What is the symbol of Berlin? If you are unsure, then have a look around if you are ever in Berlin. You will see this bear that stands with its hands raised over its head at many, many locations. At first, I thought it was just the one. Then, you notice another. Then another. Then another. Then you figure out that there must be something to it. And then you find out the story of the Buddy Bears.
It all started with Klaus and Eva Herlitz who decided that Berlin needed a bit of street art. Bears was a safe choice and enlisting the help of artists, the Buddy Bear was born in 2001. About 350 of them were painted in different styles and placed all over the city. Initially, the bears were found in other poses but to me it appears that there was one clear favourite. After the event, the bears were sold with proceeds going to charity. And the new owners of these bears no doubt placed them in front of their premises all over the city.
I don’t know what to think of them. They seemed strange to me at first. But after a while, I guess they grew on me and it does brighten up the city especially some nondescript government buildings. Their pose also gives them a welcoming look. Then when it was time for us to leave, it grew on us enough that we actually got a Buddy Bear to take home with us back to Melbourne.