus almost hidden in the green. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

Berlin, Tommy Becker House hidden by the trees. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

My house was not even there in the 80s. But the building across the street, with the yellow windows – was (you can see it on the screenshot above). Now it is quite a special feeling to have this view in front of me. After I finished watching the film I thought it will be interesting to compare “then” and “now” with photographs.

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

Wings of Desire. Screenshot.

Tommy Becker House. 21/05/2013. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

Tommy Becker House. 21/05/2013. All rights reserved by Katja Avant-Hard.

The empty yard, where almost 20 years ago was circus, turned into a truly green spot for local kids, alcoholics and drug addicts who come here from Hallesches Tor metro station.

Not only the whole town… the whole world is taking part in our decision.

                                                                     – Marion

On 21 July 1990, ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters staged a gigantic charity concert of his former band’s rock extravaganza The Wall to commemorate the end of the division between Eastand West Germany. The concert took place at Potsdamer Platz. The enormous buildings “grew” within 10 years time and changed the face of the area completely. Now finding the Potsdamer Platz wouldn’t be a problem. 

Former Potsdamer Platz, 1986. Image taken from:

Potsdamer Platz today. Image taken from

Wings of Desire. Screenshot. Hotel Esplanade Berlin, Kaisersaal (the emperor’s hall). Stars like Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo stayed here.

Hotel Esplanade once stood on Berlin’s busy transport and nightlife hub Potsdamer Platz. During its colourful and turbulent history it went from being one of the German capital’s most luxurious and celebrated hotels to a bombed-out ruin lost in the wastelands alongside the Berlin Wall. A section of it still survives today, albeit as a fragment incorporated into the soaring modern complex of the Sony Center.

Berlin! It’s time to eat!

Tomorrow, May the 11th Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg areas will have a special night called 1. Lange Nacht der Kulinarik. High-quality and mostly owner-operated culinary establishments will open their doors late, from 6 pm to midnight. Special prices, a tea seminar, a wheel of fortune, live acts and even more! See the whole list HERE

Some places will have a dress code, in which case you get treated for free!

Partners’ list: clicky

Get you programme and discover new places: clicky

Remember, Berlin in spring is not only about Spargel!

Image taken from:

Image taken from: germanhistorydocs

There is no doubt that there are true punks in Berlin. At least looking at their clothing and life style I see no difference between them and anarchists in the 80s (and I don’t mean all of them); these are the same leather jackets, the same grinder boots and the same sugar iroquoises. They hang around in the same areas of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Mitte, bagging for money doing absolutely nothing, but drinking beer, smoking weed, and going to punk concerts. We are against the system, fuck the system! In fact, I never saw true punks in London, even walking around Camden those punks seemed too clean and too hip. Most of the young generation has lost this feeling of a true rocker, dirty punk lifestyle. I am no punk expert, but when it comes to self expression it is very easy to look silly. But then again the 21st century laughs at us all:”Is it really important to have a message behind your look?” And what is true anyway? So where are the real punks?

Well, I don’t think much of British punks, they’re all soft, and they can’t sing either. Russia has the best punks. They make real ska music, stuff you can dance to. Russian’s a rough language and it fits with the idea of punk being aggressive. (UDO, 21. Berlin) Where do you hang out then?

Well, most of the young kids with their “punk“ haircuts hang out in Potse, a bar in the west, so now we’ve moved on. But to be honest, we prefer it here on Alexanderplatz. We’ve got own patch and we know everyone who comes through here. (Dave, 32, Berlin)

With the great amount of punks in Berlin, it somehow made sense to start a film festival dedicated to those, but not only. Too Drunk To Watch has started in 2012, in the cinema Moviemento, then the same year later also took a place in Hamburg. The festival offers feature films, short films and music videos of the punk scene, including many premieres. And beer for just 1 euro, all in style!

Four days of punk cinema; see full programme here:

On the 10th of May in Festsaal Kreuzberg there will be 3 live acts and a surprise.

And here is the interview about the festival with the organizer Cornelius (in German):

Camden, London. Image taken from:

Berlin: New Year fireworks

When it comes to celebrating New Year in Berlin it also comes to surviving a war. Without exaggeration – Berlin gets very dangerous.

They officially start selling fireworks on the 28th of December,the whole year before that they are forbidden. This is the main reason why the Berliners are discharging to the fullest within the next 3-4 days. They get totally loaded with that shit! They start shooting on the 28th, culminating on the 31st as soon as it gets dark and continue until they drop. Fireworks fly to the windows and balconies, passing by your head and dropping next to your feet. People set the firecrackers on fire in subways and trains – they totally lose control. It gets especially insane in Neukoelln and Kreuzberg. Many families with kids leave the city. Poor dogs get paranoid to death, scratching their bellies against the window sill after 5h jumping.

Today this 2 days old video footage became available online and was widely shared on Facebook because it captures some really scary moments of the New Year’s night in Neukoelln.

At the same time Dubai got a great attention thanks to a special set of fireworks, which you can also now watch online. Happy New Year & save your head!

Slutwalk Berlin 2011. Image by: Gregor Fischer

In the last few days there was a lot of attention in Berlin media to Robert Coleman article published by The New York Times. He has shared his Australian band’s summer experience in Berlin. The band came here for recording an album, and got sucked in by parties and never-ending adventures. Read full story HERE

My comment to this is that it really depends on what money you come here with. If you have a stable income somewhere else, then you certainly do not worry about the rent, when the things will be done and  how many times a week you go out. Berlin seems cheap and cheerful.

I came to Berlin with almost no money, and had to look for a job the very first day. Most of my friends are artists, and seem to be quite productive, having exhibition openings, performances, and other cultural events organised. With very little money I get paid, Berlin makes me work twice harder.

When it comes to earning bread-money with music, you start working your ass off. I’ve heard before that music bands don’t last long in Berlin. Maybe it’s too much of a classical sex, drugs, rock’n’roll scenario? You feel extremely cool and free, get too loose and lose control? Let’s face the fact, once you run out of money and can’t pay the rent – you ask yourself a question: to be or not to be? Yes, to be a Berliner doesn’t mean you can be a doughnut

You need to learn how to survive in Berlin, just like you had to in NY in 80s (yeah, i got stuck there a little). Once you get it, you’re in! Peaches made her career living in Berlin, and now she seems to be more active than ever: releasing a film, singing in an opera, recording a video in support for Pussy Riot and hell knows what else.

But here is Berlin survival kit for you

Berlin is the city for  commoners. Even if you’re a hyp you’re down-to-earth. Even without a language you can survive in Berlin. Berlin is a poor city, but it compensates.

Vegetable battle between Berlin-Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain 2011. Image by: Gregor Fischer


Those two come first. There are still a few “house projects”, as they call them now, where you can live for about 150€ (more or less) per month, including the food, which you get for free( a) there is a deal with markets which once a week deliver expired food to your house  b) you do dumpster diving). You can also be a guest at one of their cooking evenings where a plate of vegetarian food costs 2€!

However, if you are lucky with a small room in Neukoelln, then the Turkish market on Tuesdays and Fridays on MayBachufer str. is the best place to go, fruits and vegetables which don’t look fresh anymore are given away for free. Just ask. And the 5kg of potatoes cost only 0,80 cents! BOLU – seems to be one of the cheapest Turkish stores, where watermelon comes to 0,39cents per kilo (wait for summer), a bunch of spinach 0,35 cents, pack of tomatoes 0,60 or less!

There is a group of nice pople, who once a month in Kreuzberg cook a huge dinner for anyone. It is usually on donation principle. I am not sure they have the name. But they organise it on Falckensteinstr.

Brotfabrik is the place to dig some yummy pastry out! Dive hard!

Last summer we got for free: ice cream (promotion on the streets), Wulle beer (Give Box), sandwiches (at open mic night). Never had any of those items for free before, at least not in this way anyway. My friend also got for free Berliner Kindl (promotion) and a pack of Lucky Strike (promotion). Of course, clothing comes for free too, mostly in Give Boxes. Fleamarket (Mauer Park on Sundays) is a good spot for hunting cheap stuff.

And it is true that beer in Berlin is cheaper than water. Today I have purchased a bottle of beer for 10 cents, and the water costs 15!!!

One of my favorite night places is Madame Claude (Check their events here), you pay for the entrance whatever you can between 1 and 6 euros, and Berliner costs €2,30!!!


YES, there are FREE German classes on Kopernickerstr. 10a, sponsored by EU. The organisation that runs them is called Arbeit Sofort. It does not matter how old you are, and where you come from. The only rule is: you have to work somewhere. They ask you to do an internship, but going through several courses I have realised that most of the people do normal jobs. There is a contract between your employer and the school, but there is nothing more involved. No complications whatsoever. And no, they do not have a homepage. Just pay them a visit between 9 and 12 in the morning.

There are also free German classes on Oranienstr, in Kreuzberg. Check their homepage for more infi:

Public art project in Berlin, Rozenthaler Platz, 2010. Image taken from:


Moved in to an empty apartment? No problem, just go outside and walk down the streets. You can get a nice collection of different chairs, vintage lamps, radios, sofas and other pretty items people leave on the streets for others. There is always eBay kleinanzeigen, ToyTownGermany forum, Expats Facebook page, Craigslist and other online heavens.

Berlin does not get rid of old things, they get reused from generation to generation. Berliners still run very old bikes and use 70s prams, this you WILL NOT see in Riga for example.


When summer hits the town, Berliners party outside. Day and night. If you’re completely broke – collect bottles! Go to exhibition openings, and get free alcohol! House parties is the honest way to go. A bottle of wine costs 1,69! Absolutely drinkable.

Flyer distribution, review writing, photography for blogs are the best alternatives to get to events for free.  You enjoy the show and you enjoy sharing it. And there is always someone basking in Kreuzberg. Music is really not a problem.


Image taken by: Alexander Rentsch

Why paying?  U-bahn controllers often wear a uniform  and they are easy to spot, when the s-bahn workers dress casual. If they catch a fake address abroad also works. Or grab a bicycle, and ride wherever you want; the cheapest one would cost you 30 euros and last at least a year. Just give it some love.


The most painful question, I guess. Most people work in shops, cafes, and bars when their German is not that good. And yes, many of them get paid under the table, that’s why the unemployment percentage in Berlin is really high. There are also plenty International companies running their business in Berlin (Berlin is the city of tech startups). I cannot give you a list, because there is no such, and it would be crazy long anyway.  But you can check:

Here is a list of websites, which I found useful: (jobs at startups) (jobs at startups) (jobs at startups) (create your work portfolio and let the employers find you)

and Craigslist, of course, but it is more of a trashcan really.

WOLOHO mailing list has been quite helpful too.

I should mention that lovely companies like: Spotify, SoundCloud, Ableton and many others have an office in Berlin too.

A VERY USEFUL LINK: “How to find a job in Berlin” @

And let’s not talk about Hartz 4.

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