The 27 Things You Need to Do Before You're Considered a Berliner

All due respect to JFK, but being able to call yourself a Berliner requires more than just having a progressive Cold War foreign policy and a deep and unwavering love of delicious donuts. To truly be considered a TRUE native, here's everything you have to do...

Bio food

1. Know what "bio" means

Because eating organic and superfoods you can’t even pronounce is all the rage here. 

2. Spend a Sunday afternoon at Berghain

And don’t end up home until Monday morning. 

3. Lose any and all fascination in the shocking outer appearances of others

By now, you’ve seen so many facial tattoos, heavily pierced crevices, and shaved-up, tie-dye hairstyles that nothing really surprises you anymore.

4. In addition, become desensitized to random public acts of insanity

Because seriously, what haven’t you seen happen on the streets of Berlin?

Winter in berlin
Flickr/Andreas Levers

5. Suffer through a Berlin winter

Tourists are here for the summer, but braving the annual glacial epoch is a real testament to loving this city. 

6. Go to an open-air rave

There’s nothing better than electronic music in the sunshine.

7. Get yelled at by a motorist

Whether as a biker or on foot, it’s just no fun until someone rolls down their window and verbally accosts you in a language as frightening as Deutsch.

Flickr/Sebastian Thiele

8. Complain about gentrification

Even though you’re probably contributing to it, anyway. 

9. Say "scheiß" and "geil" habitually

You’re learning more German, but it takes time. 

10. Endure the local bureaucracy

From the Ausländerbehörde to anywhere that ends in “Amt," you’ve dealt with paperwork, queues, and appointments... and made it out alive. 

11. Give away stuff you don't use for free

In Berlin, books, furniture, and household appliances always come back in good karma.

Rolling cigarettes

12. Roll your own cigarettes... amongst other things

Because when you’re a broke smoker, that’s how to save a few bucks. Oh, and it's totally legal to possess 15 grams of marijuana here... in case you were wondering. 

13. Hit a WG party

It’s a Berliner’s rite of passage. Extra points if you've actually lived in one. 

protest berlin
Sergey Kohl /

14. Participate in a protest

Berliners are active citizens. There’s always a sit-in or demo to join. 

15. Drink a beer in the U-Bahn

Consuming alcohol in public is a privilege in this country. Take advantage. 

16. Master the art of online streaming

Because downloading in Germany is just bad news.

doner kebab meat
Shanti Hesse/Shutterstock

17. Nurse a hangover with currywurstdöner kebab, or a burger

Anything less greasy would just be more painful. 

18. Grumble about Sunday store closures

How amazing would it be if Lidl was open 24/7?! 

19. Get naked in a sauna or bathing area

Liberate yourself in what Germans adoringly call FKK -- “free body culture."

20. Walk around the Turkish Market

Don’t forget to watch the buskers.

elbud /

21. Have a picnic in a park

Three words: cheese, bread, and beer.

22. Go to a flohmarkt

Adorn your apartment with things so ugly they’ll probably be considered “retro chic.”

23. Check out a food event or pop-up

From Bite Club to Burgers & Hip Hop, the options are getting more plentiful and delicious these days.

berlin soccer fans
Dmytro Larin /

24. Watch a German national soccer team match

Snag good seats at the beer garden early and drink your way towards victory.

25. Hang out at Klunkerkranich

It is, unquestionably, Berlin’s most Berlin-esque rooftop.

26. Head to a nearby lake

Müggelsee and Schlachtensee are great excuses for an extended S-Bahn ride.

27. Watch the fireworks on Silvester

And then maybe set some of your own off.

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Barbara Woolsey is a Berlin-based writer who set off a rocket on Warschauer Straße on her first Silvester. It was badass. Follow her adventures around Europe on Facebook and Twitter.