25 Years Fall of the Berlin Wall – 25-Minute Balloon Ascent

9th November 2014  | 7 p.m.

Numerous activities along the course of the Wall
Prominent patrons give the starting signal at Brandenburg Gate
Comprehensive documentation and TV broadcast
Anyone can participate online:

The BALLOON EVENT is the highlight of the festivities surrounding the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On late Sunday afternoon, 9th November, approximately 8,000 participants will come to the LICHTGRENZE with their friends and families and take their places beside the bal-loons they have sponsored as patrons. The 15-km light installation runs from Bösebrücke on Born-holmer Strasse to Mauerpark, past the Reichstag to Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie to Oberbaumbrücke. For the crowning finale of the event, the LICHTGRENZE will become a human chain. Echoing the events of 1989, countless individuals will join together to overcome the division of the city. Now – 25 years later – they are doing it again symbolically by releasing the balloons into the night sky.

Balloon patrons: personal messages and many activities along the course of the Wall
On Sunday afternoon, thousands of patrons will gather at 22 meeting points, where they will be briefed on the procedure. Outfitted accordingly in matching jackets, they will then proceed to the balloons with their group- and course-leaders. Every balloon patron writes his or her message on a card and later affixes it to the balloon. Many of the approx. 200 balloon patron groups have ar-ranged their own programme of activities along the course. The Freunde des Mauerparks e.V. (Friends of the Mauerpark Society) will be presenting themselves at Mauerpark. The Association of Christian Scouts and Guides (Verband Christlicher Pfadfinderinnen und Pfadfinder) is putting up a tent next to its balloons at Nordbahnhof Park. The Protestant Congregation of Friedrichswalde will be singing at the Invalids' Cemetery (Invalidenfriedhof) with their own choir. The trombone chorus of the Protestant Congregations of Müllrose and Fünfeichen as well as Mahlsdorf/Schöneiche will be playing at Ostbahnhof and Oberbaumbrücke. The runners’ club Mauerweg e.V. will jog approx-imately 25 km along the course of the Wall to their balloons in front of the Federal Ministry of Eco-nomic Affairs. The student band headed by the Protestant Congregation Berlin-Kaulsdorf will be giving a concert on Engeldamm, west of Adalbertstrasse. The State Office for Church Affairs and Wolkenberg Secondary School (Wolkenberg Gymnasium) will invite passersby on Schillingbrücke to a ‘Berlin Wall quiz’, and artist Thierry Noir will paint a piece of the wall at East Side Gallery. Visi-tors will find these and many other activities organised by balloon patrons along the LICHTGRENZE.

Starting signal at Brandenburg Gate with human and civil rights campaigners, Gorbachev, Gauck, Wowereit and Walesa
Following an address by the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, at approximately 7pm, human and civil rights campaigners from the former GDR opposition, German Federal President Joachim Gauck and political witnesses of that time will release the first balloons into the air. Partic-ipants include Michael Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Miklós Németh, and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, along with Freya Klier, Wolf Biermann, Ulrike Poppe, Stefan Müller and Kathrin Mahler Walther. Other guests of honour include President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Mohammed Yunus and former Governing Mayor of Berlin Walter Momper. Schoolchildren aged 12 to 14 years will be releasing balloons together with the guests of honour. The balloon ascent is embedded in the Federal Government-sponsored street festival, which will be held next to Brandenburg Gate.

The citywide balloon ascent to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
Live on location and on TV

Once the first balloon has risen, the Staatskapelle Berlin and the State Opera Chorus will play the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (‘Ode to Joy’) on stage at the Brandenburg Gate, under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. Meanwhile, in a span of 25 minutes, all the balloons will be released in parallel at different places along the course of the Wall, following a sophisticated dramaturgy. The balloon ascent ends simultaneously on the bridges Bösebrücke on Bornholmer Strasse and Oberbaumbrücke. Afterwards, 13 large-format video screens will show film collages with moving images from 9th November 1989.
The BALLOON EVENT will be broadcast live on the TV programme ‘Das Erste’ (6:50 pm – 8:00 pm). With over 80 cameras, two helicopters and a motorcycle, regional broadcaster rbb is docu-menting the anniversary festivities as part of the television project ‘Grenzenlos – 25h Mauerfall’ (‘Borderless – 25h Fall of the Berlin Wall). rbb will provide 25 hours of nonstop event coverage from 9 am on 9th November to 10 am on 10th November, with live coverage of various locations and documentaries related to the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Approximately 20 live reporters and 19 mobile broadcasting vehicles will be on site at 18 locations to capture the occasion. Over 10 km of cable were installed to support media equipment. 

Programme and public viewing along 15 km, at seven main audience locations

Extending the light installation over 15km creates numerous opportunities to follow the spectacle. The main audience locations at East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie, Potsdamer Platz, at the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse, Mauerpark and the Bornholmer Brücke provide ample public viewing opportunities. The events around the city will also be aired live on several large screens. At the Federal Government-sponsored street festival titled ‘Courage to Freedom’ (‘Mut zur Freiheit’), which starts at 2pm, the BALLOON EVENT can be viewed live in person starting at 7pm in front of the Brandenburg Gate and at Strasse des 17. Juni. Actor Jan Josef Liefers will lead revellers through the varied evening programme at the street festival – with memories of the Peaceful Revolution, the opening of the LICHTGRENZE and of course, lots of music. The line up includes, among others, the Fantastischen Vier, Udo Lindenberg, and Paul Kalkbrenner. All rbb radio stations will be airing their programmes live from the main audience spots. All patrons, stories and messages can be found online at www.fallofthwall25.com All are welcome to post his or her personal message on this website, thereby becoming a virtual patron of the project.

The anniversary project is an initiative of the Federal State of Berlin. An overall project of the not-for-profit company Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH in cooperation with the Robert Havemann Society, the Berlin Wall Foundation, WHITEvoid and bauerfilm. The light installation is based on an idea by Christopher Bauder and Marc Bauder.