For techno heads and casual travellers alike, the city of Berlin is pretty much synonymous with epic, raucous, unfailingly eclectic nights out. So the fact that its clubs have been shut since mid-March feels incredibly jarring.
As lockdown has eased across Germany over the past couple of months, some of the capital’s clubs have found a new, socially-distanced life as summer beer gardens. And now, in an effort to properly revive Berlin’s usually-thriving nightlife industry, the city authorities are calling for major outdoor spaces to turned into open-air venues which struggling clubs and other nightlife venues could rent.
City economics minister Ramona Pop has sent a letter to district mayors asking them to put forward streets, squares and parks that could make appropriate venues. ‘Berlin misses its diverse club scene,’ she told the Berliner Morgenpost last week. ‘That’s why… we want to create legal opportunities to party in public areas for clubs and Berliners.’
Pop added that she hoped the makeshift venues would get up and running over the coming weeks, ‘as the summer months are of central importance for open-air parties’. The initiative is thought to be a response to a rising number of illegal raves taking place in and around the city in recent weeks.
Berlin has already handed out €30 million (£27 million, $35 million or A$49 million) to support its arts and nightlife venues, with its culture ministry promising to double that figure over the next two months. Venues including ://about blank, Tresor and Kater Blau have received an average of €81,000 (£73,000, $95,000, A$132,000) each to help stay afloat.
It’ll be a long time yet before they can reopen fully, but thanks to the council’s latest pledge, many of the city’s cutting-edge clubs could well reappear in some new, exciting outdoor form soon – and perhaps even before the summer’s out. Huge one under the stars? Count us in, Berliners!
How other cities are adapting: