Joseph Pearson

Joseph Pearson (1975) is writer and historian based in Berlin. Born in Canada, he was educated at Cambridge University, UK, where he received his doctorate in history in 2001. Since 2008, he has written The Needle, which has become one of Berlin's most popular blogs. His portrait of the German capital, Berlin, for Reaktion Press was published in 2017. His second book, My Grandfather's Knife, was published by HarperCollins and the History Press in 2022. He is also the essayist and blogger of the Schaubühne Theatre, one of Berlin's best known state-funded institutions. His writing has appeared widely in the press, literary and academic journals, and has been translated into Italian, German, French, and Arabic. Having taught at Columbia University in New York City, he lectures in Berlin at New York University Berlin (since 2012) and the Barenboim-Said Academy.

4 thoughts on “Moving to Berlin? The Needle Guide (2012 Edition)

  • Hi,

    quite a thorough article you have there. It was a good read since a friend of mine wants to move to berlin. But it is quite subjective with some spelling mistakes here and there. For example, there is no quarter called Lichtenburg in Berlin. It’s Lichtenberg.

    And also this part of the article was not that ok. i don’t think that these quarters are like what u descripted them. i rather would advice to avoid Wedding or Neuköln if you are looking from that kind of ankle.

    Also i think you can easily survive with 500 euro/month in Berlin. Own experience. Was living in a shared appartment for a few years. sure you can’t go to a restaurant every day but surely you are not going to starve. 🙂

    You should also check more on the terms of private insurance. I think you need to fullfil some terms for this. One of it should be a minimum income of 4800 euros a month.

    • Thank you for the correction, LHT! You are right, I am inexpert on Lichtenberg. And if you can live on 500 EUR a month in Berlin, I’m impressed! Can you break down what the individual costs might be for the readers? (like I did in my article). I’m sure it would help some people.

      Striped Cat: good to hear that Schoeneberg is not gentrified yet, but is it really impossible to find an Altbau now? I viewed one there about a year ago… but perhaps it was a stroke of luck. Would you then say that there’s been quite a bit of gentrification if the Altbau are all gone?

  • On Schoeneberg:
    the good thing, it is not gentrified (apart from the Akazienstr.) and we hope it will never be! It’s German and also a bit Turkish.
    The Starbucks closed down: whaouuu!

    For this reason we bought an Altbau here, because it is an authentic urban village, not a fake one:
    but it was hard to find an affordable Altbau flat already in 2007, locals love the area and they are right!

    Now it is impossible to find affordable Altbaus.
    Still, 1950-60 standard flats can be found. But prices are going up…

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