The Oberbaumbrucke is the main bridge between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. 364 days a year crossing this beautiful bridge to the other side of the Spree is a great thing to do. But once a year nobody cares about the great architecture, the small towers and elegant arches. Once a year all hell breaks loose.
Veggie fight at Oberbaumbrucke
Dug! Too late. An overripe tomato splashes right in your face. Quickly, wipe the juice out of your eyes. From the other side of the bridge a new batch of tomatoes is coming your way. Grab some stinky grapes, eggs, flour or apricots and start throwing, before you will end up like a big smelly rotten tomato.
Don’t worry. 364 days a year the Oberbaumbrucke is a safe place to cross the river Spree from Kreuzberg to Friedrichshain and back. But once a year it is war between the two Berlin districts. All hell breakes loose during the ‘Wasserschlacht’. “Better stay off the bridge if you don’t want to get dirty” the organizers of the ‘Wasserschlacht’ say. “Water, flour and anything wet and slippery is allowed to throw with.” No wonder the people who take part of the Wasserschlacht look like they went swimming in a large bowl of tomato sauce at the end of the veggie and fruit fight.
So why would any sane person take part in the ‘Wasserschlacht’ like they call it. Easy. Imagine what it is like to be divided from your neighbor district not only by the river Spree, but also by a large, ugly wall for many years.
More than a hundred years ago when the Oberbaumbrucke was created, the people from Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg could dance to the other side of the river to see what was going on in their neighbourdistrict. They were really happy with the new, beautiful red bridge with its nice round towers and elegant arches.
But during the Cold War the Oberbaumbrucke lost its function and the people from Friedrichshain could not cross to Kreuzberg at the other part of the river Spree. They were cut off from each other.
When the Berlin Wall fell, they were of course really glad they could cross their beloved Oberbaumbrucke again. But the two districts also became united politically. Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain are now one district. And although they are very much alike, because they both are rough and vibrant area’s, they are also big rivals.
The best way to fight your rival and ‘occupant’, is of course by organising a ‘Wasserschlacht’. Nothing better than to throw a stinky tomato in the face of an ‘occupier’ from Kreuzberg if you are living in Friedrichshain. Or a smelly egg on the cheek from your neigbour in Friedrichshain when your home district is Kreuzberg.
The battle has taken place since 1998 but this year was more exciting than the other years for two reasons. One reason: Kreuzberg beat Friedrichshain the year before and were very eager to win again. They wanted to retaste the victory. Reason two: the costs to clean the environment of Oberbaumbrucke after the battle have to be paid in advance. In order to let the fruit and veggy war continue, a few more bucks needed to be collected. But apparently, enough cash was gathered, because the veggie fight was on. And, Friedrichshain won. Kreuzberg has to lick their wounds for another year!
Wasser Armee Friedrichshain
Wasser Armee Friedrichshain tries to beat their rivals at Kreuzberg during the yearly Wasserschlacht at the Oberbaumbrucke
Kreuzberger Patriotistische Demokraten/ Realistisches Zentrum
It is quite a mouth full, but KPD/RZ is not a political party but the fanatics that desperately try to win from the ‘occupants’ from Friedrichshain during the Wasserschlacht.
More Friedrichshain on Place to be:
At Friedrichshain there is still 1.3 kilometer of painted concrete at the East Side Gallery. Including beautiful art works of the Trabant and the ‘deathly kiss’ of Soviet Leader Brezjnev and East-German leader Honecker. Although a lot of artwork has been restored a couple of years ago, recently a building company tore down a few slabs of Berlin Wall to make way for a luxurious apartment building near the river Spree.
This part along the river Spree is R.A.W. Raw, because this area in Friedrichshain is half in ruins and covered with beautiful graffiti. And raw, because it used to be the ReichsbahnAusbesserungsWerk. In the good old times 20.000 people worked here on the mighty steel of the trains.
the Karl Marx Allee is a street you will never forget after you’ve seen it. If you walk along Karl Marx Allee you’ll feel small like an ant. The buildings are called workers palaces. And like castles made by the rich and famous, they are also lavishly decorated and made to impress and make people look small and humble.
Friedrichshain has a lot of groovy, interesting bars. Students know their way around this area to go clubbing and dancing in Berghain and Cassiopeia. But Friedrichshain has more to offer. For example bars where you can buy the furniture you sit on or home made beer, lemonade, cakes and cider. And others where you can dance as well as play table football.
In Friedrichshain you can find no nonsense food for bargain prices. Even the local bakery near Boxhagener Platz makes really good cheesecake. Not a coincidence. This square buzzes with great little restaurants from all over the world.