The Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany fell on the night of Nov. 9, 1989 — an event that captivated onlookers around the globe and inspired enthralled Germans to rejoice in the streets. This week, the wall will rise again.
Germany isn’t redividing; rather, the “wall” — a temporary installation of 8,000 helium balloons, lit from within — will rise along an 8-mile stretch where the barrier once stood, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s demise.
For two days, the installation, called the Lichtgrenze, will serve as a beautiful representation of the heartbreaking division the city experienced for 28 years.
Then, at 11 p.m. on Nov. 9, the biodegradable balloons will be released one by one into the sky as the Berlin State Opera orchestra plays the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — a symbolic crumbling of the boundary and a celebration of freedom and unification.
It’s one of a number of ways the spectacular fall of the wall — a potent symbol of the Iron Curtain that separated democratic Western Europe from the Communist Eastern Bloc — is being observed this month. Events and temporary exhibits will commemorate the historic moment and remember those whose lives it touched. Add several permanent exhibits and the living museum offered by the remains of the wall itself, and there are numerous ways for a visitor to Germany’s capital to observe the anniversary and consider the wall’s legacy.