Berlin has long been a magnet for outsiders, from provincial Prussians centuries ago to Brooklyn hipsters today. Strangers at first, these newcomers eventually make the city their own and reshape its social fabric.
This process continued even while Berlin was divided during the Cold War, but 20 years after reunification, the German capital has become an increasingly attractive destination for foreigners hoping to start a new life.
Julia Lipkins’ multimedia project for The Local lets these new Berliners tell their own stories.
Born and raised in Palestinian refugee camp, Nasser Ayyade left Lebanon to start a family and business in Berlin.
“My two-year-old speaks more German than I do,” says Ayyade, the proprietor and sole full-time employee of the Ad-Duha butcher shop. In 2005, Germany’s federal government passed The Immigration Act, which requires immigrants from non-EU countries to participate in a 600-hour language and integration course. Ayyade enrolled in an introductory German class upon his arrival in 2006, but he says he learned the language from interacting with customers.