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Berghain has created an entire sub-culture, influencing all areas of life, from what people wear to the music they listen to, from the way they dance to the general attitude they carry around. The cult of Berghain is tangible in Berlin.
Countless guides have been written to help wannabee Berghainers gain access to this notorious club, while many horror stories have been told about being turned away by a ferocious doorman.
The club is the temple of techno in Berlin, disciples of the hard industrial sound have found a spiritual home at Berghain. But access isn’t all that easy, Berghain is notorious for being one of the most difficult clubs to get into.
This place is not keen on tourists; arriving in a group, being too loud or cheerful, showing any signs of nerves or too many bright colours, are all frowned upon. Don’t be surprised to wait in line for a few hours before being turned away with just one look! If you do manage to pass the bouncer’s gauntlet, don’t even think about using your camera phone. This is a place where people come to party freely, and what happens in Berghain, stays in Berghain.
So what is waiting on the other side? Well, unadulterated freedom, some fans would say. Berghain is the birthplace of EDM (electronic dance music) – the rooms pump with incredibly loud, monotonous beats that are layered with drone-like sounds, amid industrial textures and an onslaught of flashing lights.
From Friday night right through to Monday afternoon, the concrete icon blasts hypnotic techno, and many ravers choose to forgo the light of day. Substances of choice tend to be a mixture of MDMA, speed or ketamine, helping revelers complete a 24-hour cycle of non-stop raving.
This liberty also extends far into the realm of sexual exploration and fetishes, people here are not afraid to express their deepest and strangest desires and fantasies. It might initially seem bizarre, but the space is committed to safety; this is the very reason why people are able to express their sexuality so freely, and you’d be hard pressed to find this kind of openness in any other city in the world.
Sex rooms, drugs and thumping music – it might not be to everyone’s taste. But Berghain’s appeal comes from its enigma, its unpredictable and volatile approach to the dance scene certainly keeps partygoers on the edge and wanting more.