Berlin: The IB Guide

by Sara Motlik

If you are planning a trip to the capital of Germany and you’re not quite sure what to do, this semi-academic guide categorized by IB subjects might just be the thing for you. So sit back, relax, and try not to stress out about the Extended Essay or predicted grades, because this is Berlin – The IB Guide.

English Literature

Location – Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus

Friedrichstraße 90, 10117 Berlin

To what extent are you a bookworm? If the answer to that knowledge question is “to a very large extent”, do read on. With a wide selection of German as well as foreign literature ( including a surprisingly wide array of English language books), the Dussmann Kulturhaus is likely to have what you are looking for. You can spend a rainy afternoon cradled in one of their comfy window seats with a great book, or get lost in the selection of CDs and vinyls, indulging in the works of your favourite artists. The Dussmann Kulturhaus caters to everyone’s needs.

German Language B

Apart from massive department stores and other shopping facilities of the kind, Berlin also has plenty of smaller bookstores on side streets all around the city. Some of them offer antique books while many others are more contemporary. If you look closely, you can find interesting titles in English too. If you are taking German as your IB language B, you might want to test you skills in a real life situation by having a conversation with the shopkeeper in German.  

History

When it comes to IB subjects,history is the best one to explore in Berlin – the city lives and breathes it. There is SO much to cover in this field, from tracking the route of the Berlin Wall to visiting the Brandenburg Gate or paying respects at the European Holocaust Memorial in the town’s centre.

Location – Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin

When visiting this memorial, please pay attention not to walk on the dark gray concrete slabs of varying sizes, as they represent the victims of the Holocaust. This is particularly important as many tourists do not realise that and start sitting or stepping on the slabs. There is also a museum located under the field of concrete shapes, which explains how the Holocaust occurred in Berlin as well as how the memorial itself came to be.

The German Historical Museum
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Photo by Sara Motlik

Location – German Historical Museum

Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin, Germany

This museum is particularly worth visiting if you are interested in European and specifically German history. It offers an overview of 1500 years of Germany’s history including important people, events, and ideas. Topics include German colonialism, the Weimar Republic as well as the Nazi regime. If these are things you would like to learn more about, the German Historical Museum is the place to visit.

Biology

biology

Location – Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum)

Invalidenstraße 43, 10115 Berlin

Berlin’s natural history museum could be particularly interesting for those passionate about biology, especially evolution. The museum focuses on adaptive radiation, speciation and other evolution-related topics and offer some interactive exhibits for a more hands-on experience. There is plenty of information to absorb, so I would recommend planning around 2-3 hours for an extensive tour. Audio guides are available in several languages including English.

Art

The East Side Gallery. Photo by Sara Motlik
The East Side Gallery. Photo by Sara Motlik

Location – East Side Gallery

Mühlenstraße, 10243 Berlin

The East Side Gallery is a landmark for freedom and symbolizes the end of German (and European) division. It is the world’s longest open-air gallery and consists of a segment of the Berlin wall which was painted and graffitied on throughout the time of the the Berlin division between 1961 and 1989. The images to be seen on it range from simple spray painting to high-class pieces of art that have become famous around the world, often including political cartoons and commentaries.

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