In 2018, Korean visual anthropologist Yoonha Kim brought me here. Since then, Handbestand has become my official meeting point with friends in Mitte. The most important thing about is that this secondhand bookstore café is open on Sundays! It smells of old books, literally: although mostly in German (and some are even in German dialects), the everyday-open café offers a museum-like range of secondhand books, and of course, good coffee and cakes made by its very friendly German owner, Thomas, who has given me a friendly discount for several beautifully printed books. Few English, Polish, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish books are among its beautiful collection.
Some of its highlights include children’s books and philosophical œuvres printed in the German Reich period through the East German regime up until some more recent times. An Irish coffee or a made-in-Berlin Milchkaffee only make this cultural café even cozier: either for a short stopover refreshment or a longer temporary working place. The most famous Berlin flea markets at Mauer Park or Alexander Platz are a few minutes away by tram or metro (UBahn) from here, but don’t forget its Bernauer Straße UBahn station! Handbestand is just in front of one of the two entrances/exits of this mythical station: trains from the West were not allowed to stop here, but they did go through this station when Berlin was still divided into two different worlds.