The bear is a symbol associated with the city of Berlin in Germany. This bear started off as a heraldry symbol from a city seal in 1280. Today’s city seal features a bear standing on its hind legs with its arms stretched out.
No one is entirely sure how or why the bear become part of Berlin’s city seal. One theory is that the founder of Brandenburg of which Berlin is part, Albrect I, was nicknamed the Bear. Alternatively, you could argue that the German pronunciation of the first syllable of Berlin sounds like the word bear.
A street art project started in 2001 (similar to the cow parade street art project found in other cities) to put bears around the streets of Berlin. Called Buddy Bears, you can find them scattered throughout the city. They are supposed to exude friendliness and optimism which I think they do! Anything this cute has to make you smile!
They have plain coloured Buddy Bears. The white one is coyly covered in a Hertz-yellow sash as it stands in front of a Hertz rental car agency.
They have themed Buddy Bears of people and sights famous around Berlin. For example, Marlene Dietrich is a famous actress and singer in pre-World War II Berlin. Elsa is the name given to the lady on top of the Berlin Victory Column erected in 1873 to commemorate Prussian military might. (Amusingly, the American troops after World War II nicknamed Elsa the “chick on the stick”.)
This bear is named Pablo Bear in homage to Pablo Picasso and he’s bucking the trend by doing a head stand.
These are some of the other bears I thought were sweet.
Other than the Buddy Bears, there are bears all over Berlin. Every souvenir store seems to have bear paraphernalia as well. It would be hard to go to Berlin and not come across a bear!
Have you been to Berlin and seen these bears for yourself?