On the Banks of No Man’s Land

On the Banks of No Man’s Land

The banks of the Spree River between the once divided boroughs of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg have remained a no man’s land to this day. On the geographically northern, politically eastern bank in Friedrichshain, standing till today are the remains of the Wall. Only a short while ago, there were disagreements about how one should restore the graffiti, which is today an attraction for tourists from all over the world. Few pieces of the Wall are still preserved in the city; the East Side Gallery with its large format pictures is quite a unique memorial to the Wall, with the traffic rushing past it day and night. The only people travelling on foot here are tourists who are either going for or coming from partying. One of the most important clubs in the city is located today on the narrow piece of wasteland between the Wall and the Spree River. The Bar 25 is known for its nonstop party every weekend, something which Berlin was famous for since the nineties: here the techno lifestyle is lived.

The Bar 25 commune about fifteen people, who live on grounds run ensemble various institutions with approximately fifty employees: wellness area, restaurant positioned higher price segment, hostel, cinema. Additionally, they also maintain record label a radio station once equally spectacular. And naturally at heart of it all is actual bar an after-hours like no other western world, writes Tobias Rapp in his recently published book „Lost and Sound“ , dedicated to new club strip by the Spree River.

For this is party central. The techno club Watergate is not far, on the Kreuzberg side of the Spree River. Berlin’s most famous club today, the Berghain, described by many as the most important club in the world, is fifteen minutes from here by foot. A few years ago, the music concern Universal converted an old loft by the Spree River and housed their offices there. MTV followed. Recently, the gigantic O2 Arena was completed, diagonally opposite the East Side Gallery.

The barely tapped river bank of the Spree is a promise even for investors. An initiative called Media Spree has, in the last few years, wanted to open up the entire Spree river area for large scale projects. However, a colourful citizens’ movement formed rather quickly to preserve the club culture that has emerged on the river bank. Dedicated citizens from Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain came together with people from the techno scene under the slogan “Media Spree Versenken” (“Sink Media Spree”) and campaigned for continued access to the river bank for everyone in the future or not to allow the construction in the first place. One referendum advanced by the initiative demands that new constructions on the river bank maintain a minimum distance of fifty meters from the water. There should also be no construction of new high rise buildings or bridges over the water for cars, according to its mandate.