Tacheles – The History of Tacheles

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Tacheles

For many years, Tacheles was a centre of alternative art and culture on Oranienburger Strasse in Central Berlin. Since the summer of 2013, its new home is in Berlin’s Marzahn district.

For many years, the Tacheles art house in Central Berlin was home to numerous members of the alternative art and culture scene.

History of Tacheles

The building, on Oranienburger Strasse, only got the name Tacheles in the 1990s through an art project. It was part of the Friedrichstraßenpassage (“Friedrichstrasse Arcade”) department store built at the beginning of the 20th century, which stretched from Oranienburger Strasse to Friedrichstrasse. It was even used by the prestigious chain store Wertheim for a time.

When the Second World War broke out, the Nazis used the building; after the war, during the GDR era, it was used by the Freie Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund, the East German Trade Union Federation. Because it had been severely damaged during World War Two, the building was meant to be blown up in February 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. But shortly before demolition was due to take place, the building was occupied by the Tacheles Art Project. Instead of being knocked down, it was made a listed building.

Occupation by the Tacheles Art Project

As time went on, the name of the art project was applied to the building as well, and Tacheles gradually established itself as a permanent part of Berlin’s art and culture scene. Numerous studios, exhibition areas, a cinema, a bar and large spaces for concerts, readings, and so on made Tacheles a diverse and innovative place, and a magnet for Berliners and tourists.

Eviction

After an extension of the lease agreement between the group of artists and the owner was not granted, there was a long public discussion about the preservation of Tacheles, and the use of the building. Without success. Eviction took place in 2012.

2016: Renovation Begins

In 2016, Tacheles was on the verge of a new life. On 4th April 2016, preparations for the construction of a new urban quarter began in the area around the building, empty for four years. The area is to be renovated and be used for culture again in the future.

The New Tacheles

The artists have built a new Tacheles: at the Neue Börse Marzahn, a former cattle market, and on the Marzahner Chaussee street. Artists from France, Italy, India and Latin America have converted barns and sheds into studios, and the art project continues online.

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