Nikolaiviertel ◆ presented by WBM Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Berlin Mitte

Neighborhoods in the light

Idea: Luminous stroll through Berlin's oldest city quarter

WBM Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Berlin Mitte stages one of its neighborhoods.


The Nikolai Quarter, right on the Spree River, is a festival fixture every year. It was rebuilt on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the city. Around the reconstructed Nikolai Church, an ensemble of historic town houses and new buildings was created on a medieval ground plan, making the Nikolai Quarter a real Berlin attraction. During the festival week, it invites visitors to take a walk through the historic surroundings and past atmospherically illuminated squares and facades.


The historic Nikolaiviertel has proved to be a crowd puller over the past few years. And rightly so: Because the many beautiful motifs and photo spots in the middle of Berlin and the inviting streets of the Nikolaiviertel result in an unbeatable "match". This year, the uniqueness of the Nikolaiviertel with its small, romantic streets full of interesting shops, cafés and restaurants will be staged, because this historical place is "simply magical". The productions are made possible by our loyal festival partner WBM, the housing association Berlin-Mitte.

The corner building with the striking Nikolaiviertel lettering is staged as the "gateway to the Nikolaiviertel". The still motif is deliberately reminiscent of Diagon Alley from the "Harry Potter" novels, except that the Nikolaikirche is at the end of the alley.

The street Am Nußbaum is also bathed in the sparkling glow of the TREE OF LIGHTS. Named after the oldest and again reconstructed Berlin restaurant "Zum Nussbaum", the residential street with its many small shops is an attractive attraction for tourists.

The light art installations bring former residents of the historic city center to life. Because the artist Alexander Reichstein believes that people never really disappear without a trace: "We can still hear words, footsteps and even breaths that were made a long time ago. People from the past wander through the park, meet in the street and enjoy the fresh air on the balcony.” In the UV light, the figures, which are bent from wire and sprayed with fluorescent paint, come to life like ghosts. These translucent figures merge with their surroundings and the old quarter becomes part of the work. The stylized figures are reminiscent of line drawings, but are three-dimensional.

The provost of the Nikolaikirche used to be on Probststraße, and the clergyman's apartment was also here. Today it is one of the many scenes in the quarter with culture, pleasure and commerce. Now in the festival, the glow of the TREE OF LIGHTS enchants the romantic street.

The artwork “WITH L.O.V.E. FROM NIKOLAIVIERTEL", a 4.50 meter high, bright red and luminous heart is presented in the front garden of the restaurant "Fischer & Lustig". It invites visitors to the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS to take a photo or selfie and send it around the world on social networks.


Visitors were greeted with a still projection on the prominent corner building on Rathausstraße, where the famous Nathan Israel department store once stood. Historical pictures of famous buildings of the quarter were shown, and the Berlin Bear waved to the arrivals from high above. On the house with the pigeon of peace, also located in Rathausstraße, the pigeon, based on a design by Pablo Picasso, was brought to life by means of a video production. The message "City of Peace" underneath was given to the former East Berlin in 1979 by the chairman of the World Peace Council Romesh Chandra.

In the Nikolai Quarter itself - in the Poststraße - there was to discover the historically recreated courthouse arbor with an artistic projections. This was illuminated for the first time in the festival. On display were well-known historical figures closely associated with the street. These include, for example, Giacomo Casanova, who resided here in the summer of 1764 at the "Gasthaus zu den drei Lilien". Or the Elector Johann Sigismund, who fled to the same house in 1619 to escape the White Lady and met his end - both could be seen on the projection motifs. The courtyard entrance next to the courthouse arbor was staged in corresponding shades of color.

A floating luminous band of red poppies stretched through the treetops of the street Am Nussbaum and Probsstraße, transforming into a dancing sea of flowers with every breeze. The art installation "Floraision" by the French artist studio Pitaya pointed the way to the attractions in the Nikolaiviertel. At the end of Probststraße, behind the Nikolaikirche, visitors* could literally dive into the effective light installation "Trees of Light", a work by Otto Events.

At the end of the unique walk through the Nikolai Quarter, it was worth taking a look at the New Stables, once home to around 300 horses, carriages and sleighs of the Imperial Court and today home to the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music. This year, the facade became a dance venue, with a collage of well-known and popular dance drawings by Berlin milieu painter Heinrich Zille. The cheerful dancers seemed to "sway" directly on the water - some of the spectators felt directly animated to join in.


Living and working in a historic quarter - the Nikolaiviertel is one of the most beautiful ensembles in the capital and is always an attractive visitor magnet.

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