It was on one of those rare cold and sunny winter days in Berlin, last February. I was having lunch with Brigitte Lacombe, the legendary photographer I had been admiring for so many years. We met at the restaurant Pauly Saal on Auguststrasse. It was our first meeting in person, but it felt like we had known each other for years. We shared stories about people we both loved to work with, exchanged our views on the magazine world, and when we were ready for ordering, the French-born Brigitte, ever curious, insisted on having a German white wine, not the Sancerre I had asked for. Brigitte had just started her weekly ZEITmagazin column, The Moment, where she chooses one of her photos and tells our readers about the situation she has captured in it. She told me how much she liked the design of our magazine, the way we present our stories, how we handle photography. Then she added a sentence that made something click in my mind: "I wish I could read it."
ZEITmagazin, based in Berlin, is the magazine section of Germany’s biggest weekly paper DIE ZEIT, with a circulation of 520,000 and over two million readers each week. Originally launched in 1970, the magazine was shut down in the late 1990s. In 2007, we relaunched it. Since then, we have been lucky enough to receive the German "Magazine of the Year" award twice. Our reporters, photographers, editors, designers and illustrators have won many more national and international awards.
More and more often in recent years, members of our editorial team have had conversations, similar to the one I had with Brigitte, with people in New York, Milan, London or Paris who had received copies of ZEITmagazin and all made the same point: "I wish I could read it."
So here we go: We are proud to present our first international edition, distributed worldwide via all those wonderful magazine and concept stores that have contributed to the flourishing of new international magazines over the past decade. For the first time, we are publishing in English our favorite stories, portraits, interviews, portfolios, fashion and design spreads from the previous few months. It’s our "Best of"-compilation, made in Berlin.
The writer Kurt Tucholsky once defined this city’s spirit with just two words: "Berlin becomes." Today, many decades after Tucholsky’s death, that description still rings true. Berlin is in flux, constantly evolving. It’s this openness that makes so many creative people from all over the world want to spend time in this town. They can easily relate to the Berlin State of Mind, whether they’re from New York (like our cover model, Dree Hemingway) or anywhere else on this planet.
You will find a lot of Berlin in this issue, but even more stories about the wider world we are part of – just like you would every week in regular issues of DIE ZEIT and ZEITmagazin, in their printed or digital versions (the tablet app "DIE ZEIT", including our lively digital magazine section, is available on iTunes), and, of course, on ZEIT ONLINE.
By the way, at the end of our lunch, Brigitte said that she really liked the German Riesling we had. She even photographed the bottle’s label. It was one of those rare sunny winter days in Berlin you never forget.