They are called “buddy bears” and the first was created in Berlin in 2001 as part of an art exhibition. They were made an official symbol of Berlin shortly after and many artists became involved, each creating their own unique design on the basic bear sculpture.
I had a few days in Berlin, Germany in November and found something unexpected. Of course I plan all of my trips to find the maximum number of cute things, but sometimes I find something extra which is even better than what I’d hoped for! At first, I came across a single painted bear but quickly discovered that there were hundreds, not only in Berlin but across the world.
I’m not a huge fan of bears, but anything to do with animals generally puts a smile on my face. Bears, although adorable, are a bit too scary for me in real life, so these inanimate, brightly painted friends were a perfect compromise.
At first, I thought there would be a walking route to see all of the bears in the city. Well…the locations are listed online but there are hundreds so it wasn’t possible. I really wanted to find them all (I have that Pokemon trainer gotta catch ’em all mentality with things like this) but I think it would be a little too crazy to try in a five day trip.
Most, if not all of these bears are privately owned, so you can find them outside hotels, bars, embassies and souvenir shops. If you spend a few days walking around Berlin, you are guaranteed to spot several. There’s no need to go out of your way to find them.
In addition to the bears in Germany, there is travelling showcase of bears which visits several different countries each year. Each bear is painted to represent a different country. The exhibition has even been to Pyongyang, North Korea. You can read more about it here.
Berlin really runs with the bear theme – Here are some of the others I spotted during my trip: