Schön, dass ihr da seid
Welcome Festival

In the late summer of 2015, a group of motivated Neuköllners brimming with the euphoric energy of “The Summer of Migration” teamed up to organize a welcome picnic on Tempelhofer Feld. It was a beautiful and inspiring day – a warm welcome for our new inhabitants and a chance for old and new Berliners alike to relax, be entertained, share food, and soak up the sun together. Last year, we had our second festival, during which we enjoyed the same powerfully inclusive atmosphere we experienced in 2015, but this time with even more opportunities for interaction and community building.

This year, on September 9th, 2017, Schön, dass ihr da seid! will hold the third welcoming celebration in the same location. Two years after our first festival though, the political situation we find ourselves in is significantly different. To reflect this new circumstance, this year’s event will not merely focus on welcoming the city’s new additions, but also on the question of how those who have been welcomed can stay; of how we can oppose the political right’s fear-mongering by creating a strong, inclusive community; of how we can take the spirit of last summer’s fleeting euphoria and translate it into lasting solidarity; of how we can contribute to open borders and fight against isolation politics.

At its core, the festival represents the desire to create a celebration where people from all corners of the world can come together in a safe space to eat, drink, relax, play, converse, make music, dance, and to simply enjoy and appreciate one another. Everyone is invited to take part in the picnic – come dine with us and feel free to bring along a meal to contribute to what is sure to be a vast, colorful, and plentiful buffet. Alongside the picnic will be stages featuring speakers and musicians, as well as various sports, games, and activities.

In addition to celebrating and indulging, we will offer a space to tackle the challenging topics of migration and displacement, as well as arriving and remaining in Germany. This year we will have two new tents: one for political discourse, in which relevant issues can be openly discussed, and one exclusively for women. Initiatives working to support Berlin’s newcomers will be invited to introduce their projects.

With this third festival, Schön, dass ihr das seid! aims to use positivity and solidarity to promote the transition from welcoming refugees to recognizing these individuals as new members of our society, without losing sight of the political, social, and economic hurdles that undoubtedly exist. We are operating on the conviction that an alternative, harmonious future is indeed possible: a future in which our differences do not create barriers between us, but rather a platform for cultural exchange and mutual enrichment that allows the city to evolve and thrive.