Every year on October 3rd, all of Germany celebrates a very special public holiday: the reunification of Germany, uniting the former GDR with the Federal Republic of Germany. In German, the holiday is called 'Tag der deutschen Einheit.' After the Berlin wall fell on November 9th 1989, marking the end of the Cold War, both the countries set up the Unification Treaty and signed it on year later. Today, October 3rd is not only a national holiday and a day of remembrance but also the ideal time to follow along the footsteps of this time rich in history.
Join the celebrations
Every year, the German Unity Day is celebrated with 3-day long festivities including ceremonies, concerts and church services that are organized by different cities each year. However, Berlin always celebrates the anniversary with a ‘Bürgerfest’ at the Brandeburg Gate. In addition to a main stage at the Brandenburg Gate, the entire festival area consists of two other stages, carousels,
Large and small actors from the fields of art, music, comedy, poetry slam and theatre will present themselves at the family festival. The musical programme presents the city's diverse cultural offerings in their entire range from classical music to street music and rising newcomers. In the close by Tiergarten, children and families can entertain themselves with a child-friendly programme and participate in hands-on activities.
The festival is further accompanied by several independent festivities. Listen to a classical concert at the State Chapel or join Berlin’s choirs and sing along with them in the Nikolaikirche. From exhibitions to concerts, cabaret to the ‘Day of Club Culture’ – Berlin’s a conglomeration of culture, history, remembrance and music on October 3rd.
The DDR museum offers a fascinating glimpse into everyday life under the former regime of the German Democratic Republic, or GDR, through interactive exhibitions. The museum consists of 47 themed areas spread across 1000 m2, making it the largest, most interactive and diverse exhibition focusing on life under the GDR in Berlin.
The museum lets you take a look into a reconstructed East Berlin apartment where you can learn more about the day-to-day life under the communist regime, watch local news in an original cinema, dance to East Germany's answer to rock-and-roll and discover. This unique visitor experience makes the DDR museum not only one of the most popular museums in the city but it also engages all the senses of its visitors.
East Side Gallery
Located on the Northern side of the Spree, lies the East Side Gallery, the longest open-air exhibition in the world and the longest preserved part of the Berlin Wall in one piece. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, 118 artists from 21 countries redesigned the 1,3 kilometers long piece of the former Death Strip.
The artistic paintings include the famous portrait of the ‘Bruderkuss’ between Breschnew and Honecker, for example, painted by Russian artist Dmitri Wrubel. Today, the gallery is both a symbol of joy over the end of Germany’s division as well as a historical reminder to the gruesomeness of the GDR regime.
Berlin Wall Memorial
Located in the middle of Berlin on Bernauer Strasse, the Berlin Wall memorial is one of the key memorial sites of German separation and its victims. The open-air exhibition is 1,4 kilometers long and extends along the remains of the Berlin Wall, showing the last pieces of the border strip with the preserved grounds behind it.
The open-air exhibition consists of four different sites: Monument in Memory of the Divided City, the Victims of Communist Tyranny, the Window of Remembrance as well as the Chapel of Reconciliation and the excavated foundations of a former apartment building whose façade functioned as the border wall until the early 80s.
Overall, the memorial gives an impressive insight into how the fortifications were set up and how they affected both the people in East and West Germany, deepened by commemorative events, exhibitions, educational work as well as publications.
Checkpoint Charlie & Mauermuseum
Checkpoint Charlie is one of Berlin’s most famous attractions. The former border checkpoint used to be the most famous crossing point between East and West Berlin, connecting the sector of the USA and the Soviet Union.
Today, everything around the checkpoint is still in its original place – from the barrier, checkpoint booth and flag to the sandbags. It is both a symbol of global unity and division. It is not only an important site of the Cold War but also commemorates those who tried to spectacularly tried to flee the GDR and failed or succeeded as well as the numerous confrontations of the blocs that took place here.
Close by lies the Mauermuseum – Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie that gives a close up glimpse into the chronology of events surrounding the checkpoint and the experiences of GDR citizens who fled, often with quite inventive hiding places and escape routes. It was founded shortly after the Wall by resistance fighter Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt and has not documented its impact ever since but also documented and supported flight plans.
Die Mauer Yadegar Asisi Panorama
At the Asisi panorama close by to Checkpoint Charlie, you can experience the day-to-day life in the shadow of the former Death Strip. This fascinating 360° panorama exhibition was created by artist Yadegar Asisi and taker you on a journey through time, giving you a realistic view into this almost absurd reality on a 1:1 scale.
See the Wall through the eyes of a Kreuzberg resident from the Western side, discover houses occupied by punks, artists, and tourists but also border guards near the Death Strip and discover Asisi’s private photo collection of the night the Wall fell.
BlackBox Cold War
The BlackBox Cold War is a multimedia exhibition with 16 media stations full of photos, videos and fascinating exhibits dedicated to the Cold War and the German separation. Just a few meters away from Checkpoint Charlie, the black, box-shaped building immediately stands out.
The exhibition reflects on the bloc confrontations between 1945 and 1990, acting as a flight recorder and giving and up-close and personal insight into the era. Learn more about contemporary history through interviews with witnesses and historical film clips as well as unique and fascinating exhibits such as the model of a Soviet T-62 tank or radiation dosimeters.