Discover the Decades

A Brief History of Britons in Berlin

Berlin has always been a crossroads for travellers and British travellers were never an exception, either. The Centre for British Studies dives into the lives, struggles, identities and influences of Britons in Berlin, celebrating a 100-year time period starting from the Golden 20s to the 2020s. 

With a focus on the presence and contributions of British nationals in Berlin in the last 100 years, the exhibition looks at the impact various individuals have had on the city, as well as the opportunities that Berlin presented for British immigrants. With difference and controversy acting almost as guiding threads throughout our research, take a look at how the city has acted as a safe space for queer identities, the significance it holds for WWII survivors of the Kindertransport, at its physical and political divisions, at its relevance during the Cold War.

Learn how these episodes have been working on the British psyche and how they have influenced the social and cultural landscape, both in Germany and the UK. In particular, the reflection of this history in British art production, be it in music, literature or painting.

Alongside the historical perspective, find out about the present realities of being British and living in Berlin – a perspective which goes beyond the questions and uncertainties of Brexit. Instead, read a series of testimonials of diverse British nationals who have chosen to relocate to Berlin, and who have shared with us the significance of the city, of its streets, landmarks, nooks and crannies.

We hope to show how the significance of the city has evolved in the last 100 years. We also invite you to discover some of its literary gems and discover how literature can serve as a tool to learn more about both the city and the British community currently living in it.

Brexit

What would it feel like to have a say in the Brexit matter? You are about to find out! Participate in the democratic processes of voting and voicing your opinion on public matters. As firm believers in informed participation, it will be our responsibility to help you make your decision with a detailed presentation of the issue.

We would like to inspire your critical thinking skills and demonstrate how all forces affect voting by shaping ideologies. All you have to do is click, engage and focus on the future by discussing the question of ‘what happens next’!.

Learn more about Brexit

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Isherwood’s Berlin

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.”

With this passage Christopher Isherwood invites us into his novel Goodbye to Berlin. His modernist writing style is often described as “camera eye“ and “social documentary realism”. Isherwood himself however, challenged this notion of objectivity in interviews, accentuating that his feelings and “selfness” were clearly present in the novel. The author’s voice is channelled through the narrator-protagonist in Goodbye to Berlin. His personal revolts against family values and his homosexuality are evident in his writings.

Learn more about Isherwood