Let me say: Welcome to the club!
The night is about to begin. Where better to carry on our celebrations than here at the Tresor? Tresor is one of the world’s top 100 clubs and it is also tightly linked with the time around the fall of the Wall. Back then in a different location, it became Berlin’s first techno club.
And: Tresor played a key role in the years of rapid change, an era of endless possibilities. Techno was the soundtrack of that time. A time of freedom and vitality.
Partying, celebrating, having fun – this was all part of this new music genre.
I was nine years old back then, watching thousands of people from East and West coming together, storming the Wall at the Brandenburg Gate at midnight - and dancing on top of the Wall. Even though I was a kid growing up in the deep west of the country I felt the joy and the hope of the people. I remember the fall of the wall as my first political impression.
I had a teddy bear back then and like girls do I cut his hair a little - looking at him with a mark on his forehead afterwards I named him “Gorbatschow”. He – the teddy bear – is still around on a sofa at my constituency.
And I always think back to it with a sense of gratitude - especially to all of those, who believed in a united Germany, especially on the other side of the Atlantic.
That is why it was very important to the Federal Foreign Office to celebrate today’s anniversary not in an inward-looking fashion but to celebrate it together with our international partners and friends.
What better way to do this than with a European Club Night? 27 clubs from all across Europe have joined and partnered with a club in Berlin. All across the city, young people from all corners of Europe will dance the night away.
And they will send a message by doing so: a message for European togetherness, for a Europe of community and shared cultures.
Just like theatres, museums and concert halls, clubs are also creative spaces. And not unpolitical.
Not many words are spoken here - it’s often pretty loud - but “Club culture” has become a global multiplier of urban values rooted in freedom. And for this very reason, clubs in countless countries have to deal with arbitrary action on the part of the police, for example because they serve as a meeting place for the LGBTI scene. And that is also why Berlin’s clubs have in the last year taken part in the demonstration against the AfD party to underscore their liberal and progressive values and to stand up for an open, tolerant society. Art and culture always were and remain international. They benefit from cooperation and coproduction. That is also our fundamental belief.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Anniversaries are always an opportunity to look back but also exhort us to build a better future. We‘ve got a lot to do. Some build new walls, this time – and that is just as dangerous – in people’s hearts and minds.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Perhaps it is time to dream again: in a united Europe.
We know, as it was proofed here in Berlin, that dreams can come true. And we turn them into reality. Together! In German, a famous Westernhagen song tells us not to forget to party when dreaming of freedom: „Alle, die von Freiheit träumen/sollten’s Feiern nicht versäumen!“
As we do tonight, over here! Thank you very much for coming, dreaming, dancing, sharing and take action!
Welcome to the club!