We’re lucky enough to live in a city that is in the midst of exciting change – but the thing we love about Berlin is that the past is never that far away, and walking through the city can easily change based on the history you take round with you. A few weeks ago, a guest at Miniloft brought us some photos of the last time she was in Berlin. It was a long time ago in fact, before the wall came down.

Looking through her pictures, it is astonishing to see how quickly time passes, and how quickly the landscape of a city adapts to the spaces it has carved into it, or the spaces that history eventually opens up. It will be 25 years this November since the East German authorities opened their border to West Germany: 25 years since families were reunited and Berlin ceased to be a divided city.

In that time, we’ve seen life move back into the cracks and division that characterised Berlin in the latter half of the 20th Century. Mauerpark has appeared in part of the former death strip and is now a place for families, friends and visitors to wile away a Sunday afternoon. As we blogged the other week, round the corner from us (and a former checkpoint), there’s now an ecomarket that has sprung up at Nordbahnhof.

It’s not just at former wall checkpoints that Berlin has undergone huge architectural change. One of the biggest changes to happen in the city was the relocation of Berlin as the home of the German Bundestag, and how this official endorsement of Berlin changed the surrounding landscape around the centre of town, as Matthew explains in this video. Throughout, a process of rebuilding and reclaiming has been one of the many ways Berlin found a shared identity amongst all it’s residents.

Taking a look back through those photos is a pertinent reminder that the wall is a thing of the past, and that Berlin is a true city – a place where time doesn’t stand still, because life goes on. As we begin to look towards another anniversary and another year of Berlin moving further away from that particular past, it really is an honour to glimpse back into those years, as it helps us all understand how incredible those months in 1989 really were, and how far Berlin has come.

If you’re coming to Berlin in the next few months, be sure to take some time to explore these differences. Whether you use an app, go to an exhibition or follow some of the trail around the city, the wall may be gone, but its legacy – found in the last 25 years following reunification – is one that should not be forgotten.

Recommended Reading

Cees Noteboom’s Roads to Berlin

"Written and updated over the course of several decades, an eyewitness account of the pivotal events of 1989 gives way to a perceptive appreciation of its difficult passage to reunification.

"Nooteboom's writings on politics, people, architecture and culture are as digressive as they are eloquent; his innate curiosity takes him through the landscapes of Heine and Goethe, steeped in Romanticism and mythology, and to Germany's baroque cities. With an outsider's objectivity he has crafted an intimate portrait of the country to its present day."

Further Viewing

Several documentaries look at Berlin from the run-up to the fall of the Wall to the present day. Be sure to check out Miniloft Berlin’s Youtube Channel for a full playlist.

Many thanks to Maggie Moran for bringing her photos all the way from Australia. It's fascinating to see photos of everyday life from such a different time.

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

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