Berlin wall - East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

The Berlin wall has a long history and this is a good thing. However, would it not appeal to you to also see a piece of this rich historical, famous and infamous wall close up and maybe even touch it? If so then the East Side gallery is the right place for you, because it is here that German history becomes alive!

It is essentially an open air museum which is made of the longest preserved original piece of the Berlin wall. In total the section of wall is approximately 1.3 kilometres in length. The East Side Gallery was opened in 1990. It is located about halfway between the Ostbahnhof (train station) and the Oberbaum-bridge. Meanwhile it has been officially listed as a protected site.

East Side Gallery

The art work, East Side Gallery however does not just consist of a simple piece of wall. Rather it is the colourful and unusual drawings on the wall which really turn the entire thing into a real work of art. Already by the end of 1989, in the context of merging the two artist’s associations BBK and VBK, concrete plans about the development of a piece of Berlin wall into an art work, were made. In the end the ideas of David Monti were implemented whose vision was for this piece of wall to represent the first piece of ‘all-German’ art. With this in mind artists from around the world were commissioned to provide individual paintings on sections of the wall.

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In 1990 the art pieces were finally done, so allowing the East side gallery to open on the 28th September of this same year. It quickly became one of the most visited places of the German capital. However a problem that arose over the years was the onset of weathering of the rocks and naturally with this came the destruction of the individual paintings. In order to halt this process the “East Side Gallery Artists initiative e.V” was established in 1997; an association dedicated to caring for and preserving these works of art. The plans to rescue these paintings immortalised on the wall took a lot of time, so it was only in the year 2000 that the practical work could be started. As part of this the concrete surfaces were smoothed and coated in a special varnish which should both prevent any further weather erosion and also to counteract any defacement caused by graffiti which was constantly sprayed over the actual paintings.

East Side Gallery

Due to limited means however, these preventative measures have not been implemented on all of the parts of the wall in the East Side Gallery. Consequently, these parts are still subject to weather erosion and are not expected to last much longer.

Furthermore the East Side Gallery has for several years been threatened by various building projects.

As a result it has already been broken up by an approximately 50meter wide passageway, which was created as part of the construction work for a new event-hall called “O2 World”. In this context further such disputes are to be expected in the future

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