Family & Kids

copyright: Stadtmuseum Berlin

Berlin's Cabinet of Toy Curiosities: 'Mark Dion's Delirious Toys'

Tourists visiting Alexanderplatz might be underwhelmed by the lack of medieval and baroque splendour that characterizes so many European capitals, but the small (not-so-hidden) gem that is Nikolaiviertel allows a glimpse into the atmosphere of old Berlin, despite being a reconstruction. Nonetheless, the historical charm of these streets, with their quaint cafes and small businesses filled with trinkets and delicate souvenirs, is undeniable.

The neighbourhood is centred mostly around the old St. Nicholas' Church, to which the area owes its name. This church is Berlin's oldest surviving one, it was turned into a museum, usually housing temporary exhibits. This December, up until February, there is an art installation by artist Mark Dion, made up of old toys from the Stadtmuseum Berlin's toy collection.

The exhibition is a great way to introduce contemporary art to kids in a way that keeps them engaged, rather than excluded. For adults, aside from the wondrous aesthetic experience, it offers a critical view of these artefacts as cultural vehicles and references conceived by adults for children. The artist connects this to the topic of how objects are presented and experienced in museums, how they convey information and reinforce ideas and norms from dominant voice to a mostly passive audience.

Further information here.


copyright: Kwon O Chul

Zeiss-Großplanetarium: 'Aurora - Lights of Wonder'

This year is expected to be one of the brightest in terms of Aurora Borealis, the spectacular natural phenomenon also known as Northern lights. Unfortunately, it isn't visible in Berlin, unless paying a visit to the Zeiss Planetarium in the Prenzlauer Berg district. This planetarium is among the biggest and most modern ones in Europe, and holds not only astronomy events but everything sky-related, and even cinema. It is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon, especially when the weather is grim.

The 'Aurora – Lights of Wonder' event will showcase the wondrous dance of the polar lights in a 360° view through time lapses recorded with multiple cameras by Korean astrophotographer Kwon O Chul and original images from the ISS, along with scientific information through narration.

Details on this and other events at the Zeiss-Großplanetarium are available here.

Gastronomy & Theatre

copyright: Berliner Schlemmer Varieté

Variety dinner show: Berliner Schlemmer Varieté

Why are these two categories merged this month? Well, that's because the 'Berliner Schlemmer Varieté' is an event combining variety theatre with gourmet food. It is quite literally the definition of 'dinner and a show'.

Berlin is known for its cabaret, vaudeville and variety theatre tradition – something obvious to anyone who has watched the iconic 1972 musical film 'Cabaret' with Liza Minelli – so this is a great opportunity to combine a bit of the old Berlin charm with plenty of comedy, music, and the luscious flavours of the city's freshest produce, lovingly curated and prepared.

The events will take place December 2-20 in the Arminiusmarkthalle, in the Moabit district, to which our Miniloft Mitte location now has a direct tram, the M10. This is one of 4 remaining indoor market halls from this time period, out of the 14 originally existing in Berlin.

The beautiful 120-year-old brick and iron building, typical of the Industrial Revolution, owed its extremely fast construction to the new technology of the time: prefabricated components and iron structure. Today, it is wonderfully maintained and still houses the local food market, as well as many special events catered to foodies.

Menu available here.

If you do not manage to catch a spot here during December, do not worry, they organize more of these year-round, always focused on seasonal products.

Trade Fairs

copyright: Julia Nimke

Berlin Travel Festival

Berlin hosts the ITB every year around March, which is a must for tourism industry players. For casual visitors there is also the Berlin Travel Festival in December, which is a three day travel and lifestyle trade show that focuses on popular topics such as experiences, wellness, sustainability, and offers workshops, discussions, lectures and a travel photography exhibition. Where the ITB is all business, the Berlin Travel Festival is solely leisure: The pure pleasure of going somewhere new.

The trade show will also include travel accessories, equipment and gadgets, as well as a showroom for mobile and tiny houses. Additionally, there will be activities for kids.

The Berlin Travel Festival will take place between December 1-3 at Messe Berlin, in the Charlottenburg district. More info here.


Another great way to get to know other parts of the world is through language. The Expolingua Berlin is a trade fair specialized in foreign language learning and teaching, and features plenty of language learning tools, as well as promotional material on different courses and internships around the globe. There will also be information on opportunities in terms of exchange student programs, similar to the European Erasmus initiative, as well as lectures and workshops, and mini language courses, along with tips and tricks about learning new languages and cultures in fun and efficient ways.

The Expolingua will take place on December 1 and 2, at the Russian House of Science and Culture, just a few minutes by foot from Miniloft Kreuzberg, our second apartment hotel location. More info here.


copyright: Verein der Freunde und Förderer des Synagogal Ensemble Berlin e.V.

Jewish religious choir music: 'Louis Lewandowski Festival'.

Louis Lewandowski was a Prussian-Jewish composer who studied and worked in Berlin, and would later become choirmaster of the Neue Synagogue, where he composed all new religious musical accompaniment to Jewish liturgy. His compositions truly reformed synagogue services whilst holding dear ancient Jewish religious melodies and tradition. Lewandowski's works include a very diverse array of genres, with both instrumental music and (often mixed) choir.

The Louis Lewandowski Festival is a choir festival highlighting the work of composers of the German-Jewish diaspora by inviting ensembles and choirs from across the globe in order to celebrate synagogue music. The festival is hosted by the Synagogal Ensemble Berlin (SEB), the only ensemble regularly performing Lewandowski liturgies and cantoral works during religious service.

This 13th edition of the festival will take place between December 14-17 throughout several locations, mainly religious and cultural venues, among them the Rykestraße synagogue in Mitte, the old industrial site of Reinbeckhallen and the Hospital Church Wuhlegarten, both in the south-east of the city, and the St. Nikolai Church in Potsdam.

Programme and additional information will be available here.


copyright: Museum für Architekturzeichnung, Berlin

Exhibit: 'Alvar Aalto in Germany: Drawing Modernism'

A temporary exhibition on Alvar Aalto's work in Germany is taking place in the Museum of Architectural Drawing (Museum für Architekturzeichnung), just a few tram stops away from our Miniloft Apartment Hotel Mitte location.

Presented are more than 70 projects by Alvar and Elissa – his wife and a renowned architect and designer hersef – and Aalto's Helsinki-based office. It will include original drawings of finished and unfinished – but definitely Finnish – works from the 1950s all the way until the 1980s.

The Tchoban Foundation, which runs this private museum, is a proponent of hand-drawn architectural drawing. They collaborate with other cultural institutions around the world in order to showcase this now increasingly rare skill in the predominantly digital world of contemporary architecture.

The Museum itself has been open for 10 years – so a relatively new addition to the Berlin museumscape. The interesting facade contains architectonic fragment reliefs and an understandable lack of windows, given the delicate nature of the works inside. The building elegantly holds the Sergei Tchoban collection, which contains more than one hundred works from international artists, dating as far back as the 16th century, and as recent as present day.

Additional details available here.

Arts & Multimedia

copyright: Privatbesitz copyright Photo: Ernst Wilhelm Nay Stiftung, Köln

Painting exhibit: 'Myth and Massacre - Ernst Wilhem Nay and André Masson'

War is part of our history, in fact, some philosophers even consider it intrinsic to (men's) nature itself. It is then no surprise that that it has such deep influence in many of the most important artists, especially modern art, where it gained particular visibility – in contrast to past movements and sensibilities. Art became more and more secular, exploring further the human experience from an individual perspective. At the same time, the shocking brutality of modern warfare developed.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, the topic of war has become once again particularly important in Germany, and so the new temporary exhibition 'Myth and Massacre: Ernst Wilhelm Nay and André Masson' brings up realities which a few years ago might have felt too distant to relate to for most present-day Europeans.

The exhibit focuses on the similarities between the body of work of the two artists, who despite being from different generations and backgrounds, as well as different artistic styles, were bound by the impact of the tragedy of their first-hand-experience of war.

For lovers of modernism, particularly surrealism and abstraction, this is a great opportunity to delve into the catastrophic effects of World War I and II, in the consciousness of these French and German artists.

The exhibition will open on 8 December at the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg and will run until late April of next year. Further information here.


copyright: around the world in 14 films

Film Festival: 'Around the World in 14 Films'

The premise of this independent film festival is to showcase films from 14 different nations in order to provide a well-rounded perspective of the cinema culture across the globe, as well as the latest highlights from Cannes, Locarno, Venice, Sundance, and others.

One of the more eagerly-awaited screenings is the award-winning German-Iranian film 'Critical Zone' by Ali Ahmadzade, which touches the subject of drug consumption in Tehran. This difficult topic and the country's agitated political climate make it easier to understand why it was mostly shot with a hidden camera, and why the film's debut made the director a persona-non-grata in his motherland.

The festival will also include films from Jordan, Vietnam, Lithuania, Argentina and Georgia.

From December 1-9, the festival will run in the Delphi Lux and the Neues Off cinemas, as well as in the cinema at KulturBrauerei – a 19th century beer factory which is now a cultural centre, just minutes away by tram from Miniloft Mitte.

The programme will be available on the official website.

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