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The Houses in Berlin

One of the (many) things I love about the German language is how apartment buildings are referred to as “houses”.  For a language rich in precision, it’s surprising to me that there really isn’t another word that tries to distinguish a freestanding house from an apartment building (that I’ve ever heard, but correct me if I’m wrong).*  I kind of find this nice and quaint and homey.

In any case, I adore the houses in Berlin.  I love the old houses that have been lovingly restored to their former beauty.  I love the old houses that are falling apart and still have bullet holes from WWII.  I love the East Berlin Plattenbau. I love all of it, all mixed up together.

But as life turns out, Berlin will have to wait a bit longer to love me back.  I will be staying full-time in Bremen until I finish my PhD, and then my future is wide open to pursue my dreams anywhere in the world.  I haven’t given up completely on the idea of Berlin just yet, but will have to save her for another time and another way.

So in celebration of one of my favorite cities in the world, here is my short photographic tribute to the houses of Germany’s capital…

Prenzlauer Berg
Somewhere in Prenzlauer Berg
Friedrichshain
Somewhere in Friedrichshain
Gruenberger Strasse
Grünberger Straße in Friedrichshain
Prenzlauer Berg
Somewhere in Prenzlauer Berg
Neuenburger Straße
Neuenburger Straße
Alte Jakobstraße
Alte Jakobstraße
Prenzlauer Berg
Somewhere in Prenzlauer Berg
Across from the Berlinische Galerie
Across from the Berlinische Galerie
Friedrichshain
Somewhere in Friedrichshain

What do you think of Berlin’s architecture?  Love it or hate it?  Do you have a love affair with the houses where you live?  

For more posts on Berlin, check these out:

* Update: Okay, so Mehrfamilienhaus and Wohnblock do technically describe an apartment building, but I don’t feel like they’re used in casual conversation when talking about where you live.  Oder?

7 comments

  1. Traci says:

    I never got to see Berlin when I was in Germany, but the architecture seems vastly different from one building to the next. I love the history that some of them show – I bet those walls have some amazing stories!

    How much longer do you have in your PhD program? When you say “anywhere in the world”, do you have some ideas of where you’d like to go next?

    • Thanks for the comment! I hope that I can be all done (dissertation submitted and defended) by summer time. I’d love to stay in Germany if I can, otherwise perhaps the other German-speaking countries of Austria and Switzerland, or maybe the Netherlands, the UK, or Scandinavia. I really am allowing myself to keep my job search wide open!

      • Traci says:

        That’s great, Mandi! Switzerland is at the top of my places to visit list so I vote for that. ;)

        I look forward to seeing where life takes you next.

  2. Judith says:

    I love how Berlin facades are all so diverse and that history is part of daily life. For me it looks typically Berlin. I once read that you can determine in which city you are by looking at the precise shapes of balconies, façade details and windows. Paris or Barcelona or Berlin have very different proportions :)

    • Judith, I completely agree. Even compared to other German cities, the buildings in Berlin are so unique to the city that there is no question about where you are. And the same goes for other European cities, as you said. I love that they all have their own individual identities, just like human beings!

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