Caroline Marburger – Berlin Tour Guide

Caroline Marburger

I am a historian by education and a guide by calling. In Berlin since 1999, I started working as a guide in 2011. In 2017, I also started working for Rick Steves‘ Europe leading tours around Germany and neighboring countries. As a freelancer, I offer custom-made tours. Whatever your interests are, I will happily design your tour. Or I just take you on a trip through the fascinating chapters of Germany‘s history and to the peculiarities of its capital. A tour with me is often like exploring the city with a new friend – who happens to be very chatty and knows the city‘s story and secrets really well.

I came to Berlin fresh out of high school. Having spent my childhood in what was then West Germany, in 1999 I desperately wanted to study at the very heart of the now reunited capital. While a committed history student at Humboldt University, in the late 1990s and 2000s I eagerly experienced and explored the city. With the attentive eye of the New Berliner and keen on understanding the urban space around me, Berlin’s history and current changes were always at the core of my attention. But I never thought it would become my real calling. Like most of us, guiding found me, not the other way around.

After I had left town for Budapest in order to do my PhD at the Central European University in 2008, on return in 2010 I started giving my first tours. Initially just in order to bump up my scholarship. But to my surprise I found out that my real passion lies outside the specialized academic field, however much it informs my perspective and thinking. Showing visitors a way to navigate the city, help them understand the intricacies and complexities of Germany‘s history, particularly its dark sides, became the job I loved. This way the passionate historian in me did not have to see all her social skills, love for communication and people gather dust in some archive.

Apart from my expertise in the history of the 19th and 20th century, close to my heart personally are topics such as city development, politics, music, cultural life and architecture. I have developed a special fascination with the immediate postwar period and the time of the Berlin Wall. Discussing the individual and public memory of two dictatorships and what this experience means for the people and the country remains a particularly fascinating aspect of what I do on a daily basis.

It is my heartfelt mission to show that history has rather little to do with just names or dates but a lot with humans and their circumstances. And how we try stepping into their shoes: in order to get a glimpse of how they failed to succeed, how they found a way to turn the tide or triumph over adversity. History can be a beautiful escape from today‘s troubles. Or a chilly reminder of how good we have it. But the foremost reason for looking back remains to understand where we come from and what this means for us today.

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