Journal Items

The Art of Berlin’s Counterculture

Right in the middle of Berlin lies the Haus Schwarzenberg – a place were you can still feel the rebellious spirit of house occupation after the wall came down. Haus Schwarzenberg apparently fits perfectly my concept of “Entropy”. The unplastered stone façade is crumbling and weed is growing out of the cracks. From murals and rusty metal sculptures in the yard to graffiti, stencils and paste-ups, this house is brimming with striking Street Art. It is like time stood still here, quite a contrast to the highly commercial Hackescher Markt next door and the gentrified neighborhood.


Haus Schwarzenberg is a very political place and the Street Art reflects that through protest messages and political posters. In the 1990s, Haus Schwarzenberg became the new “Republic of Schwarzenberg”. Originally the name came from a little town at the Ore Mountains, near the German-Czech border. After Germany’s surrender in the Second World War, the town remained unoccupied by Americans and Russians, which lead to a power vacuum. This episode lasted only lasted six weeks. Then it became Russian territory. Haus Schwarzenberg tells many stories of alternative lives and people walking their own paths. I felt immediately at home in this free space for creativity and utopian thinking, so I left a Monarch Butterfly on its wall. It is definitely a place where ideas get wings!