Where Does the Bear Symbol of Berlin Come From?


Where Does the Bear Symbol of Berlin Come From?



Can there be any connection between a bear and Berlin? If yes, how can this be? The answers are not certain but there are some arguments about them.


According to handwritten documentaries named a bishop of Cölln, Berlin is found in 1237. In 1253, Berlin’s city seal was an eagle because of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1280, the city seal has turned into 2 standing bears with the Brandenburg eagle.



In 1709, the cities Cölln and Berlin have officially merged as one city. At that time, the coat of arms had a bear with a neck band below the Brandenburg eagle and Prussia eagle (one was red and the other one was black). When Berlin became a free city in 1875, the neck band the bear had was gone.



In 1380, all of the documents that explains the bear symbol have been lost in fire unfortunately. All we had is the theories about it. One of the theories is that the bear symbol is a reference for Albrecht the Bear who is the founder of the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1157 and rules the area around today’s Berlin. But this does not explain the eagle.



There is another theory says that the bear is referred to the German word ‘bär’ which means bear. And there were actually living bears around Berlin. In German, ‘ber’ with the -lin extension means ‘little bear’, so maybe that means Berlin = Little Bear.


Also there is one more theory which states that ‘Berlin’ originates from the Slavic word ‘berl’ which means swamp. So that with the -lin, it means ‘little swamp’ maybe. However, the bear itself is still Berlin’s coat of arms, logo and mascot.


Although we don’t know the origin of the bear, Berlin and Berliners really love the Berlin Bear. Their love is so big that it is not difficult to see bears everywhere in Berlin, in museums, in boundaries, in bridges, in hotels etc.



In 2001, Kluas and Eva Herlitz have decided to start a street art project called Buddy Bears. Their friends who were 2 master students in Berlin University of Arts (Anne and Roman Strobel) have designed the first siblings of the Buddy Bears. It was not a surprise that the project went very popular. More than 100 bears have designed, presented and they have attracted the public.



While you can see the bear symbol around the city, you can also buy souvenirs of Berlin Bear (mugs, t-shirts, pens, bibelots and so forth).



source: https://berlindividedcity.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/the-bear-the-symbol-of-berlin/

source: https://www.nuberlin.com/berlin-info/berlin-bear-coat-of-arms-of-berlin/

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