There are very few moments in the history of Berlin as moving as the fall of the Berlin Wall. This year marks the 30th anniversary of this occasion. Many event locations and partners are part of this special chapter and particularly attractive for event planners.
“What was it like back then, on 9 November, 1989?” – This is a question residents of the capital who were present in the city at the time are constantly asked. It is a piece of Berlin’s history that is still tangible and visible today and visitors from all over the world are moved by it too. But it is not only Berliners who have first-hand recollections of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent reunification. The history also lives on in many locations, hotels and services for meetings, incentives, conferences and congresses. Here’s our Top 9 from ’89.
1 Splendid GDR history: ESMT Berlin
The campus of the private ESMT Berlin business university is located directly at Schlossplatz 1. The building was constructed in the early 1960s and was the headquarters for the State Council of the GDR – then the highest state body of the East German government. Today, international students and event organisers fill the former State Council building on the Spree island, using the 5,000-square-metre historically-listed premises for a variety of events.
ESMT Facade - front side at the Schlossplatz
2 A history parallel to the Wall: Kraftwerk Berlin
1961 was a dramatic year for the capital: with the building of the Wall, this was the year that Berlin became a divided city. The Mitte power station was built on Köpenicker Straße around the same time. Initially it supplied East Berlin with power. Later it lay unused for a long time. It was not until 2006 that it was finally revived by cultural manager Dimitri Hegemann and went down in Berlin’s history as the world-famous techno club Tresor. Today the industrial monument offers space for art, culture and events on 8,000 square metres of space for up to 2,600 participants.
3 Berlin history on the beach: BeachMitte
Both beaches and mountains don’t have much to do with Berlin or the Berlin Wall. And that’s exactly why this location is so typical for Berlin. The Berlin Wall once stood here on what is now the largest beach in the city – with 54 beach volleyball courts and one of the most modern inner-city high-ropes courses. So it is a special place for two very different reasons and great for larger events and sporting incentives for up to 2,000 guests (outdoors).
4 Ostalgie: Berlin TV Tower
To this day, the former GDR building, towering at a height of 368 metres, is the tallest building in Germany and a magnet for over one million guests and organisers from all over the world every year. At a height of 207 metres, the tower’s sphere rotates above Alexanderplatz about once an hour and offers visitors a unique 360° view of Berlin and the surrounding area. The TV Tower was designed as a GDR prestige project and was built between 1965 and 1969. It was in fact the second highest television tower in the world in its opening year. Today it ranks among the ten most popular sights in Germany and is Berlin’s highest event location.
5 A modern monument: bcc
The bcc – not far from the Berlin TV Tower – is an impressively eye-catching building. No wonder that groups of tourists regularly stop here and guides explain the history of East Berlin and the architecture of Alexanderplatz, using the domed building as a starting point. With room for up to 3,000 visitors, GDR star architect Hermann Henselmann designed the event location in the early 1960s. Even large parts of the furnishings were specially designed for the bcc – making it ideal for central, stylish and atmospheric large-scale events in a listed historic building.e Großveranstaltungen in einem denkmalgeschützten Haus.
6 A real star – then and now: Park Inn Berlin
The term “star” is by no means an exaggeration: the hotel enjoyed a great reputation back in GDR times and it still does today. Partly because, with 1,012 rooms, 35 floors and a height of 150 metres, it is the highest hotel in Berlin and the second largest hotel in Germany. It was built between 1967 and 1970 as part of the redesign of Berlin’s Alexanderplatz and its opening exactly on the 21st anniversary of the founding of the GDR created around 1,000 jobs. Today the building has plenty of history to share and is a popular spot for tourists, filmmakers, bungee jumpers and house runners. Above all, with its eight event rooms it is the perfect setting for meetings, incentives and events for up to 320 people in Berlin’s Mitte district.
7 View of the divided city: Spreespeicher Berlin
This location is all about the location – literally. Because the site of the historical Spreespeicher alone gives you goose bumps when you look at Berlin’s history: in the middle of Berlin’s media district, surrounded by MTV, Universal Music and the Mercedes-Benz Arena, right on the Spree with a view of Berlin’s Oberbaum Bridge, on the border between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, this event location makes you feel what Berlin has achieved since the political turning point in 1989. Exactly here – where the Berlin Wall once separated East from West Berlin, where escape attempts across the Spree often ended fatally, where the Spreespeicher at the Osthafen port was just used as a warehouse – 30 years later a pulsating, cosmopolitan, international and borderless Berlin was created that can be felt at every event at the Spreespeicher.
Thursday, 7 December, 1989: “We didn’t want to saw off the corners of the tables for today’s meeting, because the problems to be solved are also not smooth.” With these remarks, senior church council member Martin Ziegler opened the first round table in East Berlin’s Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Haus. A historic moment that created a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy and the foundations for the first free elections. No wonder that the location with 75 guest rooms and 7 conference rooms for up to 120 visitors is still a popular meeting place for church, economic, cultural and scientific events.
9 On the road, again: Trabi safari
It is not a conference venue in the true sense of the word, but this Berlin event partner guarantees an exciting exchange of ideas: During a sightseeing tour in what is probably the most famous vehicle in the GDR, guests can take to the wheel themselves and drive past the city’s historical sights with a certified guide leading the way and explanations broadcast over the radio. It couldn’t get any more authentic.
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