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Berghain - Panorama Bar 2017.jpg
The Berghain nightclub building
Berghain is located in Berlin
Location within Berlin
Former namesOstgut (1998–2003)
AddressAm Wriezener Bahnhof
LocationFriedrichshain, Berlin, Germany
Coordinates52°30′40″N 13°26′35″E / 52.51111°N 13.44306°E / 52.51111; 13.44306
Opened2004; 18 years ago (2004)

Berghain (pronounced [bɛʁkhaɪn]) is a nightclub in Berlin, Germany. It is named after its location near the border between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain in Berlin, and is a short walk from Berlin Ostbahnhof main line railway station.[2] Founded in 2004 by friends Norbert Thormann and Michael Teufele,[3] it has since become one of the world's most famous clubs,[1] and has been called the "world capital of techno."[4]


The sign for Ostgut

Thormann and Teufele became party promoters in the 1990s,[citation needed] hosting a male-only fetish club night called Snax, which launched in 1992 at Bunker.[5] In 1999 they founded their first club, Ostgut, in a former railway repair depot in Friedrichshain. Unlike Snax, the club was open to the general public. According to Deutsche Welle, Ostgut, "known for unique parties and boundless freedoms, sexual and otherwise, is considered to have paved the way for Berghain."[6] Ostgut closed in January 2003, with the building slated for demolition and later replaced by a large indoor arena, the O2 World Berlin (since 2015: Mercedes-Benz Arena).[3]

Berghain opened in 2004 as a reincarnation of Ostgut.[7][8] The name "Berghain", a portmanteau of the two city quarters that flank the south and north sides of the building, Kreuzberg (formerly in West Berlin) and Friedrichshain (formerly in East Berlin), has been described as evocative of the club's "post-1989 identity."[5] The literal meaning of the German word Berghain is "mountain grove."

The club is located in a former heating plant built in 1953 as part of the flagship post-war Stalinallee development[5] and abandoned in the 1980s.[1] The space was originally rented from the energy company Vattenfall[9] but has been owned outright by the club since 2011.[10] The building has a cavernous main room with 18-meter ceilings and is dominated by steel and concrete. The design of the club's interior, as well as later interior and exterior expansions of the venue, were carried out by the Berlin design firm Studio Karhard.[11] Only half the building is in use.[when?][4]

In 2016, a German court officially designated Berghain a cultural institution, which allows the club to pay a reduced tax rate.[12]


The club's main room is focused on techno, with a smaller upstairs space, Panorama Bar, featuring house.[4][13] The basement holds a male-only establishment called Lab.Oratory, which Rolling Stone described in 2014 as being "known as Berlin’s most extreme sex club."[14][1]

Berghain has a Funktion-One sound system on its main dance floor which, when it was installed in 2004, was one of the company's largest club installs.[15] The Panorama Bar was upgraded in 2017 with a four-point line-array system with an additional six subwoofers from Studt Akustik.[16]

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, in March 2020, Berghain closed along with all other nightclubs in Berlin.[17] Over the summer, it hosted several sound art installations inside the building and the adjacent beer garden.[18] In September 2020, the indoors club reopened as an art space, hosting an exhibition titled "Studio Berlin" featuring 115 Berlin-based artists including Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson and Wolfgang Tillmans.[19][20][21] After 19 months, in October 2021, Berghain resumed indoor dance club events, with patrons still required to either be vaccinated or to have recovered from COVID-19.[6]


Berghain has become associated with decadence and hedonism. It is open continuously most weekends from Saturday night through late Monday morning.[22] The club offers dark rooms dedicated to sexual activity, and the media repeatedly reported of guests openly indulging in sexual acts.[23] In 2019, Frieze magazine observed that while in Berghain's early years, "the main room was mostly a space for gay men, [...] now its queer palette is more mixed [but] the club’s values remain the same: concealment, queerness and excess."[5] The twice-yearly Snax Party is reserved for gay patrons.[24]

No photos are allowed inside the club, with patrons required to cover their smartphone cameras with a sticker.[3] The policy was maintained in 2020 when the club temporarily converted into an art space for the "Studio Berlin" exhibition during the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] In the toilets of the club there are no mirrors, so that guests are spared the "buzzkilling indignity of seeing their own faces after an epic partying session."[1][4]

The club's door policy is notorious for being both strict and opaque,[25] generating occasional accusations of racism[12][26][27] and frequent debate and speculation about how to get in.[28][29][30] While in some countries it is a crime denying anyone's entrance to a nightclub (potentially classified as segregation, discrimination or prejudice),[31] this pratice is common at Berghain. Head bouncer Sven Marquardt, who is also a photographer, is a minor celebrity in the techno scene.[32]

Record label[edit]

Panorama Bar resident Cassy

In 2005, Berghain's owners started a record label, Ostgut Ton,[4][33] conceived by former Ostgut resident DJ Nick Höppner after Ostgut's closure in 2003.[34] Its first releases were by Berghain/Panorama Bar DJ residents such as Marcel Dettmann, Cassy and Ben Klock. The label's music is mostly techno, tech house, Detroit techno and minimal techno.

In 2007, Berghain collaborated with the Berlin State Ballet to create Shut Up and Dance! Updated, a ballet for five dancers that was performed at the club in late June and early July that year.[35][36] The ballet's soundtrack, released on Ostgut Ton on May 29, 2007,[36] is made up of five specially composed tracks by prominent minimal techno artists, such as Luciano, Âme, Sleeparchive and Luke Slater (The 7th Plain).[37] The soundtrack received some positive reviews,[33][38][39] while the ballet was less well received.[40]

In October 2010, the label released a five-year anniversary compilation, Fünf, for which field recordings from within the club were used. Nick Höppner explained that the idea had come from his collaborator Emika on "a regular Sunday morning [at Berghain, where] she noticed how everything in the building was resonating and vibrating and swinging and humming–she realized that there were a lot of sounds coming from the building itself. That led to the idea of doing field recordings within the building while it's not open to the public."[34]

In the same 2010 interview, Höppner stated that Ostgut Ton was turning down many recordings because there are "so many in-house artists", while the label at that time was selling more product than other labels, but not generating much profit.[34]

In 2021 ARTE Concerts produced a series of three videos at the Berghain and released it on YouTube.[41]


DJ Magazine's top 100 Clubs[edit]

Berghain first entered DJ Magazine's Top 100 Clubs list in 2008, ranking 20th, and reached the top position the next year.[42]

Position by year[edit]

Year Position Notes Ref.
2008 20 New Entry [43]
2009 1 N/A [44]
2010 8 N/A [45]
2011 6 N/A [46]
2012 13 N/A [47]
2013 18 N/A [48]
2014 14 N/A [49]
2015 13 N/A [50]
2016 16 N/A [51]
2017 12 N/A [52]
2018 10 N/A [53]
2019 10 N/A [54]
2020 8 N/A [55]

International Dance Music Awards[edit]

Year Category Work Result Ref.
2010 Best Global Club Berghain - Berlin, Germany Nominated [56]
2012 Nominated [57]
2013 Nominated [58]
2014 Nominated [59]
2015 Nominated [60]
2016 Nominated [61]
2020 Nominated [62]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 2013, American pop star Lady Gaga hosted an event at Berghain promoting her techno-inspired album, Artpop[63]
  • In the TV series Sense8 one of the characters, Riley Gunnarsdóttir, played by Tuppence Middleton, is admired for a recording of a DJ set she made in Berghain.[citation needed]
  • In 2016, American comedian Conan O'Brien attempted to gain admission to Berghain while filming a travel episode of his television show Conan, but was denied and asked to leave due to the presence of his camera crew.[citation needed]
  • In 2017, the card game Bergnein was released, a satirical card game where the goal is to "Let the right people in, outshine your colleagues and win the game!"[64]
  • A character in the 2021 film The Matrix Resurrections, has a series of tattoos on his arm of the Berghain logo.[citation needed]
  • In the 2021 television series Gossip Girl, Max Wolfe is said in the pilot episode to have visited Berghain.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Rogers, Thomas (2014-02-06). "Berghain: The Secretive, Sex-Fueled World of Techno's Coolest Club". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  2. ^ Panoramabar: Berlin's Underworld | XLR8R Archived 2008-02-08 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c Paumgarten, Nick (16 March 2014). "Dancing Through Berlin". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  4. ^ a b c d e Sherburne, Philip (2007-05-09). "The Month In: Techno". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  5. ^ a b c d Cagney, Liam (2019-12-20). "Berghain at 15: What Next for Berlin's Legendary Nightclub?". Frieze. Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  6. ^ a b Wünsch, Silke (2021-10-02). "What makes Berlin's Berghain club special". Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  7. ^ andrew. "Ostgut, Berlin — Discopia". Archived from the original on 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  8. ^ "Berlin electro club Berghain turns two". The Berlin Paper. 2006-12-16. Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  9. ^ Andreas Tzortzis (1 May 2007). "In Berlin, art among the ruins". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  10. ^ Balzer, Jens (2012-08-15). "Berghain: Dies wäre Ihr Klub gewesen". (in German). Retrieved 2016-07-09.
  11. ^ Phayouphorn, Anna-Maria (14 February 2017). "Karhard. "Mut zur Eleganz"" [Karhard. „Courage to be elegant“]. Groove Magazin (in German). Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  12. ^ a b Thaddeus-Johns, Josie (2019-11-14). "Anything Goes in Berlin's Clubs. But Are Bouncers Killing the Vibe? (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  13. ^ "New Cassy mix captures Panoramabar". Resident Advisor. 2006-07-09. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  14. ^ "Lab.Oratory Berlin". Archived from the original on 2019-12-03. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  15. ^ Mahrt, Emin (August 2011). "The Story of Funktion One". Proud Magazine.
  16. ^ "Berghain's Panorama Bar Has A New Soundsystem". Electronic Beats. August 2017.
  17. ^ "Berghain cancels all club events until late April amid coronavirus concerns". 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  18. ^ "Berghain is hosting limited-capacity "sound exhibitions"". 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  19. ^ a b Bradley, Kimberly (2020-09-04). "While Berghain Is Closed, There's Art on the Dance Floor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  20. ^ Barrell, Sarah (2020-11-19). "How Berlin's infamous Berghain nightclub has reimagined itself in 2020". National Geographic UK. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  21. ^ "Berghain to open as art gallery in September". 2020-08-14. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  22. ^ Pidd, Helen (9 January 2008). "Last night a cellist saved my life". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2014. Berlin's Berghain club is known for many things: its hardcore opening hours (starting from Saturday it stays open until Monday noon), its DJs (who play some of the best techno in Europe), and its relaxed attitude towards sex in public (walk past the booths on the ground floor and you're sure to see a bare bottom or 10).
  23. ^ Battersby, Shandelle (2006-10-19). "Ich bin ein NZer". The New Zealand Herald.
  24. ^ "Live from Berghain [Snax Party] (30-03-13)" (Audio upload). Dustin Zahn on SoundCloud. SoundCloud. May 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  25. ^ "Poll Clubs 2016: Berghain / Panorama Bar". Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  26. ^ "READ FELIX DA HOUSECAT'S TWITTER RANT IN FULL". 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-05.
  27. ^ "Is racism threatening Berlin's "utopian" club culture? - INDIE". INDIE Magazine. 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  28. ^ "This website simulates getting in (or not getting in) to Berghain". Fact Magazine. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  29. ^ Dundon, Alice (7 November 2017). "These 11 Secret Things Will Help You Get into Berghain". Culture Trip. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  30. ^ Campbell, Scott (2016-02-05). "Berghain: how to get into Berlin's most exclusive nightclub". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  31. ^ Retrieved 2022-06-17. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ Helm, Burt (25 July 2015). "How the Bouncer of Berghain Chooses Who Gets Into the Most Depraved Party on the Planet". GQ. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  33. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2007-08-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ a b c "Marcel Dettmann, SCB, Tama Sumo and others all contribute tracks to the Berlin label's new compilation". Resident Advisor. Resident Advisor Ltd. 26 August 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  35. ^ "Spielplan Spielzeit 06-07". Staatsballett Berlin. Archived from the original on 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  36. ^ a b "Shut up and dance". Resident Advisor. 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  37. ^ "Various Artists – Shut Up And Dance! Updated". 2007-06-07. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2007-08-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ Macpherson, Alex (2007-05-25). "Various Artists, Shut up and Dance!". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  40. ^ Janet Leyton-Grant; Enrico Nawrath (27 June 2007). "Shut Up and Dance!". Resident Advisor. Resident Advisor Ltd. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  41. ^ "BERGHAIN - Der Club in Berlin | Portrait & History" (in German). 2021-12-16. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  42. ^ Christopher Lawton (27 June 2011). "The Berlin Night Life: Dark...and Cool". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  43. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2008". DJMagazine.
  44. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2009". DJMagazine.
  45. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2010". DJMagazine.
  46. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2011". DJMagazine.
  47. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2012". DJMagazine.
  48. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2013". DJMagazine.
  49. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2014". DJMagazine.
  50. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2015". DJMagazine.
  51. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2016". DJMagazine.
  52. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2017". DJMagazine.
  53. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2018". DJMagazine.
  54. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2019". DJMagazine.
  55. ^ "Top 100 Clubs 2020". DJMagazine.
  56. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-09-02. Retrieved 2018-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  57. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2018-11-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  58. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2018-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  59. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2018-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  60. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2018-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  61. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2018-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  62. ^ "IDMA 2020 winners announced: Avicii's 'Tim' named as the best album". April 2020.
  63. ^ "Spiegel".
  64. ^ "Bergnein".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°30′40″N 13°26′35″E / 52.51111°N 13.44306°E / 52.51111; 13.44306