© Kulturprojekte Berlin, Foto: Oana Popa
© Kulturprojekte Berlin, Foto: Oana Popa

For one full weekend in 2012, Berlin celebrated its 775th anniversary, took a look back at its eventful history and called for even more tolerance and openness to the world.

The last time Berlin celebrated a ‘milestone’ anniversary – its 750th birthday back in 1987 – the Berlin Wall still divided the city in two. Twenty-five years later, in October 2012, when Berlin held its 775th anniversary party, it marked the first time since the fall of the Wall that all Berliners from Zehlendorf in the west to Marzahn in the east were able to celebrate a major anniversary together in a united, open and culturally vibrant European capital. The State of Berlin gave us the task of creating, organising and carrying out the celebrations surrounding the city’s 775th anniversary, and we took the opportunity to reflect on Berlin’s unique history and wealth of diversity.


A large walk-in Berlin city map at the Schlossplatz set up on a 1:775-scale attracted roughly 2,500 visitors. The map traced 800 years of migration by drawing on several authentic immigration stories. Visitors were invited to stroll through the space and learn more about the fate of immigrants to Berlin’s shores, including stories of exclusion, persecution, deportation and displacement. Today, the prominent Humboldt Forum stands on the very spot where the exhibition was set up, and it is now home to the “BERLIN GLOBAL” exhibition spotlighting the city’s multifaceted connections to the rest of the world.

© Kulturprojekte Berlin, Foto: Oana Popa

“Berlin always enjoyed its best days when it was an open city. Diversity is a key part of this city’s DNA.”

Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin, at the opening ceremony in October 2012.

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