9 November 2019 marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Book your train journey to Germany’s capital to take part in the city-wide celebratory events.
This November marks 30 years since the Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall with concerts, screenings, workshops and open-air exhibitions taking place in and around Berlin between 4-10 November. The highlight of the week is a large-scale concert at Brandenburg Gate on the night of 9 November, the date the Wall came down. Here are some of the best places to visit in Berlin to commemorate the Berlin Wall anniversary.
The Berlin Wall Memorial
The Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer) stretches 1.4km along Bernauer Strasse, where the Wall divided East from West Berlin. The memorial stands as a reminder of Germany’s historic division and the countless lives affected by this physical and ideological rift. Visitors can walk or cycle along the memorial, making sure to stop off at the Window of Remembrance, the Chapel of Reconciliation, and the many exhibition stations recalling the history of the Wall along the way.
The Gate’s location meant it stood directly between East and West Berlin and became part of the infamous Wall. In 1987, it was outside the Brandenburg Gate that Ronald Reagan gave his speech, urging Gorbachev to “Tear down this Wall.” When the Wall finally fell in 1989, the Gate reopened and became a standing symbol of a new, healed Germany. For the anniversary celebrations, head to Brandenburg Gate for a large-scale art installation where 30,000 messages from Berliners will float above the Strasse des 17. Juni.
East Side Gallery
The transformative power of art is seen in bright, bold colours on remnants of the Berlin Wall. The grey, imposing wall that once divided the city has been reborn as the world’s longest open-air East Side gallery, where dozens of artists from all over the world have translated their artistic visions into murals featuring political statements and thought-provoking messages. Of all the things to do in Berlin, this is certainly a must. The Gallery is holding a special anniversary exhibition 4-10 November.
The Romanesque Gethsemanekirche was a hub of dissent in the last days of the GDR (the communist-controlled German Democratic Republic) and was where peaceful protesters gathered on the night of 2 October 1989 to stand against the arrest of peaceful demonstrators in Leipzig. Between 4-10 November, the Gethsemane Church will be hosting an exhibition detailing the church’s role in the Peaceful Revolution. Patti Smith will also perform at the church on 5 November, as part of the city-wide festivities.
The Berlin TV Tower
The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) is Berlin’s most visible landmark, standing 368m tall in the city’s famous Alexanderplatz. Inaugurated in 1969, the tower was designed by East German architects and was meant to symbolise the strength and innovation of the socialist system. Today it is one of Berlin’s most recognisable buildings and is popular with tourists thanks to its 360-degree viewing point at its top.
To the east of Berlin’s city centre lies the former headquarters of East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi. The headquarters are now a museum, where visitors can see the the now somewhat outdated low-tech spy equipment, like cameras and bugs hidden in neckties and watering cans, as well as the office of Stasi chief Erich Mielke. Between 4-10 November, the historic demands of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators calling for the abolishment of the secret police will be projected on the outside walls of the museum.