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Are you an expert? | © Pixabay
Are you an expert? | © Pixabay
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You’re Only a Berlin Expert If You’ve Done These 15 Things

Picture of Megan King
Updated: 26 July 2017
The people of Berlin are united through common struggles, delights and funny annoyances. Expats who fancy themselves as “real Berliners” by now might want to check how many quintessential Berlin experiences on our list they relate to, before they can declare “ich bin ein Berliner.

Navigated the public transport

Berlin has one of the best and most affordable transport systems in Europe. It might seem scary trying to navigate between the underground subway, the S-Bahn train and the bus routes, but once you get a hang of it you’ll dare to go further and really know the city you call home.

Berlin has one of the best public transit systems in the world
Berlin has one of the best public transit systems in the world | © Pixabay

Been caught without a ticket

Whether you were caught in the middle of a genuine mistake or if you were trying to get around paying your fare, once you have faced the awkwardness of being caught by the plain-clothed “ticket police” and coughed up a hefty fine for your indiscretion, you won’t ever do it again.

Owned a bicycle

The bicycle, or “rad” in colloquial terms, is a real Berliner’s most prized possession. Forget people watching, Berlin is home to some gorgeous, two-wheeled eye candy, and if you haven’t experienced day to day life in the city on a cycle, then you haven’t really experienced the city at all.

A cyclist in Berlin
A cyclist in Berlin | © Pixabay

Got bounced from Berghain

The rumors about Berlin’s most notorious techno club are vast and often blown out of proportion, but if you don’t look or feel right to the bouncer on duty, you’ll probably get turned away. Don’t worry though, because apparently getting all dressed in black, standing in a queue for hours and then not getting in is part of the real Berlin experience.

Uncovered the history

That being said, do not fall into the trap of living your life from the inside of Berlin’s dark and dank clubs. There is so much history in Berlin, you need to familiarize yourself with it, because the reason why Berlin is what it is today, and the reason you moved here in the first place, is rooted in its tumultuous past. The city offers a plethora of fascinating museums and historical sights to feed your brain.

Watched more sunrises than sunsets

True Berliners know that the way to party is to start fresh on a Sunday, and that Monday mornings are meant to be spent celebrating the sunrise while dancing along the Spree, not to sit in traffic.

You’re not a true Berliner if you haven’t watched the sunrise after a night out
You’re not a true Berliner if you haven’t watched the sunrise after a night out | © Dennis Skley/ Flickr

Had at least one winter

If you can’t brave more or less seven months of greyness, darkness, and depression, then you’re no expert on what it really means to live in Berlin.

Got the winter blues

Further to the above point, falling into winter’s miserable arms is an experience that binds Berliners together. Getting down in the winter dumps at least once while you call yourself a Berlin resident is mandatory. You’ll be giddy with happiness once the sun comes back again.

Feel the winter blues in Berlin
Feel the winter blues in Berlin | © ands78/ Flickr

Learnt German

Sorry folks, there’s just no way around this one. Don’t be one of those people who has lived in Berlin for more than five years and the only German they use is when they are ordering a cappuccino.

When in Germany…
When in Germany… | © Pixabay

Sampled the local cuisine

It may not be appealing to every pallet, but Currywurst (and all things wurst), schnitzel, spätzle and knödel are all a part of Berlin. If you don’t know what any of mentioned dishes are, then you’re not a Berliner just yet.

Gone vegan at least once

After all that bratwurst and ketchup, you will need to become vegan at least once in your life while living in Berlin. The city has an amazing culture of vegan restaurants, and they are affordable too.

Berlin is a vegan’s culinary delight
Berlin is a vegan’s culinary delight | © Pixabay

Left empty bottles outside

You’ll have to pick up this habit quickly if you’re going to be an expert resident. Don’t ever throw glass bottles in the trash—leave them outside because someone makes a living from collecting and recycling them.

Moved apartment every few months

Been in Berlin for four years now and still don’t have a steady place to call home? Normal. When an apartment becomes available for viewing in Berlin, you and 80 other people arrive to see it, and in the end, you’ll just take whatever you can get.

Apartment hopping is normal in Berlin
Apartment hopping is normal in Berlin | Oh-Berlin/ Flickr

Transported furniture on the subway

Finally a new room has opened up for a whopping three months! How else does one carry their mattress over anyway, if not on public transport?

Steered clear of tourist traps

Yes, you once got conned into paying good money for a piece of rubble that was masquerading as an original piece of the Berlin Wall, but you had just arrived and you were very excited. You’re a Berlin expert when you’ve figured out all the incredible, free, and affordable things you can do in this city that aren’t advertised.