Interesting article at the Hollywood Reporter about Berlins rise on the popularity-meter within the “it-crowd”; the author struck a nerve summarizing what makes Berlin such an incredible place to be, not only internationally, but even among Germans:
“Berlin has made culture its primary industry,” Berlin festival boss Dieter Kosslick says. “Music, film, art, fashion — that’s been the driving force, the creative industries. It’s an extremely culture-rich, extremely international city.”
Caterer K.P. Kofler is more blunt: “Berlin is everything Germany is not: spontaneous, exciting, open and cosmopolitan.”
Interestingly enough, it would make a clear difference on my travels depending on whether I introduced myself as from “Germany” or from “Berlin” -there seemed to be two entirely different sets of stereotypes associated with either place of origin. I am both from Germany, grown up in the suburbs of Hassia, as from Berlin, because this is where I chose to live; and yet I am neither, as my cultural heritage lies in the Middle East and I consider myself as international as can be. But that’s just me.
Anyway, while the author of the aforementioned article concentrates on dissecting Berlins scene, he does mention why it stands out compared to Paris/London/NYC:
The story of Berlin’s rise to the zenith of European club culture has been told before. During the early 1990s, East Berlin was an empty shell. After the fall of the Wall, the locals left, en masse, to the West, leaving row upon row of abandoned factories and concrete housing estates. Then, from the West came students and DJs — would-be artists and characters with names like Till “103 Club” Harter, Heinz “Cookies” Gindullis or Dimitri “Tresor” Hegemann — who saw an opportunity and opened illegal underground clubs in warehouses, cellars and desolate storefronts.
“Back then there were no rules,” Harter recalls. “You could just squat in a spot, set up a club and go.”