Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

30th September 2014

Schwules out for summer
Posted by at 8.11pm | No responses | Gay, Out and About

Olympia-Stadion station offered the tantalising prospect of the U-Bahn museum, however the sign indicated that it was open very rarely, and Sunday afternoon was not one of those times. I continued to the platform for a train back into the town centre.

U-Bahn Museum

I had just a few hours left in Berlin. Time for some culture. I headed for the Schwules Museum on Lützowstraße. “Schwul”, for the uninitiated, is the German word for “gay”, as made famous by the city’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, who came out in 2001 by declaring “Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so.” (“I’m gay, and that is a good thing”).

Berlin’s gay scene is legendary, but I hadn’t immersed myself in it on this visit. On the Friday evening I had gone to a bar, Blond, which I had visited last time I was here, but had restricted myself to a couple of drinks before heading back to the hotel. On Saturday, I was too tired to even consider a night on the town. On top of all that, there was (unbeknownst to me at time of booking) a “fetish festival” taking place that weekend, which meant that Fuggerstraße was full of people in leather thongs and dog costumes. All very fun, but not necessarily something I wanted to take part in (plus you had to pay to get in).


The museum is small but perfectly formed. An exhibition of gay art in one room and, in another, a display about gays in the armed forces. Often, in a stereotype-smashing development, they ended up in performing arts groups, tasked with entertaining the other troops.

There were “no photography” signs all over the place, but I risked everything to take one photo.

Scwhules Museum

Nice touches – the toilets were gender neutral (labelled with symbols for “toilets with urinals” and “toilets with cubicles”). There was a children’s play area, indicating that – here at least – gayness is not something that has to be kept away from kids.

I stayed in the museum for an hour or so, then headed back to Nollendorfplatz. My friend Dave had recommended Brunos, the gay bookshop. I’m not sure why he thought I’d be interested, but I thought I’d check it out anyway.


There was everything for the discerning homosexual inside. Books, magazines, DVDs, gifts, you name it. There was ruder fare on display, but I was conscious that my luggage would be going through an X-ray machine the next day, so restricted myself to stuff that I knew I would be able to get through customs. I came away from there with a souvenir that would last a lifetime (or, at least, until the end of 2015).


I headed back to my hotel to pick up my luggage, and then caught the train back to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. My visit to Berlin was almost over, but I was going to make my exit in the most stylish way possible, eschewing the plane in favour of the overnight sleeper train.

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