For 28 years, the Berlin Wall divided Berlin into East and West – for 28 years, Berlin and Germany have been reunited. For the celebration of the Day of German Unity 2018, there was no better place than the capital. On behalf of the Berlin Senate, Kulturprojekte Berlin conceived and implemented the three-day street festival as the centrepiece of this year’s celebrations.
600 000 people from Berlin, Germany, Europe and around the world celebrated freedom, diversity and democracy together from the 1st to 3rd of October. In this same spirit, Berlin hosted a three-day celebration that used history as an opportunity to examine the state of unity after 28 years and presented ideas for the future. Wherever it says Berlin, Berlin has to be inside: The capital represents history, creative culture, sport and innovation. This is complemented by the growing attractiveness of the bar and restaurant scene.
Many hundreds of partners, the staging, and the programme itself communicate this form of Berlin’s authenticity. The claim was set by the motto NUR MIT EUCH (Only with you): it embodies the design, implementation, and mediation of the contents which are all the result of a participatory process. At the same time, creativity and tolerance should reflect the character of the city. Located at historical sites of division and unity, the public celebration and the occasion itself took on new significance and garnered widespread attention.
The history of German unity showed that overcoming social and political fears – with all its associated difficulties, challenges and uncertainties – is profitable, reinforcing and promising for the future over the long term. Looking back at 28 years of German unity shows: it only works with the whole society, only internationally, only with you.
STREET FESTIVAL PROGRAM
This celebration of unity was being organised with the cooperation and support of more than 200 partners and institutions. The programme schedule was set to offer guests a number of exciting highlights, including a giant installation at the Brandenburg Gate created by worldrenowned French street artist JR, a 2.5-kilometre Band der Einheit (Band of Unity) featuring the names of all 11,040 municipalities in Germany, the premiere of “Grundgesetz” by the Maxim Gorki Theater and an open-air exhibition focusing on the history of the two Germanys titled “Halbzeit 1989/90 – Berlin zwischen Mauerfall und Einheit” (“In transit 89/90 – Berlin between the fall of the Wall and unification”). On and around the Platz der Republik, the 16 Bundesländer (federal states), Deutsche Bundestag (federal parliament), Bundesrat (federal council), Bundesregierung (federal government), Abgeordnetenhaus (Berlin house of representatives) and the Zipfelbund (“compass federation”), joined for the first time in the history of these celebrations to present their work together at one single location. The crowning finale of the three-day festival of unity came on the evening of 3 October at the Brandenburg Gate with #1HEIT – The Concert featuring socially engaged artists drawn from different musical genres, including Nena, Samy Deluxe and Namika, accompanied by the Beyond Borders Allstars and the Moka Efti Orchestra from the TV series Babylon Berlin.
A SELECTION OF THE HIGHLIGHTS
JR – INSTALLATION AT THE BRANDENBURG GATE
On the occasion of this year’s Day of German Unity, world-renowned street artist and Oscarnominated director JR transformed Berlin’s most famous landmark – the Brandenburg Gate – by way of an installation created exclusively for this special event. Roughly 28 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, JR used the symbol of German division to create a moment that embraces and reflects the fundamental spirit of this annual celebration, namely the longing for freedom, unity and democracy.
BAND OF UNITIY
The connecting element at this year’s street fest was the Band der Einheit – Band of Unity. This 2.5-kilometre installation comprising the signs of Germany’s 11,040 towns and cities weaved like a ribbon through the festival grounds. Installed in a row, one right after the other in alphabetical order, these yellow signs with black letters depicting the name and population of each German town created a unit that stretched from Aach to Zwönitz, from Chemnitz to München, and from Sylt bis Görlitz.
The visual highpoint of this year’s street festival celebrating the Day of German Unity was an installation by French street artist JR at the Brandenburg Gate. The musical highlight and final event took place on the evening of 3 October 2018 at #1HEIT – The Concert. The concert, that included acts like Samy Deluxe, Nena, Patrice, Philipp, Posel, Namika and Meute, put a sign for socially commitment and for the positive power that music includes. All of the artists taking the stage at the 1HEIT – The Concert raised their voices and worked to generate an open and tolerant society. At the same time, we had an actual historical event to celebrate, which is why the final concert on the evening of 3 October was also a huge party that everyone was invited to attend.