2009: The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

photoThe original red Info-Box in 1998.
Larger view
Photo: H. Flippo

Today’s Berliner Zeitung has a story about the return of the red Info-Box to Potsdamer Platz for the 2009 anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. (Has it really been almost two full decades since that historic event?) The original Info-Box (also spelled “Infobox”) was visited by millions of tourists (including me) and Berliners from October 1995 until it closed on the last day of the year 2000.

Intended only as a temporary structure to help inform visitors about the new Potsdamer Platz complex, no one anticipated how popular the first big red cube would become. The Frankfurt architectural firm of Schneider + Schumacher designed a three-story container-like box on stilts — with panoramic views of the vast Potsdamer Platz construction site. Inside the pavilion there were films on video monitors, along with pictures and models of the project. In the end, the cube built on the former East German “death strip” became a huge tourist attraction. At least 25 couples chose to get married there.

The new info-cube is also red, but smaller than the original, and has a slightly different purpose: to tell how Berlin has changed over the past 20 years. Like the original, the new red cube has audio-visual presentations and interactive media. Of course, the really big “Grenzöffnung” (border opening) celebration will take place around the Brandenburg Gate on November 7-9, 2009. A huge “Fest der Freiheit” (Freedom Festival) will include a symbolic fall of the Wall represented by a display of falling dominoes on November 9. Before that, various other commemorative events will take place all across Berlin between January and November. The new Info-Box will stand on Potsdamer Platz until Easter. Two smaller “touring” Info-Boxes will be set up at various locations in the German capital. See the special www.mauerfall09.de site for more.