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Death of an icon – the art house Tacheles in Berlin is gone


Posted by | Evil Kristos | September 4, 2012 | No Comments

This morning the famous art house Tacheles saw the eviction of the last tenants. This marks the end of a legal battle that lasted for years. The eviction was announced for today and the last tenants handed over their keys without any further resistance. A bailiff and the lawyers appointed by the owner HSH Nordbank entered the building 8 AM this morning and afterwards sealed the building. About 50 sympathizers accompanied the action along with a small police contingent that was put on guard just in case. The protest remained peaceful.

This is the sad end of a true icon of the Berlin art scene and subculture. The former department store was in ruins when in 1989 the wall came down. East German artists saved it from demolition by squatting it. It quickly turned into a meeting point for artists and the members of the Berlin subculture. Word spread and the Tacheles soon became not only a popular spot for artists but a tourist attraction.

Situated at the end of Oranienburger Straße it was part and highlight of the so called Scheunenviertel. The area in the early 90ies was a colorful mix of bars, restaurants, galleries but also a popular spot for prostitutes. The area could be described as a showcase for the coolness and hipness of the new reunited Berlin. East Berlins artist and intellectuals met western liberty and found a very unique solution to the question of what to do with the new found freedom. Sure it was somewhat shady but it was also new and exciting. Tourists and Berliners alike loved it and the whole area turned into a magnet and must see in Berlin.

In the years to come most of the former East Berlin city center was modernized. So was Oranienburger Straße. Many of the locals, often long term residents fell victim to this popularity. What started with increased rents soon turned in to a model case for the gentrification of a whole district. Tacheles was probably the last remaining example of these glorious days that started in the 1990ies. To see it closing down saddens many locals even if they haven’t been there in ages.

The good old days, when Berlin was a hot spot for the creative starvelings, people with ideas but no money, when Berlin for a few years was home of the bohemian world, are obviously coming to an end.

Berlin may now be the creative heart and soul of Germany but I very much doubt it would be what it is without places like the Tacheles. The local politicians should be ashamed. It is hard to believe that they let an icon like the Tacheles die. As long as the can waste billions for prestige projects there should be enough money to preserve Berlins cultural heritage and identity.

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