Visitors are promised a taste of the newly reunited city’s 1990s underground music scene

The brainchild of the team behind Berlin’s nostalgia-drenched DDR Museum, Nineties Berlin promises thrill-seeking tourists a taste of the fabled parties of the 20th century’s last decade.

Visitors begin their interactive experience with a 16-minute film to set the scene. It’s 1990. The Berlin Wall has fallen, the east German state has melted away and many east Berliners who have left to seek new opportunity in the west.

Multimedia displays take visitors back to the Berlin of the 1990s.
Multimedia displays take visitors back to the Berlin of the 1990s. © Hayoung Jeon/EPA

“We often didn’t get any sleep,” remembers Kahlau. “Techno wasn’t really my thing. We threw parties of course, but they weren’t as excessive.”

Much more than the three-day-long raves, those who lived through the real 1990s Berlin say it’s the empty space they miss most.

“We felt freer because there was more space,” says Clarke, who remembers holding kids’ film workshops on urban wastelands that have since been blanketed with blocks of high-rise flats. “The space didn’t have a price on it, it belonged to everybody.”

Now, she says, the premium on living space has made Berliners more uptight. But Clarke, who remains active in the city’s vibrant theatre and arts scene, doesn’t think the story’s over. She’s learned to look beyond skyrocketing rents and the flood of designer boutiques, hipster coffee shops and foodie street markets.