Visiting it together with a group of bloggers from all over the world made me realize how magical the spirit in this building is. You hear the mixed sounds of classical music from the district’s music school, people chatting in the fantastic restaurant and kids playing in the courtyard. The atmosphere and the contrast between modern art exhibitions and the little, historical details, like its preserved pharmacy, make this place really worth visiting.
Passing through the lobby and into the kitschy, colorful hallways, the Kreuzberg feeling may come back to you. The art exhibitions that take place there are very often quite interesting, and I think it is really remarkable that they often don’t charge any entry fee.
For summer inside Kunstquartier Bethanien’s courtyard, they set up a massive screen, a decent projector and hundreds of deckchairs. Every night one film from their really great selection is shown, beginning at dusk. It’s a great chance during the few summer to catch films from the past year months on the big screen under the stars.
It also hosts a public printing studio in the cellar. It is the most extensive, non-commercial artistic printmakers’ workshop worldwide. All printing techniques such as screen printing, offset printing, etching, woodcutting, lithography and photography can be performed here, as well as combinations of these. Papermaking, bookbinding, catalogue printing, book printing, and video and digital technology are also available. It’s a real blast for all the creative people in the district to be able to meet and work here.
Recommendable is also the café/restaurant, 3 Schwestern (3 Sisters), that has been open since the end of May 2010 in Bethanien‘s former casino. It has a very nice beer garden in the courtyard open in summer. Eiscafe Kleine Schwester (“little sister” ice cream parlor ) at the building’s entrance is also frequented by passing kids and families. There is an all-around selection of food and drinks on offer here, and occasionally concerts, live acts and evening events are also hosted.
I think this place does not simply recharge the city because so much goes on here and because it offers so many possibilities. Its wonderful exterior and interior foster creativity day by day, and it shows how well historic sites can be used. Hopefully the Senate of Berlin will continue to support it and not shut it down.
Headerimage by Simone Sbarbati