This guide is inspired by this call for guides on EA Hubs and the excellent examples already published.
Berlin is quite a vibrant city, and with 3.8 million citizens, it’s the biggest city in Germany and the EU. It also has a unique city culture compared to the rest of Germany (less traditional, more open-minded, more vegans), and to a lesser degree, the rest of continental Europe.
While most other EA local groups in Germany are centered around universities, Berlin has a much broader EA community, with students and professionals working in both EA and non-EA jobs. To give an impression on the size of the EA community in Berlin, here are some estimates about the number of people by level of engagement:
- Generally interested in EA: ~200-260
- Engaged on a level to be accepted to an EAGx: ~160
- People working in an EA organization or engage on a similar level: ~50-60
- Volunteer EA Berlin event organizers: ~10
This guide is addressed to people not from Berlin to get an overview of how to get in touch with people from the EA community, activities to do and other practical tips when coming here.
To get to know people from the EA community, a good starting point is visiting one of the EA Berlin events. Many events can be joined by anyone (yes, you too!), just check out the event description. Good starting points are the Talk & Community Meetup and the Food for Thought discussion rounds, both recurring every month.
There are informal hangouts, too! Just ask one of the organizers at any meetup how to get in touch with more members of the community. Active EAs usually invite people at our events to join our EA Berlin Telegram group (not shared online), where individually organized gatherings are posted and discussions take place. If you’re planning to come to Berlin and would like to meet some like-minded people, send. EA Berlin Organizers are always happy to connect you with people you’d be interested in talking to!
Berlin has a relatively broad community of professionals working in EA organizations, organizations considered high-impact by EA, or other impactful jobs. While some of these organizations are centered in Berlin, many people work in remote positions. The spectrum of cause areas people are working on reflects to a big part the cause areas from the global EA community: Animal Advocacy, Global Health, AI governance and technical AI safety, Bio Security, Civilizational Resilience, Political Advocacy, Climate, Mental Health, Journalism, Effective Giving, EA Meta and Operations, and more.
There’s also an active Rationality/LessWrong/Wait But Why/Slate Star Codex community in Berlin, with many of their events posted in this meetup group. If you’d like to dive into the veganism scene in Berlin, check out the berlin-vegan website.
People outside of Berlin often are interested in what “the vibes” of the EA Berlin community are. This is certainly hard to explain, as subjective experiences matter a lot here and can be quite different.
As Berlin is a diverse city with lots of different subcultures, this also reflects to some people in the EA community. These people are often interested in ideas from the alternative scene, like different forms of meditation, yoga, techno culture, non-traditional relationship forms, festivals and more. Some EA people in Berlin are living in shared apartments together, both purely with EAs and with other interesting people, e.g. from the startup scene. We’re not aware of any co-living situations in Berlin where professional and private relationships are intermixed, which reduces potential conflict of interests.
It is important to highlight that only a subset of people in the community subscribe to these interests and that having similar interests certainly isn’t a precondition to get in touch with EAs in Berlin. Also, all official EA Berlin events focus on EA-related topics in order to welcome everyone regardless of their personal interests.
The professional EA community in Berlin is centered around the TEAMWORK coworking space, which has strong “get sh*t done” vibes: an environment focussed on efficiently doing impactful work. The coworking space also fosters a lot of professional exchange, with a tradition of having daily lunch together. Additionally, TEAMWORK serves as a Schelling point for EAs coming to Berlin from all over the world as well as a meetup location for local EA events.
Coworking spaces and offices
The EA community in Berlin is happy to have a coworking space for EA professionals called TEAMWORK in the northwest of the city (in the neighborhood of Wedding), run by Effektiv Spenden. If you would like to visit the coworking space to work from there or meet people, apply there beforehand.
Some animal advocacy organizations popular among individuals in EA also have their own offices in Berlin: The Albert Schweitzer Foundation is located near Alexanderplatz, Animal Equality works in a coworking space in Prenzlauer Berg, and ProVeg Germany and ProVeg International have their office spaces in Tiergarten. There is also the ProVeg Incubator, where public events occasionally take place.
What to do (that's not work)
While Berlin has much to offer, this section covers a few highlights we can recommend (and we think people in EA could like).
- The Futurium, directly next to the main train station, offers perspectives on the future, especially regarding the role of technology. Topics include, for example, climate protection and food. Note that the exhibitions there typically cover topics more from a popular view and less from a futurist's perspective (and no, AI doesn’t play a major role at Futurium). There are also public tours and other events.
- The Anti-War Museum is a small but nice museum in Wedding, where you can learn about the effects of nuclear weapons and see, among other things, an originally preserved air-raid shelter from World War II. The museum is open daily from 4 to 8 pm, and admission is free.
- For those interested in great power conflicts: The German Spy Museum provides insights into the spying technology of the Cold War, and is also worth a visit.
Tours and places of interest
- At Cecilienhof Palace in Potsdam, the "Potsdam Conference" took place in the summer of 1945, which was the summit meeting of the Allied powers of the Second World War. During the conference, US President Harry S. Truman gave the order to drop the first deployed atomic bomb, which then destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6.
- On a vegan food tour, you can discover the best of the best vegan food in Berlin while listening to some story telling about the city. Available for different districts.
- On selected dates, a tour of the historical slaughterhouse grounds near the Frankfurter Tor in Friedrichshain is offered. Many original buildings are still intact and reveal a lot about the mechanization of killing, processing of animal carcasses, and miserable working conditions. The tour lasts about two hours and costs 11 euros. The tour is in German by default, ask if they offer an English version beforehand.
- In terms of things to do that are less explicitly EA, Dark Matter is a light show/exhibit in the east of the city. Great for Instagram, and is an immersive art experience that feels very “Berlin.”
- Discover the underground bunkers of Berlin with this very popular local tour. Make sure to book a tour about a week in advance! Of particular interest to EAs is a tour of a nuclear shelter near the U-Bahn station Pankstraße. The steel-concrete doors, crowd control barriers, and bunk beds clearly reveal the fate that survivors of a nuclear war would have suffered.
Berlin is a paradise for vegans. There is a wide range of vegan restaurants, vegan cafés, vegan shops, vegan supermarkets, vegan bars and more. For a general overview, take a look at the Berlin-Vegan map or download the Berlin-Vegan app (full English version of both available). Both come with many filter options like Wi-Fi, dogs allowed, gluten-free, vegan only etc. plus a keyword search. For reviews on restaurants and cafés in English, please visit Vegan Berlin or Happy Cow.
Two that we particularly recommend:
- Al Catzone is a great vegan pizzeria run by an animal rights activist. Among others, the Berlin local group of the Albert Schweitzer Foundation meets here. In good weather, you can sit outside under the trees.
- Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap is top-notch German street food. If you’re interested in Döner Kebab, this is typically on the top lists. Pro-tip: skip the one at Mehringdamm if there’s a long line – the other ones at locations like Warschauer Str are just as good. If you’re far from a Mustafa’s, any shop that does Gemüse Döner and/or has a bit of a line is a safe bet.
Party / Clubs
Berlin is famous for its nightlife, great clubs and tough bouncers. Even if you’re not into electronic music or clubbing, it’s worth checking out Berlin’s unique scene. If you’re visiting during summer, you can even go in the daytime. Read more about club tips and recommendations here.
Finding a flat in Berlin can be very difficult and is not covered in this guide. However, people EAs in Berlin sometimes rent out (a room in) their flats for other people to stay. This can be both for short-term stays (a few days or weeks), or even permanently. Some options are listed in this document, but feel encouraged to also ask in the housing channel in the EA Berlin telegram group and/or the #berlin_housing channel in the EA Germany slack.
Take a look at at these notes about general tips to find a flat in Berlin.
Hotels / Flats
Use a website like booking.com or airbnb.com to find a suitable hotel or flat. At most hotels, breakfast will be buffet style. Don’t hesitate to ask if they can arrange vegan options for you if you prefer vegan food. In any case, there are numerous and diverse vegan cafés in Berlin, so you won’t start your day hungry.
Public transport is fairly good in Berlin and recommended. Since Berlin is a big city (at least to German standards) plan getting around accordingly. It can often take you 40 minutes to get from one place in the city to the other. Berlin is quite nice to explore by bike, and bicycles are also a lot cheaper to rent than the other options.
Check out this document for more information on how to get to Berlin, which public transport tickets to buy and which apps can be recommended.
- For public transport in the city, mostly a Berlin AB ticket is the one you should get. Available at all subway stations or on the Jelbi app.
- For renting scooters or car rides use any app of your choice. Jelbi or Free Now can be recommended.
- To rent bicycles at a cheap price, use Nextbike.
Climate and Geography
Check the current weather conditions before coming to Berlin. It can become hot in summer and cold in winter, with rainfalls possible throughout the whole year.
Geographically, Berlin is very flat. Unlike many cities, Berlin does not have a single “center” where everything is concentrated. Instead, every neighborhood (or, as the locals say, Kiez) has its own hot spots. Different Kieze have a different vibe and target group, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, Neukölln stand out.
- Friedrichshain: Known for its vibrant street art, Friedrichshain is a hub of youthful energy, attracting a creative and bohemian crowd. It's famous for its nightlife, with numerous clubs and bars, and also has a strong counterculture history. The area is popular among young professionals and students.
- Prenzlauer Berg: This area is characterized by beautifully restored old buildings and a more upscale, family-friendly atmosphere. It's known for its café culture, organic markets, and boutique shops. Prenzlauer Berg attracts a mix of young families, artists, and professionals, and is known for its cosmopolitan and trendy vibe.
- Kreuzberg: Historically a center for Berlin's alternative and punk scenes, Kreuzberg is diverse and multicultural. It's famous for its street art, diverse food scene, and lively festivals like the annual May Day celebration. The area is a magnet for artists, students, and immigrants, giving it a unique and eclectic atmosphere.
- Neukölln: Once a working-class district, Neukölln has transformed into a trendy area known for its multicultural population. It's characterized by a mix of hip bars, vintage shops, and diverse eateries. The area is popular among young creatives and students, and is known for its lively and unpolished charm.
EA Berlin Organizers
Hi, I’m Martin! I am working as a consultant, giving money to effective charities, and I am the main organizer for EA Berlin. I have helped organize EA Aachen before and got into EA around 2017. I’m always happy to meet new people, connect people and contribute wherever I can. Please have a low bar for reaching out to me when coming to Berlin, just write me an email – I’m happy to get to know you!
Martin “Milli” Milbradt
Hi, I'm Martin too, but Milli is less ambiguous. I've been involved with EA since EAGxBerlin 2022, and I'm helping the other Martin organize EA Berlin. Being a freelance software engineer gives me a lot of freedom to pursue my passions and also allows me to make impactful donations. I'm very passionate about rationality and (board) games, contact me if you're interested as well or have any questions!
Thanks to Manuel Allgaier, Antonia Briel, Sarah Tegeler, Ludwig Bald and others for contributing to this guide.
When considering strict city limits. For example, the Paris metropolitan area has 12.5 million citizens.
60-80% of the total number of people in the EA Berlin telegram group. People usually get added there after having attended an EA Berlin event.
Number of people who have been accepted to the EAGx Berlin 2023 and named Berlin as the city closest to them.
Around 50 people have “member status” in the EA coworking space TEAMWORK, more people have similar engagement but don’t visit TEAMWORK on a regular basis.
Number of people to organize EA Berlin events on a monthly basis.
Note that you’ll usually have to pay the person you’re staying at. And as a disclaimer: you act on your own responsibility here, private housing support is not something covered by EA Berlin.
Write at email@example.com if you would like to be added. Please include a very brief description about your engagement in EA, just so that we have an impression of who you are.