Thursday, 4 June 2015

The weekend in pictures: relaxation and inspiration in Berlin

From top left clockwise: view of the television tower (Fernsehturm); graffiti along the Spree river; ice cream at Gendarmenmarkt; 'Unity' in front of the Deutsches Historisches Museum; new ways of thinking about urbanisation and social pressures through the 'megacity' Dhaka; candy floss skies on the journey home.

Last weekend was a chance for me to catch up with my friends and family in Berlin, and it was so good to get away from the stresses of everyday life and spend time in such an exciting, inspirational and yet relaxed city. Although I know it well, having lived there for a year during university, I still love exploring new places and discovering hidden gems, as the city is always evolving.

My boyfriend and I did a little tourist tour round the art markets alongside the river Spree, before wandering around all the different museums on the Museum Island and finally ending up with some ice cream by Gendarmenmarkt. One brilliant new discovery was the Humboldt Box, a space for events and innovative exhibitions next to the Berlin cathedral, which intends to "act as a forum for debate and analysis of historical and current issues of global significance, viewed from a multitude of fresh perspectives." Current topics include population growth, the human life cycle, and - showing just how prevalent issues surrounding the global fashion industry have become - a special section on the 'megacity' Dhaka, which explores the rapid and often unsustainable urbanisation facing developing countries, specifically the "impact of climate and air pollution on health, and commodity chains in the leather and plastics industries".

Part of the exhibition exploring urbanisation, agriculture and global trade
For me, the exhibition was a great example of how Germany is leading the field in terms of attempting to tackle global environmental and social issues, and encouraging discourse between nations. I'm always struck by the country's progressive stance, which attempts to make society a fairer place for all and places a high value on health and happiness. I even noticed this in the airport, browsing for something to read on the plane, when I came across Slow - a brilliant new magazine dedicated to escaping the relentless pressures of modern life and taking time out to treasure the important things, covering topics as diverse as food, fashion, travel, interiors...and yoga! Unfortunately the magazine is only for German speakers, but I definitely think it's a sign of a bigger social movement - you only have to look at all the slow food markets in the UK and the growing ethical fashion community to see that people are starting to take a step back and think about the how they can start making an impact through what and how they buy.

I was sad to leave Berlin, but it won't be long before I'll be returning - see my post here on the Ethical Fashion Show, which takes place during Berlin Fashion Week from 8th-10th July.

Find out more about the exhibitions at the Humbolt Box here
It's Slow Food Week 2015! See the Slow Food UK website
Slow magazine blog (in German)

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