Berlin in the ′90s: ′Loud, colorful, unique′ | Culture | Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 10.08.2018

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Berlin in the '90s: 'Loud, colorful, unique'

Many compare Berlin in the '90s to New York in the '70s. The entire city was as a playground for art and night life. An exhibition recalls wild times in the exotic, unpredictable and productive capital.

Until February 28, 2019, party-hungry East Berliners, hooligans and squatters populate a new exhibition at the "Alte Münze," once a coin-manufacturing plant in central Berlin.

One of the exhibition's curators, Michael Geithner, told DW that the time was ripe: "Nearly 30 years have passed, and the cityscape has changed. Many who remember Berlin in the 90s have a need to reconnect to those times," says Geithner. "And those of us at the GDR museum telling the history of former East Germany also need to tell the story of what happened after the Berlin Wall fell." 

Many of the sites commemorated still exist, and much of the music that made the soundtrack to the 90s is still familiar, but Geithner says that young people today are fascinated by the heady spirit of freedom that excited an earlier generation.

Titled "Lost Berlin," one exhibition space leads visitors through a labyrinth to various locals that no longer exist, including "Tresor," the original techno club where the first big raves in the eastern part of the city took place, to a pirate broadcaster and to houses occupied by squatters. The journey ends in a small mirrored room dedicated to the Love Parade.

The Berlin Wall and the vacant green space left behind after it was torn down – empty territory that symbolized a wall remaining in people's minds – are further subjects of the exhibition.

"Poor but sexy" was once the description for reunited Berlin, but that, says Michael Geithner, no longer applies. "Now Berlin is confronted by an identity crisis. The city has to actively work to establish creative spaces for artists, students and other young people," says Geithner. "Berlin shouldn't just be sold to the highest bidder," he adds.

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