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Berlin in 2012: A Blizzard of Events and Celebrations

Saturday Jan 21, 2012
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BERLIN, Germany - Each year, the City of Berlin offers a growing list of festivals, parades, celebrations, and annual cultural highlights. In 2012, the German capital presents an extensive schedule of yearly festivities. Boasting over 1,500 events daily, the German capital promises an exciting event program all year long, from museum nights, and design festivals to symphonies, sports events, and outdoor fairs.

The following list provides highlights from the expansive annual events calendar, including the scheduled dates for 2012.

► Long Night of Museums
January 28, 2012 / August 25, 2012
Have you ever dreamed about spending the night in a museum? Berlin’s popular "Long Night of Museums" makes this dream come true: Around 100 museums, large and small, presenting established and new collections, open their doors from 6 pm Saturday evening until 2 am Sunday morning. Unique music, theater, and culinary events will enhance the permanent and temporary exhibitions and promise to make the nighttime museum visit a unique experience. With one ticket, patrons get unlimited use of a special shuttle bus service and admission to all participating venues and events. ( Lange Nacht der Museen).

► The 62nd Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)
February 9-19, 2012
The annual Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) is not only the city’s largest cultural event, but also one of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar. In 2011, nearly 20,000 film professionals from 116 countries, including about 3,900 journalists, were accredited for the Berlin International Film Festival. With more than 300,000 tickets sold, the Berlinale is not only a film industry meeting. It also enjoys by far the largest audience of any film festival in the world. Up to 400 films, most of them international or European premiers are shown every year as part of the Berlinale’s public program. For two weeks, art, glamour, parties and business meet at here. In 2012, Mike Leigh will be the Jury President of the Berlinale.

► Carnival in Berlin
February 12, 2012
More than 1 million spectators and participants are again expected to attend the 11th annual Berlin Carnival Costume Parade. With an expected 3,000 participants in 100 groups, 60 floats, and numerous marching bands, the frolicsome parade will start at 11:11 am, and move through the Western center of the German capital. More than 600,000 spectators, most of them in colorful costumes, line the streets every year to watch the parade and collect sweets.

► Festival Days at the Staatsoper Berlin
March 30 - April 9, 2012
A highlight in Berlin’s classical music calendar are the Staatsoper Festival Days, which will be presented at the Schillertheater and the Philharmonie in 2012. Every year, highly acclaimed artists present two opera productions plus several symphonic works. Highlights in 2012 will include the premiere of Alban Berg’s opera "Lulu", directed by the renowned Andrea Breth, as well as two works of Richard Wagner: "Das Rheingold" and "Die Walkure" as the first and second parts of a new production of the »Ring« cycle. General Music Director Daniel Barenboim will direct both operas, as well as three concerts at the Philharmonie with the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Filarmonica della Scala from Milan.

► Gallery Weekend Berlin 2012
April 27-29 2012
44 of Berlin’s most influential galleries open their doors to present contemporary art during this three-day event; art lovers, design fans, and curators can explore Berlin’s creative scene through numerous openings, guided tours, parties, and special events. Various galleries. Gallery Weekend

► Extended Opera and Theater Night: 1 Ticket, 50 Stages
April 28, 2012
During the Extended Opera and Theater Night, some 50 Berlin stages will demonstrate their variety, originality, and distinctiveness. From 7 pm until 1 am, they will offer a stream of short, approximately half-hour events allowing audience members to assemble their own journey of discovery through the Berlin opera and theater scene. The program offers not just "taster" visits for tourists and newcomers to the theater, but also surprises for ardent theater fans. Shuttle buses will carry visitors from theater to theater on seven different routes. The starting point and meeting spot is the Bebelplatz with an open-air stage, central box office, and information stand. Bebelplatz, Fifty Berlin Stages.

► Berlin Biennale at Kunstwerke/Institute for Contemporary Art
April 28 until July 1, 2012
The Berlin Biennale, organized every 2 years and one of the most important events in the contemporary art world, is taking place for the 7th time in spring 2012. The festival is dedicated to showcasing the latest works by a new generation of international artists and brings together numerous artistic and political positions. Curator of this year’s Berlin Biennale is internationally highly acclaimed artist Artur Żmijewski from Poland, who mainly works with social and political issues transformed into actions and films. One of the first artists invited to participate in the Berlin Biennale is Israeli-Dutch artist Yael Bartana. Bartana will further develop her project of the "Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland" (JRMiP), where she calls for the return of over 3 million Jews to Poland to re-establish the Jewish culture there.

► Carnival of Cultures
May 25-28, 2012
In celebration of the cultural and ethnic diversity found in the German Capital, the Carnival of Cultures will host about 1 million enthusiastic patrons in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. Presenting a colorful parade with over 100 groups, 4,000 dancers, singers and musicians from about 80 nations, the "Carnival of Cultures" has become one of Berlin’s most popular and highly anticipated annual events. The parade takes place on May 27 and is accompanied by a colorful street festival with performances, concerts, and food and drink from around the world.

► Classic Open Air Berlin Gendarmenmarkt
July 5-10, 2012
Classic Open Air Berlin, celebrated every summer al fresco at Gendarmenmarkt, the city’s most beautiful square, features all-time favorites in operetta, opera, classical and contemporary music. The 2012 program will be announced at a later time.

► DMY International Design Festival
June 6-10, 2012
Berlin has long been recognized as a center for contemporary design and in 2006 was awarded the UNESCO title "City of Design". The DMY design festival invites both young and renowned designers to present new design products and projects; the exhibition is accompanied by panel talks, discussions, and workshops that explore current topics as well as future trends of contemporary design. The central exhibition of the festival takes place at Airport Tempelhof.

► Lesbian and Gay Street Festival
June 16/17, 2012
Berlin’s Lesbian and Gay Street Festival has enjoyed growing popularity among gays and lesbians and with the public at large. In 2012, Berlin’s Rainbow Fund will present its 20th annual Lesbian and Gay Festival, which is the largest festival of its kind in Europe. Expecting some 45,000 visitors, the festival will again take place around Nollendorf Platz in Schöneberg district, one of Berlin’s traditional gay stomping grounds. There will be information booths, culinary treats, performances, and lots of music and parties.

► Fête de la Musique
June 21, 2012
Taking place every year on the day of summer solstice, this truly European music event celebrates the diverse forms of live music. Free concerts on over 50 (mostly open-air) stages throughout Berlin feature artists from all of Europe who play everything from klezmer and jazz, to pop and rock. Fete de la Musique.

Glitzy costumes, fantastic wigs, and brightly painted faces - Berlin’s Christopher Street Day will be celebrating its 34th anniversary in 2012. The popular event promises to attract hundreds of thousands of people to the German capital.

► Christopher Street Day
June 23, 2012
Glitzy costumes, fantastic wigs, and brightly painted faces - Berlin’s Christopher Street Day will be celebrating its 34th anniversary in 2012. The popular event promises to attract hundreds of thousands of people to the German capital to celebrate equality and tolerance for gays and lesbians around the world. LGBT residents and visitors can again expect to see some 50+ floats, and look forward to partying with half a million people in the streets between Kurfürstendamm and the Brandenburg Gate.

► Berlin Philharmonics Open Air at the Waldbühne
June 24, 2012
A cultural summer highlight is the open-air performance by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the Waldbühne Amphitheater, where the famous orchestra traditionally ends its season. In 2012, the famous Philharmonics will be directed by Seiji Ozawa, and the program includes music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

► 16th Berlin International Beer Festival
August 3 - 5, 2012
Move over, Munich! With the Berlin International Beer Festival, the German capital proves that it can hold its own, when Karl-Marx-Allee will turn into the world’s longest beer garden and bar. On a stretch of over one mile, 300 breweries from 86 countries will draft some 2000 brands of the world’s finest beers.

► Berlin Music Week
September 5-9, 2012
Berlin will become center stage for the international music world during this week-long event, which is many things at once: A music industry gathering and market place for professionals, conference and coaching platforms for musicians, and of course concert and music festival for the public. Events of the Berlin Music Week include the Berlin Festival in the hangars and the airfield of the historic Airport Tempelhof; the Berlin Club Night with 60 participating clubs welcoming visitors to Berlin’s legendary nightlife; the trade fair Popkomm, and the all2gethernow coaching platform for young talents.

► 6th Berlin Festival
September 7-8, 2012
Around 15,000 music fans are expected to attend two days of live music at the historic Tempelhof Airport, which turns into one of the most unique stages in the German capital. The 2011 line-up with 70+ bands included Beirut, Public Enemy, The Drums, Kruder and Dorfmeister, and many more. The program for 2012 will be announced at a later time. Berlin Festival.

► 39th Berlin Marathon
September 29 and 30, 2012
The annual Berlin Marathon is not only among the top five international marathon races; it is also huge folk festival that attracts visitors and competitors from around the world. The 42-kilometer route will span 10 districts throughout the city. In the past, the Marathon saw some 40,000 participating runners, 8,000 inline skaters, power walkers and wheelchair athletes representing some 90 nations.

► eat! Berlin Festival
Fall 2012
This festival celebrates the culinary scene of the German capital; Berlin’s best chefs, many of them adorned with Michelin stars, cook up special gourmet menus in restaurants and other unique locations throughout the city. The culinary events are co-hosted by German actors, musicians, and politicians, and music, literature, and films will accompany the dinners. The festival also hosts workshops, cooking and baking classes, wine tastings, and of course, parties. The grand finale of the weeklong event is the eat! Berlin Gala, where the most unique menu and program will be awarded. The date and program of eat! Berlin 2012 will be announced at a later time.

► German Unification Day
October 3
In celebration of the reunification of Germany, a large celebration is held each October 3 on the streets surrounding the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. Music fills the air with special stages set up featuring everything from classical to rock.

► Festival of Lights
October 2012
For two weeks each October, Berlin turns into a sparkling metropolis with a firework of illuminations during the Festival of Lights. The city’s most famous sights and locations such as the TV Tower, Brandenburg Gate, and Berlin Cathedral will be highlighted by colorful lights, projections, and fireworks, giving Berlin a magical glow. Complementing the festival are numerous cultural events, all focusing on the topic of "light". Special "lightseeing tours" are offered by bus, boat, or bicycle, and on the first Saturday of the festival many of the illuminated buildings host special events until midnight, during the "Night of open doors".

► JazzFest Berlin
November 1 - 4, 2012
The series of festivals in Berlin traditionally draws to a close with JazzFest Berlin , which will be held for the 48th time in 2012. The program focuses on big bands and large ensembles; alongside American jazz stars, the festival presents artists from around the world, whose music crosses the borders between local folk traditions and global sounds and trends. Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Quasimodo, and other sites.

► BerMuDa - Berlin Music Days
November tbd
Who needs sleep? Clubbers, ravers, musicians, and label managers can look forward to four nights of clubbing and electronic music. Berlin’s best clubs, including Berghain, WMF, and Watergate, invite electronic music aficionados to come dance and party. In its third year, BerMuDa is on its way to become a major international music festival.

► Christmas Fairs and WinterMagic
December 2012
The Yuletide season offers a wide variety of events and celebrations for visitors and Berliners. Beginning at the end of November, Berlin is home to about 60 Christmas markets, including Germany’s largest fair in Spandau’s Old Town, the historic market at Gendarmenmarkt square, and the nostalgic fair at the Opernpalais Unter den Linden. Holiday concerts, ranging from classical to vaudeville, enhance the spirit, while countless winter activities, such a tobogganing and ice-skating, make for unique urban winter experiences. More information and a calendar of events at http://visitberlin.de/en/feature/a-lot-of-christmas-celebrations

► New Year’s Eve at the Brandenburg Gate
December 31, 2012
New Year’s celebrations prove extra special in recent years when more than million Berliners and visitors gather at Brandenburg Gate to call in the New Year and witness a dramatic fireworks display. The party stretches along the Straße des 17. Juni all the way to the Victory Column, and features show stages, DJ towers, dance floors, a Ferris wheel, and delicacies from all over the world. An international stage program with live acts, famous rock and pop bands, and DJs will guarantee uninterrupted entertainment until the wee hours of the morning.

More information on Berlin’s expansive calendar of events is available at www.visitBerlin.com

This article is part of our "Summer 2012" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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