Listen here to our Summer Special: Utopia!

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Utopia Special: Squirrel Bridge

Berlin's first squirrel bridge (Credit: aktion tier - menschen für tiere e.V.)

Berlin has always been famous for its bridges – from the iconic Oberbaumbrücke with its twin gothic towers, to Wannsee’s Glienicke Brücke, famously used for the exchange of spies during the Cold War. We found another to add to the list, a bridge unlike any other in the city. Thalia Gigerenzer reports on Berlin’s… Read more »

Utopia Special: Teepee Land


Sandwiched between techno clubs and new luxury apartment blocks, about forty people are living off the grid on a piece of overgrown wasteland formerly part of the Berlin Wall. But Teepee Land is not like other squats in Berlin. A story about life on the frontier, in the middle of the city. Thalia Gigerenzer reports.

Oliver walks through the hand-painted entrance of Teepee Land. (credit Nick Simpson)


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The walls of Flieger's teepee may be covered in animal skins, but he doesn't eat red meat and gets most of his fish locally: from the Spree. (credit Nick Simpson)

Everything in Teepee Land is built from found materials from construction sites and dumpsters. (credit Nick Simpson)


Roll from Lithuania is Teepee Land's mythologist and historian. (credit Nick Simpson)


Flieger founded Teepee Land after fleeing from another squat that had become violent. He was first taken to this abandoned wasteland by a Turkish belly dancer. (credit Nick Simpson)


The newly constructed stage hosts open mic nights and comedy events. (credit Nick Simpson)


At the entrance to Teepee Land are tents for guests and tourists. (credit Nick Simpson)



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Utopia Special: Holzmarkt

Holzmarkt sits right on the Spree near the Ostbahnhof (credit: Nick Simpson)

When the legendary Bar 25 (think Burning Man meets Studio 54) was forced to close in 2010, many thought it was the end of an era. But this year, against all odds, some of the founders are back with a 75-year lease, millions of Euros from investors, and a project called Holzmarkt. How did a group of eccentric… Read more »

Utopia Special: Bitcoin

Floor's Cafe Owner Florentina Martens paying with the bitcoin on her phone. (Credit: Nick Simpson)


The Kreuzberg neighborhood of Graefekiez boasts the world’s highest density of businesses that accept the virtual currency bitcoin. As Rachel Stern reports, the decentralized digital money is increasingly being used for social good in Berlin.

One of the bi-weekly bitcoin meetups at Betahaus (credit: Nick Simpson).


Floor's Cafe Owner Florentina Martens paying with the bitcoin on her phone. (Credit: Nick Simpson)


Berlin's Room 77 is famed for being one of the first businesses in the world to accept bitcoin (credit: flikr creative commons: .schtieF)


 

Utopia Originals: Brittani Sonnenberg, Gideon Lewis-Kraus and Malin Elmlid

The economic crisis has made some people believe that it is time for an alternative economy. Swedish expat Malin Elmlid started one of the most popular bartering projects in Berlin in 2010 – it’s called the Bread Exchange. She reads from her book, also called The Bread Exchange, which is being published by Chronicle Books this… Read more »

Utopia Special: Mindpirates

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Ralf Schmerberg, Director of the Mindpirates (Credit: Nick Simpson)


Credit: Nick Simpson


"Utopias are very fragile," says Ralf Schmerberg, head of the Mindpirates art collective. Pictured: the Mindpirates Vereinsheim. (credit: Mindpirates)


The Vereinsheim along the Spree, where the Mind Pirates have hosted events since 2009. (credit: Mind Pirates)

Utopia Special: Factory Berlin

Factory Founder Simon Schaefer (credit: Nick Simpson)

In an effort to develop more industry in Berlin, the city’s policy makers as especially supportive of projects to transform the city into Europe’s Silicon Valley. It’s perhaps no longer an impossible goal: According to an October 2013 McKinsey report, two new start up  companies are created in the city every day. In… Read more »

Utopia Special: Markthalle Neun

Sampling from the many international vendors at Markthalle Neun (credit: Nick Simpson)

In Berlin, it took a while for farm-to-table eating to take hold — artists don’t spend much money on food. But the revival of the historic Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg is slowly changing the way Berliners understand where their food comes from. Five years ago the run down but beautiful 19th century brick hall… Read more »

Map of Berlin’s Utopias

Entrance to Teepee Land (credit: Nick Simpson)

In our Utopia special, we examine seven utopian experiments in post-Wall Berlin, many of which literally emerged from the wasteland of the former death strip. You can find all of them on our handy map (click on the individual points for more info about each story): Berlin Stories Utopia Map Our Utopia summer special airs… Read more »