They say there’s something in the air. As if it’s infused with an electricity, charging the senses. Maybe it has to do with the long dark winters, or the cities isolated outlook from the middle of a barren wasteland*. Whatever it is, Berlin has long been a confluence of creativity. Even in the 19th century it was clear, as a folk song of the time cheerfully attested “Du bist verrückt, mein Kind, du mußt nach Berlin” (you’re crazy my child, you must go to Berlin). From Isherwood to Iggy, Dix to Dietrich – for centuries the city has nurtured the avant-garde. 

It’s been far from smooth sailing however. After World War One, Berlin became a notorious den rife with poverty, drugs and crime. Despite the misery, an attitude of experimentalism took hold ushering in the ‘Golden Twenties’. Though the Nazi’s tried to stamp out the flames of innovation, the smoldering rubble they left behind soon took light once more. During cold war division, marooned West Berlin became a petri dish where originality bloomed. When the wall fell, the youth of the reunited city found unity in a driving techno beat. Today, the city has garnered a reputation as a progressive capital which fosters artistic freedom and invention.

Throughout this volatile history, an overwhelming amount of media has been produced. We’ve trawled through the archives, sniffing out the tastiest morsels which we believe most genuinely represent the city in all its multifaceted glory. The following lists explore the artistic output which Berlin has inspired over the years. The joyous, the grim and the outright weird. Whether you’re dreaming of one day arriving, actively planning a trip or just wanting to further get to know the German capital, we’re sure you’ll admire the treasure trove we’ve uncovered for you. Viel Spaß!

*no offence Brandenburg

Film

Literature

Music