I stumbled across the Berlin neighbourhood of Wedding (pronounced Vedin) on an accommodation website when I was looking for a place to stay in Berlin. A photograph of an apartment in Wedding appealed to me, and Lothar, the host, had written a spiel about it being an undiscovered but up and coming area. Unfortunately, Lothar’s apartment was not available on the dates I was in Berlin, but it sounded like such a great suburb that I rented another apartment there.
I caught up with Lothar for a coffee during my visit. He told me that he bought an apartment in Wedding because prices had increased so fast in Neukölln (where he wanted to live) that he couldn’t afford to buy there. He now rents an apartment himself in Neukölln and rents the Wedding apartment out short term to tourists. It is rarely empty.
Wedding is an unpretentious suburb that is touted to become the new hip neighbourhood (‘hip-kiez’) of the city. It has, so far, avoided gentrification so its original working class character has been preserved, with architecture ranging from UNESCO protected blocks of flats and graffiti-clad factory buildings to elegant town houses.
Like most areas of Berlin, there are reminders of Germany’s twentieth century history. A section of reconstructed wall and a museum mark the western terminus of a refugee tunnel (one of the first to be dug underneath the Berlin wall), and in Humboldthain Park there is a partially destroyed anti-aircraft tower to explore.
Wedding is cheaper than most areas of Berlin (my apartment cost around £330 for a week), so it attracts an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, immigrants and students. But this gem of a place is not yet on the tourist trail … in fact, on my city map an insert of the airport plan completely covered the neighbourhood!
However, the excellent public transport system – my apartment had a tram stop right outside the door, and an underground station less than five minutes walk away – and Wedding’s proximity to the airport and Mitte (the historical centre of Berlin) make it well positioned for tourists.
Interest in the suburb is growing, with Bohemian restaurants, bars, galleries, clubs and cafés springing up in the unlikeliest places to serve the demand. A few of my favourite places were:
- Café Pfortner – which is located in an old bus depot and incorporates a bus in its seating plan.
- Resotto – this beer and soup café serves two types of soup daily (one vegetarian) and 17 types of beer!
- Vagabund Brauerei – Berlin’s first nano-sized brewery serving original styles of craft beer.
Make sure you go there soon before the secret gets out!