'Berlin Story' shop and exhibition

  - darkometer rating:  1 -
UPDATE: the shop closed in January 2017! Apparently all efforts of the company that ran it are now concentrated on the bunker and just the publishing house (sans physical shop). The text below is thus outdated. I'll let it stand for the time being, but eventually it will have to be moved to the 'lost places' section ...
Primarily a multi-award-winning shop, offering the widest choice of books, maps, posters, films, etc. on the topic of Berlin anywhere. As a bonus, there's an exhibition, formerly housed in the basement of the main shop, now relocated to and expanded at the Anhalter Bahnhof bunker.
(Note: This place is not to be confused with the "Story of Berlin" experience exhibition!)  

>More background info

>What there is to see


>Access and costs

>Time required

>Combinations with other dark destinations

>Combinations with non-dark destinations


More background info: The Berlin Story publishing house, a private enterprise,  is the successor of a previous company that adopted the name of the shop when it took it over in 1997.
From humble beginnings, it has become a top address in Berlin – while actually moving its physical address repeatedly: first in 2000, then again in 2005 and in 2008  ... the flagship store's present location is at No. 40, Unter den Linden. Then in 2013 a second branch opened at the first interim location at No. 10, Unter den Linden. And indeed all that space is needed!
As a publishing house, the company releases between 20 and 30 new books of its own annually, and also stocks or makes available almost any publication on the topic of Berlin, making it the widest range on the subject worldwide, including imported foreign publications – over 10,000 titles in total.
These efforts have been rewarded not only with commercial success – the Berlin Story has also received numerous awards, including 'bookshop of the year' in 2004 at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
If ever commercialization is to be applauded, this is a prime example. I wish other cities such as Vienna had a comparable venture (a hint for imaginative entrepreneurs, perhaps?)
NOTE: the exhibition, formerly housed in the basement of the Berlin Story shop is now to be found at the bunker at Anhalter Bahnhof!
What there is to see: UPDATE: the shop has closed ... for good, as it seems. The text below is thus redundant now.
The shop offers a vast choice, possibly overwhelming for the first-time visitor. So bring time (and money!), you'll need it (both!).
The range of books on offer are partly from the proprietor's own publishing house, but also cover almost anything on the topic of Berlin that's in print, or on DVD or other media. And what's more, quite a good proportion is also available in foreign languages, with English naturally being especially well represented.
Apart from books and films there are also souvenirs available, including iconic 'buddy bears' in different small sizes. You can find the real full-size ones dotted all over Berlin. They've become a true icon of the city.
In addition, a 25-minute film, produced by Berlin Story and also available for sale in the shop, is screened (for free) to provide an account of Berlin's history (available in eight different languages).
For first-timers in Berlin this is a good concise intro, and for anyone with a deeper interest in Berlin, the shop is the No. One address for browsing for books, maps, etc. in any case. 
NOTE that the exhibition that used to be found at the flagship shop has meanwhile been moved to the Anhalter Bahnhof bunker. When I was last at the shop (spring 2016), some exhibits were still there, such as the original Trabbi (GDR-era passenger car) in front of a mock section of the Berlin Wall burst open, which served as a backdrop for countless selfies taken by tourists. But I'm not sure if this is still there or whether this car has now also been moved to the proper museum exhibition. 
Location: bang in the middle of Berlin's central district of Mitte, right on its main boulevard Unter den Linden at No. 40, and a second, smaller branch is located at No. 10, Unter den Linden.
Google maps locator (main branch): [52.5171, 13.3863
Access and costs: very easy to get to, free (to view – but take money for shopping).
Details: the location(s) could hardly be more handy for the touristic centre of Berlin, right on Mitte's main boulevard Unter den Linden, which always makes for a pleasant walk between the Brandenburg Gate and the Museum Quarter/Alexanderplatz. The closest metro stations are Brandenburger Tor (U55 and S1, 2/25) to the west on Unter den Linden, or Friedrichstraße (U6 and S1, 2, 3, 5 and 7/75), three blocks to the north along the street of the same name, or Französische Straße (U6), a couple of blocks south. Buses also provide very useful connections east and west (lines 100 and 200, as well as the TXL airport bus).
Note: don't confuse the place with the similarly named "experience" exhibition Story of Berlin on Kurfürstendamm in West Berlin.
UPDATE 1/2017: the shop has closed down!
Time required: very much depends … browsing time in the shop can easily take up hours if you're really interested in Berlin and its complex history! Others may pop in for only a quick look. But my guess is that most dark tourists will rather be in the former category.
Combinations with other dark destinations: The exhibition that was previously housed downstairs at Berlin Story has now been moved to the bunker at Anhalter Bahnhof
A number of dark-tourism attractions are within walking distance from the Berlin Story shop, e.g. the book-burning monument at Bebelplatz to the east, and a bit further on (opposite the Berlin cathedral) the GDR-Museum.
Heading west on Unter den Linden and through the Brandenburg Gate, you come to one of the Soviet War Memorials to the south of the Reichstag (beyond which some Berlin Wall relics can be found too), while to the south the Holocaust Memorial forms one of the prime dark-tourism sites in the city.
Straight south on Friedrichstraße the former Checkpoint Charlie area is now the main (commercialized) Berlin Wall tourism hub. West of that a stretch of original Wall can be seen. Behind that is the new Topography of Terror exhibition.
For more sites further afield see under Berlin in general.
Combinations with non-dark destinations: in general see Berlin – the location could hardly be handier for many of Berlin's most significant tourist sights: the Museum Island to the east or the landmark Brandenburg Gate to the west, to name but two. The street Unter den Linden itself is also the main tourist boulevard in Mitte these days.

© dark-tourism.com, Peter Hohenhaus 2010-2019

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