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2nd Hand
2nd Hand

There are loads of thrift stores facing the streets of Berlin. Besides the chain of Humana stores and other boutiques that sell only clothes, other more local stores exist. Many are located below the residences of the shopkeepers, and it seems that some of them have for years or even decades been acquiring many more strange items than they've been selling.

If you share a penchant for collecting items previously owned by people with good taste, these stores can't go unvisited during a stay of any length in Berlin. There is no secret about the successes of certain product lines made in Germany. Movie cameras, microphones, lenses, cutlery, porcelains and a lot more have been made a little better here for decades.

Value and quality are ambiguous terms. To a person travelling through or living abroad for a time, the sort of souvenir that reflects a certain locales past or history can enhance the memories of Berlin perhaps more than a two foot plastic replica of the TV tower. If such souvenirs are old, well made, and worth much more than paid for, so much the better.

Shopping can become looking through windows weekends and Mondays in Berlin, as many small stores are closed. Summer evenings on the other days of the week is probably the best time to wander about. Loads of people are out strolling. Folks feel social and friendly, hence tend to want to talk a little, barter, trade and haggle. Price tags are rare. Names and signs on the storefronts are also often not in place; some are simply bottom floor flats in residential neighborhoods. Flea markets provide a different experience than a thrift store. One can ponder and think a lot better in an empty, quiet few rooms filled with piles of amazing old foreign objects that somebody once thought enough of to buy.

The best way to find thrift stores in Berlin is to walk around the older neighborhoods. They're unfindable from a streetcar or bus unless you already have an address. There are about four all within walking distance east of Schönhauser Allee north of the S-Bahn line near the corner of Schivelbeiner and Malmöer Straße, and plenty more in Prenzlauer Berg in the vicinity of the Kulturbrauerei. Certainly, any older, mostly unrenovated area could yield important finds.

A couple of stores in the area mentioned above can be found at:

Cnr Kopenhagener & Malmöer Straße
10437 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg |
The same neighborhood as above this store features more electronics, old and newer. There's a lot to look through here. They've got some musical instruments as well.

Cnr Schivelbeiner & Malmöer Straße
10439 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg |
A large space of five or six rooms filled floor to ceiling with old pictures, books, records, cameras and more. It has no name but is easy to find from Schönhauser Allee with a street map. A super nice woman runs this one, and often ignores her own price tags if you have a lot of items you are buying at once. An older gentlemen also lurks about inside, often chuckling at odd purchases, a little hard on one's confidence.

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