Empty Space Berlin 2.0 - A capital in Lockdown

Panoramic Photographs

Frank Hensel

Even as Berlin lay in ruins at the end of the Second World War and food shortages were the rule, people emerged amid the rubble from their cellars to rebuild the city as quickly as possible.

The opposite was the case in March and April of 2020. By all appearances, the city was intact, the food supply to the populace assured. Due to the corona crisis however, all non-systemically relevant shops and businesses had to remain closed, while Berlin’s residents stayed in their apartments and only ventured outdoors when it was absolutely necessary.

As a result, on the first warm days of the year, Berlin seemed for the most part as still as a morgue. Boulevards like Kurfürstendamm and Tauentzienstrasse, large squares such as Alexanderplatz, Bebelplatz, and Potsdamer Platz were deserted. Occasionally, a car or a Berlin city bus drove by. Otherwise, a strange, almost ghostly silence prevailed that one would previously never have considered possible.