Berlin, has many boroughs (there are 12) but one of the best ones is Neukölln. Maybe, most likely, I am a bit bias. I have lived in this wonderful part of this amazing for almost a decade.
So, let me start by explaining where exactly it is. It is located in the southeastern part from the city center.
It is characterised by having one of the highest percentage of immigrants in Berlin. In recent years an influx of students and creative types has led to gentrification.
But, this wasn’t always Neukölln. A while back it was an independent city known as Rixdorf.
During the 1920’s it was absorbed into greater Berlin as the 8th administrative district of the federal capital.
During WWII, the area was partially destroyed but maintained many of its historic buildings.
When the four power occupation took over the city, it fell under the American sector.
My apartment was always near the Berlin Wall (where it once upon a time was). The Berlin Wall (August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989) was bordering with neighboring Treptow, making Neukölln fairly isolated and adding to it being undesirable.
Due to this, apartment prices remained low and immigrants (many workers from Turkey) made a home here. It was identified as one of Berlin’s problemkieze (problem neighborhood). Nonetheless, students and artists followed.
A neighbourhood filled with diversity
It is a neighbourhood filled with diversity amongst its inhabitants. In some parts, stores have writing in German and Turkish.
But, time has gone by and there are a lot of english, italian and spanish speaking people. It is still multikulti (multicultural), but looks much different from it used to.
I have seen my share of changes and deep transformations and it has only taken a few years or in some extreme cases months, days or even hours.
As it turns out, Neukölln’s transformation is very much a reality, it’s just happening so quickly that not it is hard to keep up with it.
In Neukölln people can find organic café, galleries, pubs, miniature supermarkets, amongst others. Hybrid stores, kebab shops and laundromats.
Here, what once was abandoned has been recycled into something different, unique, imaginative and irresistible to explore.
Transformation in each corner
This is a place where transformation takes place in each corner. It went from a problem district to one of the hippest neighborhoods of Berlin is well known.
Neukölln lies southeast to trendy Kreuzberg and its population has increased.
The central part of this borough is made up from three areas:
Rixdorf: The traditional heart of Neukölln was once just a wayward village, but this is now the most grown-up section of the neighborhood.
Reuterkiez or Kreuzkölln: This area closest to Kreuzberg has been the first to experience the population explosion from the center. With the influx of new immigrants has come third wave coffee shops, uber trendy shops, and most expensive real estate.
Schillerkiez: Located along the western border, this is the current trendsetter in Neukölln. From here visitors have easy access to Tempelhofer Feld and Volkspark Hasenheide, as well as the grittier elements that made this area so desireable. The burgers here are to die for!
People tend to think that this center part is the whole of Neukölln, hen in reality it goes past the ringbahn and the motorway to encompass Britz, Buckow and Rudow. These quiet neighborhoods have a very different vibe than that of central party-centric Neukölln.
So, there are magnificent finds here. and, obviously no shortage of great activities.
Richardplatz, is what once was the center of this charming village. the oldest building in neukölln are here.
I will never get over the fact that Tempelhofer Feld exists. Once upon a time it was the other airport. As history progressed what to do with it became a dilemma. The options where many: Luxury condos, a space for refugees, or a recreation area? Lucky for the people of Berlin, it was decided by public vote to turn the enormous 386 acre field into a public park. Today, visitors can enjoy festivals, a community garden, grilling, sport on wheels of all sorts, or just the bizarre experience of walking down an airport runway.
Klunkerkranich: Among the many fashionable biergartens of Berlin, this relative newcomer might be the coolest. Discreetly located on top of the shopping mall Neukölln Arcarden, this roof top bar is an Instagram wonderland of rough-hewn benches, garden paths, sandpit for the kiddies, and spectacular views of the city.
Hasenheide: Another green space safely situated on the ground is the sprawling park of Hasenheide. Its the ideal place to lounge in summer or watch a movie at the sunken amphitheatre style freiluftkino (open air cinema).
Sonnenallee or “Little Beirut” is plagued with still an array of Lebanese/Palestinian/Iraqui-owned shops and restaurants that cafe to the Arabic clientele.
Schillermarkt is a quaint and tiny market located outside a picturesque church in Herrfurthplatz, in the belly of Neukölln. Despite the small size of the market, it is still an integral asset to the neighborhood that just about fills every niche. Schillermarkt packs variety, quality, and quantity into a small harbor of stands.
The fishmonger is a go-to favorite as he smokes his fresh fish on site in an adjacent smoking station. The high-caliber cheese stalls are also worth making a trip to. This place is superb fresh market shopping without the overkill.
The second-hand markets and good burgers
If there’s something I love about this city, Berlin, it’s the world around the second-hand market. Obviously, Neukölln, it’s not the expedition. There are clothing, furniture and disc markets.
And, when good music is really appreciated, vinyl records are almost a necessity. Previously I thought that being a second-hand record store, the vinyl would be in poor condition or a little damaged. The truth is, no. They are inspected previously, cleaned and exposed according to their gender.
I think some of the best second-hand stores in the city are in this great neighborhood. Some of them are: Second Hand 53, Veist Kleidergeschichten and Sing Blackbird.
The case of Veist Kleidergeschichten is unique. You can buy second-hand clothes but it is also possible to rent it for a limited time.
We have to admit that used clothing is entering all styles of wardrobes, ceasing to be a flea market exclusivity to be part a whole new concept of boutique.
Some will say it is pure nostalgia while others will argue that clothes are not made with the quality they used to have before.
I have come to believe that very few places in the world rival Berlin when it comes to vintage and second hand shops. They provide us all with the Berliner street style, known on the four corners of the world.
That is how it goes in regards to the second hand stores, but when tasing about food I must say that this neighborhood has amazing burgers and I love burgers.
Berlin has been carpet-bombed with new burger joints.
One of the most unbelievable places to eat hamburger is Berliner Burger International or BBI.
Berliner Burger international was founded in 2009. It is located on Pannierstraße 5. And, in addition to having a super relaxed atmosphere, with great music, the food is delicious. The burgers are very good in size, the ingredients are fresh, the French fries are giant.
Coming to an end
Just as general information, Berlin, is the third most visited city in the European Union and is located 70 km from Poland and is crossed by the rivers Spree and Havel.
The etymology of Berlin means uncultivable land or land that is disabled due to its marshy land. However, this city has cultivated infinite emotions, movements, ideas and possibilities.
Returning to Neukölln, we can say that it is “the land for the cultivation of the new, where everything is possible, you just have to think about it.”
Neukölln is an old and humble working class neighborhood where during the Second World War it was part of the American Sector. This neighborhood stands out for its offer of organic restaurants and its bars. It is full of immense and old houses. Perhaps for this reason the delicious Turkish restaurants and coffee shops abound where the coffee is excellent.
Next to the canal you can visit a Turkish market, Maybachufer, which opens on Tuesdays and Fridays called Maybachufer. The vintage market of Neukölln Flowmarket or you can also visit any of the several non-traditional art galleries.
Berlin and Neukölln, according to my opinions, are one of the coolest cities and neighborhoods there are. I know everyone says it’s New York or London (both cities are too interesting and they are really amazing) but since I have not lived in them and if I have done it in Berlin, for me this city has no comparison.