One of the things on my “must see in Berlin” list was the Teufelsberg. A hill with a former listening post that was used by the NSA during the Cold War. Over the years the Teufelsberg became really run down, but in 2011 it “reopened” as a street art exhibition sight. Sounds amazing right? In this blogpost I will give you my honest opinion on whether to visit the Teufelsberg or not.
The Teufelsberg is located west of the city center, it is a bit of a hassle to get to. You can take a train from the city center to Heerstrasse, which will take you about 25 minutes. There is no further public transport to the Teufelsberg, so you can either walk for 30 minutes to reach the entrance of the Teufelsberg or you can take a taxi/Uber. We took an Uber as it significally reduces your travel time and because the road to the Teufelsberg seemed like a boring walk. Upon arrival you had to pay € 8 per adult to enter the (street) art exhibition. I was surprised to find a little museum dedicated to WW2 on the site, which was pretty interesting.
What I didn’t like about the Teufelsberg
I personally found that the Teufelsberg street art exhibition was having a bit of an identity crisis. On one hand the organization wants to offer the street artists an interesting location to showcase their art and it asks an entrance fee of € 8. It was pretty clear that the Teufelsberg is not a hidden gem anymore and was visited by a broad range of visitors, including your grandmother. On the other hand not a lot was arranged for visitors; there were two malfunctioning toilets, you could only get a few drinks and the place seemed to be kept run down deliberately. It was incredibly dirty, even for a street art exhibition and there was glass scattered everywhere. I cannot see how they can preserve this sight, with the incredible numbers of visitors and on the other hand not maintaining it. You could find some incredible art pieces, but the overall impression of the state and dirtiness of the sight decreased the experience. I cannot see how this would benefit the creators. It felt like the organization does not really know if they want to commercially exploit the Teufelsberg or if they don’t want visitors at all. If they want to commercially exploit this place, they should step up their game and let the street artists take center and preserve this place. They could learn from a visit to the fabulous Wynwood Walls in Miami. Or they should stop promoting it as a tourist site and let it fade into obscurity some more, so it will attract less mainstream visitors that might have different expectations. The last option is going to be hard, as the Teufelsberg has been discovered on Instagram and it is a very picturesque spot. In the end I was happy that we visited, as it is a very impressive location, but I didn’t love it the way I expected it to. Check out my pictures below and take note that it photographs “cleaner” than the location truly is. If you don’t love streetart, I would not recommend to visit.