The new year has begun – and Berlin is already abuzz with vibrant arts, culture and events set to offer new perspectives on life and the city. From multi-disciplinary performance art to multi-generational dance-offs, this weekend’s events offer an array of thrilling and moving experiences designed to challenge your perspective, entertain you and make you think. Here are a few of the best.
Please note, that many places in Berlin are currenty open to vaccinated or recovered visitors only. Let us appeal to your sense of responsibility and help us to keep Berlin open! Get vaccinated if possible and follow the hygiene regulations of the organisers. Berlin is counting on you! #vaxnvisitBerlin
Tip 1: Monet's Garden
Immerse yourself in Monet's garden and let yourself be enchanted by the colorful worlds of color. The new 360-degree multimedia experience in the Alte Münze (Old Mint) takes you through the history of the founder of Impressionism. By means of elaborate projections, the pictures become a living environment. A multimedia experience in which you become part of the scenery yourself.
When: Monday to Sunday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Where: Molkenmarkt 2, Mitte
Tip 2: Discover music at the cutting-edge at CTM Festival
CTM Festival is a celebration of musical innovation and new ways of exploring sound in our world – and there’s no city better suited to host this than Berlin. The city has been home to musical innovators and radical thinkers for decades. Check out some of the latest sonic developments from a new avant-garde generation in the city this weekend. Alongside CTM Festival, Berlin will also welcome the opening of Vorspiel, a related programme of arts events.
When: all weekend
Where: venues across the city
Tip 3: Witness an incredible dance battle of the generations at Dance Me!
This weekend, two teams of outstanding dancers take to the stage at the Hebbel am Ufer theatre to bridge the generation gap through movement like you’ve never seen it before. Dance troupe She She Pop represents the old guard in this battle of the ages and faces off against young dancers in a thrilling performance that captures and celebrates the confrontation between generations. The two teams – who have rehearsed separately for the event so they can surprise each other with their finest moves – switch roles throughout, with young dancers making the music and getting on the mic while the older team takes the floor, and so on. Head to HAU2 this weekend for a dance-off between young and old that celebrates difference.
When: all weekend
Where: HAU2, Hebbel am Ufer, Hallesches Ufer 32, Kreuzberg
Tip 4: Discover the best new spoken word at GRIPS
GRIPS brings the best in theatre and performance by and for young people to the stage in Berlin – and this weekend, at its Hansaplatz theatre, you can hear what’s on young people’s minds at a poetry slam for under-20s. Teens and young people aged 14 to 20 will take to the stage for no longer than five minutes each and perform a piece of their own creation – whether it’s poetry, rap or something entirely unique. The audience will then decide on a winner. Word on the street is that this event is set to inspire and enthral in equal measure: don’t miss it.
When: Friday 21 January, 6 pm
Where: GRIPS Hansaplatz, Altonaer Straße 22, Tiergarten
Tip 5: Hear the latest contemporary music at Ultraschall Berlin
Neukölln is at the cutting edge of Berlin’s arts and events scene – and there’s no better spot to discover the latest in contemporary classical music. Head to Heimathafen this Friday to hear powerful new sounds from innovative performers at the top of their game – including conceptual work from genre-bending musician Zsolt Sörés, piano trio pieces with a unique twist and The New Recherche, a powerful ensemble presentation tackling the nature of gentrification.
When: Friday 21 January (with other festival events running in different venues across the city all weekend)
Where: Heimathafen Neukölln, Karl-Marx-Straße 141, Neukölln
Tip 6: Swing into 2022 at Jazzfest Neukölln
If you haven’t had your fill of the musical delights on offer in Neukölln, the annual Jazzfest is sure to put a swing in your step. This year’s vibrant programme brings together the best of jazz musicians from Berlin and beyond, featuring everything from big bands to soloists, veteran musicians to freshly-minted young talent. The instrument of the year for 2022 is the drum set, and the festival’s events all celebrate magical music that’s made behind the kit. Don’t miss a beat this weekend.
When: all weekend
Where: Kulturstall auf dem Gutshof, Alt-Britz 81, Neukölln
Tip 7: Open your eyes to global injustice with Ai Weiwei’s virtual reality art
Iconic artist and activist Ai Weiwei brings his first ever virtual reality masterpiece to the foyer of Berlin’s Humboldt Forum this weekend. The 12-minute immersive 360° film first of all tackles the plight of the Rohingya people, casting the spotlight on issues of migration and displacement in an immersive experience that places the viewer at the heart of lived experience – showing just how difficult everyday life is for displaced Rohingya refugees. The second part of the film depicts how elephants previously used for logging and their owners deal with a new hostile environment following restrictions on their former trade. The result is a powerful and immersive blend of art and activism. Head to Humboldt Forum to experience the moving and thought-provoking work of Ai Weiwei up close.
When: Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 January
Where: Humboldt Forum Foyer, Schlossplatz, Mitte
Tip 8: Discover the magical music of everyone’s favourite boy wizard – live in concert
The story of Harry Potter has captivated audiences on the page and on the silver screen – and this weekend, you can experience the music that made the movies so magical. An enchanting ensemble from the Cinema Festival Symphonics, led by iconic conductor Stephen Ellery, takes us on a captivating sonic journey through the soundtrack to all eight Harry Potter films. Combining magnificent live music from a choir, orchestra and soloists with visual effects and animations, this event promises to enchant eyes and ears. Don’t miss it.
When: Saturday 22 January
Where: Theater am Potsdamer Platz, Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 1, Tiergarten
Tip 9: See Berlin from a different perspective at a fascinating photography show
Artist Martin A. Völker brings his own unique perspective on Berlin to the city’s nüüd.berlin gallery this weekend. Taking its name from the Spirit of St. Louis, the aircraft in which Charles Lindbergh took his famous trip across the Atlantic, Völker’s #SpiritofStBerlin exhibition sees the city as its own kind of ocean, with waves of melancholy and beauty in the everyday. His stunning black-and-white street photography, presented here in five series, casts the city in a whole new light. Head to Mitte this weekend for a first look.
When: Friday 21 January and Saturday 22 January, 1 pm to 7 pm (exhibition runs until March)
Where: nüüd.berlin gallery, Kronenstraße 18, Mitte
Tip 10: Catch a magnificent winter’s tale at the Wintergarten Varieté
Capture a little of the festive spirit on this chilly January weekend and take your seats in the majestic 1920s-style, vaudeville-inspired surroundings of Berlin’s Wintergarten theatre for an incredible show. ‘Sterntaler’ is a fairytale spectacle that brings a classic Brothers Grimm tale into the 21st century with a modern retelling by Bijan Azadian, performed by an incredible cast of over 30 talented young artists from the CABUWAZI youth circus. Catch this heart-warming piece of winter magic while you can.
When: Sunday 23 January
Where: Wintergarten, Potsdamer Straße 96, Tiergarten
Tip 11: Discover a powerful performance exploring the impact of AIDS in the Middle East
In his moving show ‘Time of the Angel’, performance artist Enad Marouf tackles the impact of the 1980s outbreak of the AIDS epidemic on the queer community in the Middle East. This powerful work takes an intimate, fragmented and multi-disciplinary approach that foregrounds queer stories and tackles stereotypes while exploring the heart-breaking impact of the epidemic. Marouf combines video installation, movement and conversations with other artists to create a radical performance that captures the end-times feeling of life in an epidemic. Head to Festsaalfoyer this weekend to catch this powerful performance.
When: Friday 21 & Saturday 22 January
Where: Festsaalfoyer, Lehrter Straße 68, Mitte