Few cities blend history and culture quite like Berlin. The German capital has long been known for its cultural scene. Ever-burgeoning, ever-changing Berlin has become synonymous with culture and subculture. Local and international acts, ideas and exhibitions merge in one place to bring you events as diverse and enticing as the city itself. Check out the following notable events to send you swimming in this dynamic cultural ocean that is Berlin.
The Art of Banksy – February 16, 2018 – January 15, 2019, at Bikini Berlin
Infamously famous, street artist Banksy’s reputation is well-earned. Curated by the artist’s former manager, this exhibition combines pieces from his personal collection and other private collections. The Art of Banksy offers us a unique chance to view the largest exhibition of the street artist’s most intense and controversial works in a city well known for its own street art scene. Original paintings, sculptures, and canvases will be presented together with selected photos to provide context.
10th Berlin Biennale – June 9 – September 9, 2018, multiple locations
Germany’s second most important contemporary arts event returns this year for its 10th edition. A team of curators from around the globe are selecting the Berlin-based artists who will present many new works by renowned and emerging artists. This year’s event, titled We Don’t Need Another Hero, intends to spark dialogue about the major geopolitical shifts, self-preservation, and a confrontation to “widespread states of collective psychosis”, among other topics. An excellent area to broaden your mind and see some up-and-coming artists from this engaging city.
Gerhard Richter: Abstraction – June 30 – October 7, 2018, at Museum Barberini, Potsdam
The Abstraction exhibition is a revealing dive into the most poignant work of the artist. Beginning with his works in the 1960’s and progressing through to the present, this exhibition follows his progression into the abstract world and the signature qualities of his art.
Mozart’s The Magic Flute – September 8 – November 4, 2018
The Komische Oper Berlin presents a beautifully absurd blend of animation and live music, this fantasy opera has caused excited uproar wherever it goes. The loony fantasy blends humor with German Expressionism, creating an ever-entertaining experience and provoking questions without answers. Fanciful, thoughtful, possibly insightful, certainly excellent.
Young Euro Classic – August 3 – 20, 2018, Gendarmenmarkt
The Young Euro Classic offers a unique opportunity to see some of the best up-and-coming musicians from around the world in a 17 day festival. Youth orchestras from more than 10 different countries as far and wide as the U.S., England, South Africa, Georgia, Russia and New Zealand perform at the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt and learn how music and coexistence can help form the values of the younger generation.
Musikfest Berlin – August 31 – September 18, 2018, multiple venues
Autumn marks the beginning of the concert season in Berlin, and the Musikfest Berlin kicks of the season with performances by some of the best orchestras in the world, including the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This season marks the 100th birthday of Bernd Alois Zimmermann and the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy, and key works by the two composers will be performed. Over the 19-day festival, more than 65 works by 25 composers will fill the historic chambers and music halls of Berlin.
The beating heart of Berlin is in its street life. Festivals of every stripe hold sway in the hip hoods of the Hauptstadt, from the infamous May Day Parade in Kreuzberg to the Festival of Lights, which illuminates the whole city in October. As the last few months of warm days are beckoning, the following events are sure to satiate the senses.
Summer in the City – August 24 – September 9, 2018, at Breitscheidplatz
For a true taste of ‘multi-kulti’ Berlin’s cosmopolitan flavors, head over to Breitscheidplatz for an eclectic mix of international street food, music, and culture. Chow down on Mexican street food and dance to intoxicating Spanish rhythms. The promenade will bustle with bands and street musicians, market stalls, and a wide variety of eats and drinks. In the evening, the B2 Schlagerfest will deliver earfuls of oompah music for some obligatory German culture.
Berlin Laughs! International Street Theater Festival – June 21 – September 16, 2018, Washingtonplatz am Hauptbahnhof
Visitors to Berlin can step off the train at the station and be immediately swept up in street culture in front of the station. Wade through waves of acrobats, street theater, puppet shows, pyrotechnics, street music, and clowning, which promises plenty of interactive activities for the family.
Berlin’s reputation as a non-stop city isn’t just confined to the techno kids in the club scene. The Long Night of Museums gives you maximum cultural bang for the buck: 80 museums, 800 events, 1 ticket. Many of the events are held at the Museum Island, a cluster of culture in the city center. You can organize your long night by theme, map, venue, and more.
As the Berlin summer slides into autumn and the nights begin to chill, the city is still ablaze with art and culture. Each year, art and architecture melt into one as light artists project wild splashes of color and psychedelic patterns onto Berlin’s iconic monuments. Watch the chariots atop the Brandenburg gate seemingly sailing into a swirling sea of color. The old Berlin Cathedral in paisley? You bet. For a movable feast of light, board a special light boat and slowly plow along the River Spree and watch the dazzling lights in its wake. Each year promises a new spectacle of special effects and eye candy.