Berlin: An Introduction with John Owen - Context Travel

Berlin: An Introduction with John Owen


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Berlin is an unusual capital city. A glorified market town for much of its history, it only really grew and came to international prominence in the 19th century. Since then it has occupied a central point in world history as the setting for many major events in the twentieth century.

This introductory talk will look at the various different historical Berlins and see how a multitude of regimes reflecting an almost full range of political ideologies, including two of the world's most notorious dictatorships, reshaped the city to reflect their beliefs. After that, we will think about the modern city, using the description of its former mayor, 'poor but sexy', to think not only about why it fits into contemporary German politics, but also why it has managed to attract so many people from across Europe and the world to move there.

As a 'Wahlberliner' (Berliner by choice), John is also very happy to share his experience of living in the city and to explain what it is that has fascinated him about it from a young age.

John studied History and German at the University of Oxford, eventually specializing in German-Jewish history and the history of the Third Reich. He has been coming to Berlin since he was a teenager and moved to the city permanently a couple of years ago. The tangibility of history, especially that of the twentieth century, never ceases to thrill him in Berlin.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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