Berlin Wall: 'Germany was first re-united on the dancefloor'

Ravers at Konfettinacht in 2007Symbol copyright
Carolin Saage

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Ravers are nonetheless taking to the Berlin dance flooring, as pictured on the Konfettinacht membership in 2007

Thirty years after the autumn of the Berlin Wall, one of the vital town’s clubbers and DJs recall how unlawful raves helped deliver a as soon as divided country again in combination.

Berlin lately is a temple for dance song fanatics from all corners of the globe, in a position to depart their prejudices on the nightclub door and jointly give up to the beat.

There was once a time no longer goodbye in the past even though when scenes of this nature had been a bodily and ideological impossibility.

Whilst saggy ravers in the United Kingdom had been coming in combination for a longer 2d Summer time of Love, other people within the German capital remained divided through a 27-mile wall.

After it got here down on nine November 1989, in addition to rubble and dirt, there was once a unexpected explosion of underground events in vacant structures, teach stations and gear vegetation.

Not like the discos of outdated, those ecstasy-fuelled nights took their lead from the brand new sounds of Detroit techno and Chicago acid area, whilst emulating the free-spirited revel in of events in Ibiza and at Manchester’s Hacienda membership.


Heiko Hoffmann, who was once a young person on the time, stated the “huge shift” to rave tradition right away “modified my existence”.

Up to now, West Berliners like him had been handiest in a position to discuss with the east with an afternoon go. In most cases talking, other people within the east may just no longer move the border.

“Simply a few weeks after the autumn of the wall I used to be dancing in business ruins subsequent to other people from the east, who simply a few months previous I do not have been in a position to satisfy,” says Hoffmann, the co-curator of the brand new No Footage at the Dance Flooring! exhibition.

“All of this was once going down to most commonly very uncooked techno song,” he provides, explaining that the identify of the gathering refers back to the prevailing tradition of shielding revellers from the judgement of the all-seeing digital camera.

“If any person would inform you lately that subsequent week North and South Korea could be reunited, and a thorough new type of song that you just did not know existed sooner than could be coming, and other people could be dancing in combination in areas that had been new and unused for either one of them, you might assume that is totally utopian.

“That is what took place 30 years in the past.”

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Martin Eberle

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Outdoor Tresor nightclub, which was once constructed within the vaults of a former division retailer subsequent to Potsdammer Platz – a literal no-man’s land all over the partition.

Wild nights in frequently transient and business areas close to the place the wall had stood – from Potsdamer Platz to Fredreichshain – fitted the primitive song and lightweight/sound methods completely.

Hoffmann believes the stipulations had been ripe for this distinctive scene to develop, as a result of there was once “a social exchange going down, in addition to a musical one.”

“Germany was once first reunited at the dancefloor of those events. You did not actually must make a difference any more between east and west.

“I feel it is an important that it was once no longer other people from East Berlin dancing to song that was once already round, or going to areas that had been West Berlin areas, however it was once actually that individuals from the west and east may just uncover one thing radically new in combination.”

‘A pleasant revolution’

It took virtually a yr for Germany to be formally re-unified in October 1990, or even then there have been nonetheless a number of criminal gray spaces.

East Berliner Sebastian Szary, of digital song duo Modeselektor, recollects how budding younger DJs and birthday party other people like himself on the time took complete merit.

“Anything else was once conceivable as a result of there was once no rule, the federal government was once nonetheless in a gray zone – in a no-man’s land – and the regulation was once no longer written,” he says.

“The re-unification was once finished however there have been a large number of issues that have been unclear. Just like the police knew there have been unlawful events however [they said] ‘We do not know what do – allow them to do the birthday party!'”

Folks from the United Kingdom and throughout western Europe quickly “discovered the playground to make goals occur”, forming collectives, whilst taking part in East Berlin’s reasonable hire and “certain power”.

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Birgit Kaulfuss

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Sebastian Szary (proper) and east Berlin schoolmate Gernot Bronsert shaped Berlin digital duo Modeselektor

“I am 100% certain this is was once the results of a pleasant revolution,” he provides.

“There was once an opportunity the revolution was once going to head in some other course with riots and battle – it was once actually shut.

“For the following 4 years there have been an uncountable quantity of unlawful events, some in forests for masses and hundreds, and likewise the Love Parade was once rising.”

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Matthias Roeingh

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An aerial shot of Love Parade 2003, from the Nineteen Nineties Berlin exhibition, displays how standard it was once

The urge for food for a re-unified Germany and the cave in of the Berlin Wall – itself an emblem of the Chilly Conflict between Soviet-led communism and the democracies of the West – was once already glaring on the staging of the primary Love Parade competition in July 1989.

It noticed 150 other people – led through Matthias Roeingh, aka Dr Motte – take to the streets for an illustration of peace, love and song.

It could change into crucial a part of the rave calendar, in Berlin and past, for many years.

Paintings allow problems pressured the parade out of the town from 2007, and in the end the tragic demise of 21 other people in a crowd weigh down in Duisburg in 2010 introduced it to an finish.

‘The re-start of a existence’

Quirin Graf Adelmann, whose Nineteen Nineties Berlin exhibition chronicles the historical past of the development, stresses mass unemployment within the in the past Soviet-run east facet of the town made the DIY dance motion a stupendous proposition for plenty of.

“Consider three.2 million other people in Berlin misplaced their sense of existence and the sensation to be helpful to society, as there have been no jobs,” he says.

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Mike Trobridge

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Competition-goers partied within the streets of Berlin and on most sensible of a truck at Love Parade 1992

“All of the training of the previous 40, 50 years was once blown away. Folks from the age of 16 to 22, beginning their skilled lives, had observed the whole thing they would discovered about had disappeared.”

“In order that was once the beginning of of the ’90s. And what are you doing if you find yourself freed from the outdated tales and freed from training?” he asks.

“You to take a look at to invent your self, once more. It way you must revel in the whole thing, you must delivery one thing new, and that’s the reason what many of us attempted in Berlin.

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Tilman Brembs

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Extra birthday party other people: Dancing at Marco, Insel der Jugend in 1991, from the No Footage at the Dancefloor! exhibition

“At the one hand there was once a 20% unemployment charge, and at the different – 50 other international locations from all over the place all over the world got here into Berlin to really feel the re-start of a existence.”

‘Queer tradition was once an important’

Because the scene advanced – and authentic basement nights like Tekknozid and UFO gave delivery to golf equipment just like the mythical Tresor and E-Werk – two issues had been vitally essential in making sure it will prosper.

At first, in contrast to in the United Kingdom and different Ecu international locations, Berlin’s golf equipment and bars didn’t have to near at a selected time, because of the abolition of the curfew in 1949. So events may just move on actually all weekend.

“There are puts that experience by no means closed for the remaining 17 years – they’ll open 24 hours, seven days,” notes Hoffmann.

And secondly, the using affect of the homosexual neighborhood at venues like Metropol – which had in the past been “a Berlin identical to Studio 54”, he provides, regarding the noted New York nightclub.

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Wolfgang Tillmans

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Clubbers queue for a “intercourse certain” homosexual birthday party at Snax Membership in east Berlin in 2001, which nonetheless hosts nights on the super-club Berghain

“It was once mainly the most important queer discotheque that we had in Berlin. When when the wall got here down and the techno scene began, what was once nice is that the preliminary events, they were not actually homosexual nights or queer nights – however other people from all forms of backgrounds got here in combination,” he reminisces.

“So that you had soccer hooligans, and queer [people] and it did not actually topic.”


No longer everyone was once keen on this newly open birthday party town, however over the following 3 a long time an increasing number of “Simple Jet ravers” – as they was recognized – flooded in.

Radio anthems through the likes of Scorpions, David Bowie and David Hasselhoff will have first of all “put the message out on the planet,” that “freedom” had arrived in Berlin, however it was once this experimental new DJ-led “gadget song” that in point of fact soundtracked the technology.

As Hoffmann notes in his exhibition, a complete era of Berlin clubbers “have not stopped dancing but”, some along their very own little kids now, at venues just like the world-famous Berghain.

Szary, who will carry out in London subsequent weekend, is sure you’ll nonetheless pay attention the affect of techno, breakbeat and ’90s Berlin in digital dance song (EDM) and the pop charts lately.

“It is a elementary a part of industrial song now.”

“It is a replica of a replica of a replica,” he laughs. “However the affect is at all times there.”

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