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There’s an old aphorism that no one living in Berlin was actually born there, and while this isn’t exactly true, it does shine a light on the transient and welcoming nature of the city. Berlin is a city of constant shifts, it’s dynamic, multicultural and international and regardless of the amount of time spent calling the city home, there are certain things that always make the locals proud to be Berliners.
Gentrification, alt-right rallies, a tide of nationalism sweeping across Europe? Berlin is certainly not immune to any of these, but for most of its residents, showing up and protesting is an important part of being a Berliner – and the city sometimes has a truly ‘Berlin’ way of doing so. Recently making headlines, the city’s techno protest rave against an AfD rally attracted some 20,000 counter-protesters.
Beyond protesting and demonstrating for their own interest most Berliners are happy also show their support and solidarity for people outside of Berlin or Germany. With locals actively participating in Women’s Marches, protests for refugee rights, fighting for the rights of the global LGBTQIA community, and showing solidarity globally as well as locally for tolerance and respect.
Berlin is a magnet for young creatives and artists, with an estimated 20,000 artists living and working in the city. Drawn in by cheap rent and an underground atmosphere, many have found a voice and have stayed to make Berlin home.
Every year in May Berlin ignites in a vibrant street parade and party called Carnival of Cultures. It’s a loud, proud and electric four-day celebration of cultural diversity and an annual event that represents the general feeling of Berliners all year round.
It’s a well-known fact that Berlin is home to some of the wildest, most debauched and pleasure-seeking parties in Europe. With techno often as its guiding force, the city’s clubs create safe spaces across the city for locals and tourists to bask and explore themselves in.
Going hand in hand with the city’s club culture is a sense of liberal self-expression. Whatever your kink or regardless of how you want to express yourself, as long as it’s rooted in respect there is a place for you in Berlin.
In this sense, underground and counter-cultural movements still thrive in the city. Berliners are proud of their edge, and rightly so, beyond the buzzword ‘edgy,’ locals here still start, thrive in and shine in underground, boundary-pushing cultures.