For the last twenty years, the YAAM (short for the Young and African Arts Market) has been a crucial part of Berlin’s youth and leisure culture. Comprised of makeshift shanty buildings covered in breath-taking graffiti art, tree houses with winding ladders, two recording studios, a stage area and beach bar with actual sandy beach, it is the perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon with a strong cocktail and good company.
Initially, the YAAM was founded as a youth center for kids of various nationalities, with an emphasis on African culture. At that time art and music played a strong part in the community, with Dancehall/Reggae fusion musicians Culcha Candela and Seeed performing their first live concerts here. Sport was also a huge part of the YAAM; basketball tournaments are still held there today, and there is a pingpong table and small football space in the beach bar area free for anyone to use. A plethora of events are held at the YAAM yearly, including Graffitibox, Germany’s largest street art event, music festivals, outdoor film screenings, and DJ hosted club events.
Nowadays, it is more inclusive of all kinds of people including families with small children. Jamaican inspired food, like jerk chicken with rice and sweet potato fries, is served in the bar area during the day, and there are lots of toys scattered around the beach for toddlers to play with while parents enjoy a chilled drink and soak up the friendly atmosphere. In 2006, the community center was awarded the Mete-Eksi Prize for its contribution to the peaceful co-existence of youth from different backgrounds, and this feeling of peace and openness still exists in abundance today.
Lazing in a hammock with reggae drifting through the air from the bar, looking out onto the river Spree glistening in the sunlight, you will feel a sense of overwhelming happiness and tranquility. Definitely aided by that person smoking a huge spliff next to you.
An der Schillingbrücke 3, 10243 Berlin | Mon-Sun 10am till late