Thursday 14 December 2023

French Influence in Berlin - Insider's Educational Nr. 6 in 2023

Insider guides were treated to a fantastic educational tour all around the historic district of Mitte exploring French influence in Berlin since the arrival of the Hugenots in 1685. At one time 1 in every 5 Berliners was a French Huguenot! Originally they settled in the Friedrichstadt area just outside what was then the city walls, now very much in the central area around the aptly named Gendarmenmarkt. The next great period of influence was Napoleon's reign over Berlin from 1806 to 1814. It was during this time that the Jewish community benefited enormously from the Emancipation Edict of 1812.

 French Bookshop on Friedrich Strasse

Galeries Lafayette

 French Church on Gendarmenmarkt

Plaque commemorating the welcoming of the Huguenots to Berlin and Prussia
The very beautiful Friedrichwerder Church, wonderfully resoted and currently an exhibition space and an oasis of calm in the bustling center of Berlin.

This was a hugely insightful tour lead by the fabuously knowledgeable and eloquent, Walter Kreipe.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Insider at Max & Moritz

'Bel Etage'
Compliments to the kitchen and staff of Max and Moritz for providing great food and excellent libations for the entire Insider team on Friday last. What a wonderful atmosphere to celebrate! Max and Moritz is a legendary Berlin culinary institution, operational since 1902. Think of all the changes it has seen in the last 121 years. We were all impressed by the high quality of food served and the top class service throughout. Max and Moritz is always worth a visit!

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Last Look into the Pergamon - Insider’s Educational Nr. 5 in 2023

Kudos to our guide Dr. Thomas James for managing to book one of the last guiding slots for Insider guides in the Pergamon museum before it closes for a min. of 14 years! Why so long? Well it all has to do with it being built on a swamp originally. Most of the next 14 years will be spent 'underpinning' this museum. We will dearly miss guiding groups there, as we now focus on creating a new tour showcasing all the other wonders of Museum Island. Stay tuned!

Thursday 29 June 2023

Annual Insider /Fat Tire BBQ 2023

What a wonderful evening we had, chillin' and grillin' with friends and colleagues. A big shout out to chief organiser, Grillmeister/King of Spatulas, and sports director for the evening, Mike Stack. We had perfect weather which at dusk brought out a swarm of June Bugs. Never heard of them before, now we're experts on them! Tempelhofer Feld - what a location. Get yourself down there. No other city center location can give you a horizon like on the photo above. For anyone unfamiliar with this location, here a snippet from Insider's CityGuide: 'This former airport is the coolest city park in the world. The Germans took a highly unusual step with this space after it stopped being used comercially - they left it alone. It is a massive 3.55Km², bigger even than Central Park. First used by the Knights Templar and later developed by the Nazis, this space was vital to the Allies in their bid to supply Berlin during the Cold War blockade of 1948-49. Now you can get fit, picnic, BBQ, and fly your kite where Orville Wright demonstrated flight back in 1909 - anything goes in this park!'

Thursday 27 April 2023

Humboldt Forum Again – So much to see, so little time. Insider’s Educational Nr. 4 in 2023

We decided to hold a second Insider educational at the Humboldt Forum because there were so many spaces not visited first time round. Remember this is a vast complex of museums and exhibitions. Our main focus this time was the Ethnological Collections and Asian Art Museum, the Ts’uu – Cedar Exhibition, the Benin Bronze Room, and the Against the Current, a North American Indian/First Nations Exhibition.
Starting outside with the Sanchi East Gate replica. Sanchi is a Buddist complex north east of Bophal city in central India. The original Gate/Stupa is from the 2nd or 3rd century BC. The replica you see on this photo was created from a gypsum relief made on site in 1886. This replica now depicts the Gate detail much better than the original which has deteriorated due to pollution over the years. It is a nod to the collections inside the Forum.
A Haida Manga Mural by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas This mural depicts, in great detail, the history of Michael’s first nation tribe through the ages. Historically correct, tragic with humour, colourful, ethnic and very beautiful, it is an shining example of the many truly fascinating exhibits in this exhibition.
The Long Houses of Oceania The first of these original houses were shipped to Germany over 100 years ago. Some are the best examples of long houses from this period, as none now remain in their home countries. There is one you can climb into and it is really popular with kids. All in all, another fascinating tour through time with tour guide extraordinaire, Tarek Ibrahim. As said in the previous post, this is a big diverse complex of wonders - pick you topic and have fun!

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Humboldt Forum – A Lesson in Contradictions, Conflict and Compromise. Insider’s Educational Nr. 3 in 2023

Access to the rooftop is (still) free and easy to organise (book at reception), even last minute. You get a fabulous view over Berlin. From here you can really see how the modern city radiates outwards from this point. There is a rooftop restaurant/café, an excellent place to mark sundown.
Hofgespräche. With our Insider guide extraordinaire, Tarek Ibrahim, we discuss the vision for the Humboldt Forum. The past is fairly clear but the present, not so sure. Is it a musuem, a site for culture and science exchange and debate, Prussian nostalgia, Imperial prunck, historical revisionism, a modern palace of wonders, take your pick, or all of the above. The debate continues.
Room with a view. Get a look at the ruins of the bombed out cellars of the original Hohenzollern Palace.
19th century hot water pump from the cellar palace - the latest technology back in the day.
Massive dual purpose art and information display in the grand foyer, it should really be one or the other.
Changing dome images of celestial formations, traditional and religuous design, dieties and iconoghraphy from different cultures worldwide.
Praying For Myriad Virtues: Ding Guanpeng’s “The Buddha Preaching”, from 1770, Quing dynasty.
Under Japanese Roof. Although the vision and theme of the Humboldt Forum remains elusive, the building excites and the exhibitions therein excel. The range is diverse – Berlin 90s, Hohenzollern palace culture, Ethnological Museum, debate space for culture and science, Museum of Asian Art, architectual features, restoration and replacement, visiting exhibitions, live performances, an ice cream parlour, it has it all. It can be overwhelming. It will keep changing. Our advice would be to plan your visit – chose what you want to see, and enjoy Berlin’s newest attraction!

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion and Reconciliation. Insider's Educational Nr. 2 in 2023.

The long name to Berlin's newest and most excellent documentation/exhibition centre reflects some of the conceptual stages it went through from 1993 to its opening in 2021.
Insider Tour guides were treated to an eye-opening and thoughtful tour of the exhibition by their wonderful guide, Emma.
The first floor chronicles refugee causes and experiences world wide.
The second floor deals almost exclusively with the estimated 12.5 million Germans who were expelled and displaced from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and other countries at the end of WWII. During that post-war time of total devastation and hunger, these refugees added approximately 20% to the German population between 1945 and 1950.
This is a modern, well displayed exhibition with many multimedia interactive features. All text displayed is in German and English. Admission is free. Group tours with a max. of 15 pax can be arranged for approx. €75. Definitely well worth it!

Friday 13 January 2023

German Military Capitulation 1945 - Museum Berlin-Karlshorst. Insider's Educational Nr. 1 in 2023

Entrance to the museum proudly flying the Ukarinian flag!
This museum was originally called the 'Museum for the unconditional surrender of facist Germany in the great Fatherland War 1941-'45'. Later the museum was unofficically called, the 'German-Russian Museum'. Right now it is, Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, like it was in 1995.
Room where the German military high command signed the unconditional surrender of Germany on May 8th 1945!
Originally there were only three flags, the French flag was added later, it is s a great story, go to the museum and find out why.
'Your Deed is Important' Kneeling Red army soldier, paying respects to the fallen during WW2
Chicago Daily Tribune, 1st Sept. 1939. The WAR has started.....
German map of concentration of resources in the Soviet Union.

Stained glass portrait of a Soviet soldier from the memorial in Treptower park Berlin.
Anti-Hitler Coalition, great Soviet propaganda.
Original situation map of Berlin's defences on April 29th 1945 found in Hitler's bunker. All in all it was a great afternoon spent with our super guide, Anja. Go to the museum, it is free and is the location where one of the most important events of the 20th century took place!