Attentive readers will know that over the past few months I have been involved with Slow Travel Berlin in organising a series of walks and strolls through different corners of Berlin. Only this week I took a small group through my home neighbourhood of Wedding and it was once again a really brilliant experience to share my much-maligned corner of the city with others, as well as the different stories that make up its history. If you go here you can get an overview of the other tours that are offered, but I wanted to give a heads up for the newest tour that is being launched this weekend, with a second date on Tuesday 30th April. This tour is through the neighbourhood of Neukölln, and is being led by Anna Sprang of the absolutely fascinating Strollology Berlin website. I would urge anyone with an interest in Berlin to take a browse through those pages, and if you at all have the chance, join Anna on her tour which promises to be excellent:
Rixdorf & Rollberge – a cultural-historical stroll through Neukölln
Berlin‘s gritty, working-class Neukölln district is widely known as a problem-gone-hip, now home to a colourful mix of people from all around the world. On this tour through the northern part of the borough, we‘ll uncover many different layers of its changing and often surprising history, some of which are still visible, with others concealed in old photos, literature, eye witness reports and personal memories.
We‘ll take you back to the time when Neukölln was still the small farming village of Rixdorf, a popular weekend destination for Berliners that lay outside the city gates; to when a street fair of sorts lined the sandy road along the Hasenheide, and the Rollberge were home to numerous windmills.
We will look at the effects of the industrial revolution, its subsequent transformation into a working-class entertainment district, and why it got renamed Neukölln in 1912. Along the way, we’ll visit a ballroom-turned-supermarket (and famous venue of the workers‘ movement), remnants of what was once Europe‘s most modern department store and hidden backyards that illustrate Rixdorf‘s development from village to town to city.
The tour will also look at Neukölln’s former communist strongholds, how an infamous Mietskaserne with five rear courtyards became witness to dramatic showdowns between communists and the Nazi storm troops, and the area’s post-war life as part of the “American sector”. As well as historical context, participants will also gain insights into contemporary Neukölln – it’s flourishing creative scene, gentrification issues and some of the best galleries, bars and boutiques to explore.
To book a place on the upcoming tours – Sunday 28 April and Tuesday 30 April, click here.