Berlin 1st Hand — Bernd Gutberlet

Berlin is more of a continent than a city – what Jean Paul wrote 200 years ago is to the point more than ever. To discover the city a local pilot helps a lot. Being knowledgeable, entertaining and dedicated, I will bring you close to the city and make your visit unforgettable!


Camera: Martin Schmidt |Directing, Editing: Lars Weinzierl |Music: Wolfgang Lohr


Berlin – always on the move

In the past 25 years Berlin has developed a breathtaking dynamics. Experiencing a boom since the wall came down in 1989, visitors from all over the world come to see. To get the picture complete, however, a bit of history helps a lot. In more than 800 years since its foundation, Berlin had a fascinating history: Whether medieval commercial town or a phoenix after the Thirty Years War, whether capital of the Prussian kingdom or of the German Reich – or since reunification. There’s a multitude of traces that complete the Berlin experience of an exciting present.

Let me be your personal Berlin guide!

Being a Berliner for almost 30 years, as a writer-historian I have been tracing the city’s fascinating history ever since. For 10 years I have been guiding around Berlin. The biggest praise for my city and me: “We have to come back sometime soon!” In my tours I let history come to life again: The past is nothing dry and boring when told colorful and linked to the present. Let me show you around Berlin, tailor-made, authentic, and knowledgeable – and always with a shot of good humor. I do also tours around Potsdam, the beautiful spot just a half-hour ride from the centre.

Tours

The Berlin experience

Tours

There are many ways to discover Berlin. I offer general sightseeing tours as well as a wide range of special historical and district tours. See yourself what might be best for you or send a request of whatever meets your interest!

The Berlin experience

Berlin’s diversity is uncovered in very different places: at Alexanderplatz, the big town square both honest and difficult; or in the elegant shops at Kurfürstendamm; on Prenzlauer Berg’s busy playgrounds, Kreuzberg’s Turkish market, in pompous Stalin Avenue or on the recently closed-down Tempelhof airport. And then at dawn at Brandenburg Gate, at sunset on the Reichstag dome or on Kreuzberg’s Admiralbrücke, or Berlin nights at Schlesisches Tor or Neukölln’s Westerstraße.

 

A Berlin visit gets complete when past and present get together. City tours can be bus or walking tours or walking tours combined with public transport. Whether general sightseeing tour, district or historical tours, whether special focus or overview: My tours are customised to your interests and expectations. See some suggestions from my repertoire:

Historical walks

District tours



Potsdam



The Latest

Bernd Gutberlet

Books | Articles

Books | Articles

The past might be what happened already, but that does not make it dead and irrelevant. What happened once is the present’s prelude, that’s why history has a lot to tell to us today. This is my profession and passion: To let the past become alive again and make people curious and start getting fascinated.

History Alive

History has to be neither boring nor dry, but can be exciting and entertaining – and it’s telling lessons for present and future. Also it is, although past and therefore immutable, brought to live by looking at it from the present. This view back into the past depends on the position and standpoint of those looking backward.

 

For the past 20 years I have been writing books to bring history closer to my readers. I don’t write dry scientific stuff barely readable, but also no books that abuse history for the thrill of it. My books are in-between: on scientific grounds, but at the same time colorful and entertaining.


Spione überall: Wie Spitzel und Agenten Geschichte machten

Irrtum! 50-mal Geschichte richtiggestellt

Ganz Berlin in 7 Tagen.
Ein Zeitreiseführer in die kaiserliche Reichshauptstadt

Grandios Gescheitert.
Misslungene Projekte der Menschheitsgeschichte

Friedrich der Große.
Eine Reise zu den Orten seines Lebens

Tempo.
Wie das Auto uns verändert hat

Der Mayakalender. Das größte Rätsel einer Hochkultur

Die Neuen Weltwunder. In 20 Bauten durch die Weltgeschichte

Die 50 größten Lügen und Legenden der Weltgeschichte

Die 33 wichtigsten Ereignisse der deutschen Geschichte

Die 50 populärsten Irrtümer der deutschen Geschichte

Faszination Kaffee.
Eine Reise durch die Welt des Kaffees.

Die 50 größten Lügen und Legenden der Weltgeschichte

Der Mayakalender. Das größte Rätsel einer Hochkultur

Die Neuen Weltwunder. Grandios Gescheitert


Articles

In many articles for magazines I try to mediate history as I do in my books: colorful, solid and entertaining. For some years I have been contributing to the bi-monthly Berlin&I on the city’s past and present.

 

Every two months a new side of Berlin: Walks in town or in the outskirts, articles on city history, architecture and Berlin’s development in more than 800 years. Take a read!


25 Jahre Mauerfall

Spiegel Geschichte

Berlin in the Imperial Era

Happy 775th, Berlin!

On your bike! Wannsee daytripping

Kennedy in Berlin

Third time lucky

A stroll through the Old West

Following in the tracks of the U1

Remembering the terror

Diversity Destroyed

Happy birthday, Fritz!

Explore the government district

Berlin cemeteries

Nov.9, 1989 The happiest day

Feedback

Reviews

Feedback

My guests come from around the world — sometimes single visitors, sometimes families, small or bigger groups; tourists, students or business people. Whether walking or bus tours, whether in a limousine or by public transport: My tours are always tailor-made to your expectations. Read the feedback of some of my clients.

27+28/10/2018

Dena

Los Angeles

The Briens and The Schechters just spent two truly delightful days with Bernd. We walked and talked and learned a great deal and every moment was worthwhile. We all appreciated Bernd’s first hand tales of the two Germanys, his depth of historical knowledge and his approach and manner. We have already recommended him to our travel agent.

04/10/2018

Mike + Bret

New York City

A long overdue thank you for an exceptional day in Berlin. Our time with you was more than we even expected. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing as much as we did, but beyond that, valued your unique perspective throughout. AND, we went to Noto on Saturday night – it lived up to your great recommendation and review.

27+28/07/2018

Carla + Billy

San Francisco

My husband and I had three days in Berlin and wanted to make the most of it. Bernd planned a day in Berlin and a half day in Potsdam for us to explore, and in particular, understand a complicated history. Bernd’s breadth of knowledge along with his personal perspective kept us enthralled. Hearing a first-hand account of Berlin’s occupation, the Wall coming down, and of the reunification of a city and a country with all its challenges and joys was truly a unique experience. Bernd’s English is perfect! He is easy to listen to and easy to be around. He was prompt, courteous, and professional. His knowledge along with his anecdotal stories, both current and historical, made our time with him very special, indeed. I cannot recommend him highly enough!

19/04/2018

Jerry

Boston

Bernd provided six of us with a stimulating, educational, cultural tour of Potsdam. Bernd’s enthusiasm for his work was evident in every aspect of our day together. He is so knowledgeable about the history as well as the contemporary issues in Berlin and Potsdam. We traveled by public transit - easy as can be. We walked through Potsdam and relived the history through Bernd’s comments and stories. We had the most delicious lunch at the Dragon Pagoda on the grounds of the castle - don’t miss this! We finished our day with the best gelato in the Dutch section of Potsdam. All in all, a marvelous day with a new friend - Bernd is great!

24+25/08/2018

Sonia, Juan and Evelyn

Las Vegas

Berlin was the highlight of our Eastern Europe tour and you certainly made it very special. I can not begin to tell you how grateful we are for that memorable, one-of-a-kind private tour. The one that stood out to me was the personal experience you shared with us during the Cold War, you made everything that we witnessed on our tour so real with your own personal life story. It’s unbelievable. You were so kind and humble and a great server that you gave us your whole attention the days that you guided us. You are not only very knowledgeable, you know the history of Berlin , and the way you designed our tour was so organized, very informative, intellectual and very educational. Thank you very much. We will contact you again the next time we visit Berlin. We need to go back. We fell in love with your city.

17+18 09/2018

Carole and Michael Fleisher

New York City

Our experience with Bernd was wonderful. Not only does he have a terrific grasp of Berlin history from Medieval times to the present, his experience as a Berliner since his student days gives him a unique and personal perspective on the turbulent changes in Berlin during the 20th century, especially post WW 11, the division of the city and the fall of the Berlin wall. Since he is a Berliner, he knows the neighborhoods and told us wonderful anecdotes from all of them. It is rare to have a tour guide as open about his own personal experiences and we greatly appreciated how warm and forthright he is. In addition, he was extremely helpful teaching us how to navigate the transit system, suggest other sights that were of interest to us but could not be covered in the two days, as well as recommend restaurants. We highly recommend him and would be eager to engage him again on our next visit!

07/03/2018

The Schuster’s

Boston

Thank you Bernd! We all had a lovely day with you. John thinks you should be the voice on audio books. You are gracious, informed, and delightful to spend time with.

25/06/2017

Jan + Craig, Jeff + Beth

USA

All of us want to say thank you for what was truly an outstanding day of touring. Your historical and personal insights into the past, present and prospective future of Germany enlightened all of us and we haven’t stopped talking about our day!

8+11/03/2018

Stephen

Canada

We spent two days with Bernd, Berlin and Potsdam. Both tours were excellent. Bernd was exceptionally conscientious about communicating with us beforehand in order to to customize the tours to our tastes, abilities and knowledge levels. Personally, I had done some reading and research on Berlin before I came and found that Bernd could fill in many gaps and add a layer of history that added vastly to my understanding of the city and its Prussian history. Bernd gets my highest recommendation both as a student of history and a Berliner who has an understanding of and enthusiasm for the city.

17/05/2017

Scott + Ron

Florida

We’ve travelled throughout the world and worked with many private tour guides. Rarely, do we work with a tour guide like you. It was obvious from first communications, you’re a true professional and sincerely care about the quality of your tours. We customized our tour and you delivered exactly what we discussed. We appreciate your vast knowledge of Potsdam and the well-organized day. Truthfully, we did not want the day to end! You far exceeded our expectations and rank at the top of the tour guides we worked with.

10+11/06/2017

Tim

Boston

I had pretty high expectations about the benefits of our tours, which you far exceeded. Because of our time with you, we were able to get a much deeper and broader understanding of and appreciation for Berlin. We hope to come back, and will contact you if we do. And we will strongly recommend you to any friends traveling to Berlin.

2+3/09/2017

Dianna

Charlotte, NC

We had a terrific time and the balance of our Germany excursions. We can’t thank you enough for taking the time to help us rediscover such a beautiful and cultural city. It made our limited time well spent along with your expert knowledge for the various parts of the city. You made our trip to Berlin extra special!!!

26/05/2017

Monique

New York

Thank you for your interesting and insightful tour of Berlin! We had a good time, learned a tremendous amount and only wish that we had had more time with you.

30/08/2017

Robyn

Denver, Colorado

We had a great time yesterday. You are an amazing guide and a gift for lucky tourists like us!! Thank you again. Come visit us in Colorado!

19/11/2016

Sam

Melbourne, Australia

It was by far the best day of our travels overseas.

24-27/11/2016

Carrie

Arkansas

You were a highlight of the trip. You have amazing knowledge and enhanced our understanding of the strengths and struggles of Berlin and Germany.

15+16/7/2016

Jodi+Craig

New York

Our time touring Berlin with Bernd was the highlight of our stay in Germany. He was well-informed of course, but also provided a unique perspective having lived in Berlin before and after the Wall came down. With his encyclopedic knowledge of German history and culture over the last 2 centuries, Bernd was able to design two days of touring that exceeded our every expectation.

23/9/2016

The Ellis'

California

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour with you. You really tailored the tour to WWII sites and background that we requested. Of all our tours in Europe to date I enjoyed yours the most. Our boys enjoyed it as well since you were able to mix in sites that captured their attention as well. I am definitely going to recommend you to anyone I know traveling to Berlin in the future.

27/6/2016

Tyler Goldberg

Austin, Texas

I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtful, interesting, and informative tour of Potsdam. My family was extremely with your planning of the trip from the minute you picked us up at our hotel until delivering us back 9 hours later. We learned so much about the history of Germany and you made it extremely fun to learn about the history with the stories you gave us…that only a historian like yourself would know. I certainly recognized the extra steps you took to make our tour great such as pre-arranging our transfers, finding a perfect restaurant for lunch, and finding little known spots that are historically significant, but off the regular tourists path! I would strongly recommend your services to travelers to Berlin seeking a well-planned tour with private guide that has a great and personal understanding of Germany’s history. Having lived in Berlin during the fall of the Wall, you can speak with great understanding and appreciation about Germany’s history. Our only regret is that we did not have more time after a full 9 hours to spend with you!

07/06/2015

Mikaella

Cyprus

We had a fantastic tour with Berndt, he was extremely knowledgeable, charismatic and a great communicator. Berlin is daunting (in a good sense) and without Bernd’s guidance, it would have been a real challenge to get a feel of the place. Before our arrival, he emailed us with some great recommendations of restaurants, bars and areas we could visit. During our walking tour, he seamlessly took us from past to present with a lot of insider info and an objective outlook. An amazing city to visit with Bernd’s tour being an absolute highlight!

03/09/2015

Daniel Flamberg

USA

Bernd Gutberlet is a world-class guide. Knowledgeable, approachable, and very easy to be with, he infuses his tours with his personal experiences. A historian, by profession, he not only shares events and dates but is skilled at conveying a broader context. Easily jumping from the present to the past, Bernd has a sweeping command of history, politics, culture, media, psychology, literature, art and geography. Our six hours together was a joyful mix of walking tour, graduate seminar and a great first date.

01/07/2015

Eric

Seattle, Washington, USA

The one-on-one tour I took with Bernd was the best tour I’ve ever taken. Bernd is incredibly knowledgable and I can’t wait to get back to Berlin for another tour.

09/08/2015

Julie

USA

My sons and I all learned so much from you about Berlin, its people, and its history. Your tour was both enlightening and inspiring. We recommend your tour most highly to all of our friends who visit Berlin!

07/06/2015

Sophocles Ioannou

Cyprus

The level of detail, your knowledge and way of interacting and scoping the whole tour were simply not just an enjoyable but an unforgettable memory. Far from your typical mass-made tours, I would not only recommend you but encourage anyone who is looking for the „real“ Berlin experience to look you up.

18/03/2015

Lori & Jared Barnett

Kansas City

The tour was amazing!! Thank you so very much!!! Jared can’t stop talking about the tour and your vast amount of knowledge. After our first two days of Berlin, we felt a void but you brought Berlin alive for us. Of all of our guides, you were the best. Thanks for all of the information.

14/02/2015

Marion und Daniel

aus Berlin

Die Tour über Berlin als Hauptstadt des Kalten Krieges hat uns beiden großen Spaß gemacht und wir haben viel dabei gelernt. Chapeau!

23 | 07 | 2014

Beatrice und Werner Christen

aus Zürich

Wir waren letzten Samstag in Berlin und durften Sie/dich als Privat-Reiseführer erleben. Wir möchten uns nochmals ganz herzlich für die ganz spezielle Trabi-Tour, die wir sehr genossen haben, und die nicht zuletzt dank Ihren/deinen ausführlichen Erklärungen und persönlichen Geschichten für uns zu einem ganz besonderen Erlebnis geworden ist.

Sie haben mit Ihrem/deinem Engagement die besondere Note, die man von einer solchen Tour erwartet, in unseren Berlin-Aufenthalt gebracht – wir werden die Trabi-Tour noch lange in Erinnerung behalten.

09 | 10 | 2014

Chris

Washington D.C.

I don’t know how to thank you for one of the most amazing days ever. In a few short hours, you accomplished what would have taken me days, weeks, or even months to learn on my own!
I can’t tell you how excited and energized I felt to learn about Berlin—to “decode” the city—through your eyes and your experiences. … The full impact of everything that you shared with me emerged slowly over the course of the days that followed.

22 | 09 | 2014

Frank, Jane, Mary and Jaan,

Connecticut

Thank you for the wonderful tour you gave us around Berlin. I speak for all of us when I say that your tour was one of the highlights of the trip. It was interesting seeing sections of the city that most tourists do not see.

It was particularly interesting hearing your description of events the day the wall fell. Berlin is obviously a beautiful and important city and you are fortunate to be one of its historians.

09 | 06 | 2014

Susanne Hobein

aus Kassel

Heute komme ich endlich mal dazu, Dir – auch im Namen meiner Freundin Gabi – recht herzlich für die super schöne Sightseeing-Tour am Samstag zu danken. Wir hatten einen riesen Spaß!
Wir haben am Samstag Abend übrigens Deinem Tipp Folge geleistet und waren in „Clärchens Ballhaus“. Ich kann nur sagen: EIN SUPER TIPP VON DIR!!!! Wir haben Stunden auf der Tanzfläche verbracht und fanden es dort wirklich super schön. Also Bernd, nochmals vielen vielen Dank … und wenn wir das nächste Mal in Berlin sind … dann buchen wir Dich wieder … einen anderen Guide wollen wir nicht… ;-))

06 | 06 | 2014

Stephanie

aus Essen

Super Guide, der Bernd!
Immer wieder!

27 | 05 | 2014

Dr. Staib

aus Reutlingen

Herzlichen Dank für Ihre tolle Führung und ihre freundliche und überaus kompetente Art!

Current

New tours and tips

New tours and tips

Few cities develop such a dynamic as does Berlin. That’s why I constantly expand my program of topics and tours. The recommendations are my own and not commercial.

My latest book!

Last spring, my latest book so far was published: Berlin in your pocket, in German only, however. It’s a guide as entertaining as it is special, showing Berlin from a personal perspective, like I do with my tours. If you read some German, go and get it!

Request

Request

Are you interested in a tailor-made city tour? Please send a request for a non-binding offer. Please do also send questions or suggestions, critique or praise. I am looking forward to your email to gutberlet@berlinfirsthand.de or call me at +49.170.753.83.33.


Imprint

terms

Bernd Ingmar Gutberlet

Alexanderstraße 35, 10179 Berlin
phone + 49 30 448 14 17
mobile +49 170 753 83 33
gutberlet@berlinfirsthand.de

Impressum

Gestaltung: Sonja Jobs, jobs und böhm
Programmierung: Marcus Forchner
Fotonachweis:
Albert Wellenreuther, Jürgen Marquardt
photocase.de: nethunta / joexx / Schacky / jock+scott / coresince84 / MichaelRudko / joexx / zettberlin / suze / elsone / jock+scott / Novopics

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Vimeo

To integrate and provide video contents our website uses plugins by Vimeo. Provider of the video portal is Vimeo Inc., 555 West 18th Street, New York, New York 10011, USA.

By calling a site having integrated Vimeo-Plugin, server communication with Vimeo is being created. Thus Vimeo gets to know which of our pages you visited. Vimeo gets your IP address without you being logged in there or having an account with them. Transmission of the information recorded by Vimeo is being transmitted to servers of the video portal in the US.

Vimeo can track your surfing up to your personal profile. By logging out beforehand you can suppress that.

Detailed information on handling user data you find at Vimeo’s data privacy regulations at: https://vimeo.com/privacy.

        <p><small>source: Datenschutz-Konfigurator von <a href="http://www.mein-datenschutzbeauftragter.de">http://mein-datenschutzbeauftragter.de</a></small></p>