In 2011 a series called the Detroit-Berlin Connection was initiated by Martina Guzmann from the WDET. This is not only honouring this piece of work, but wanting to continue the journey – together with the most relevant organisations Berlin’s creative industry has to offer.

The Detroit- Berlin Connection is a story about how Berlin counterculture has transformed the city over a 25-year period, since the fall of the wall and the reunification of the capital, with the help of a common language everyone could understand: Techno. The Detroit-Berlin Connection project is an attempt to return Berlin’s transformational energy back to the city of its origin: Detroit.

Mike Banks started “UR” with Jeff Mills and Rob Hood. Tresor was found and it’s 1st 12″ release was “Sonic destroyer” by Jeff, Mike and Rob. It became a smash in Berlin, then worldwide and this classic track opened the techno alliance between Berlin and Detroit. The inspiration of Detroit techno has influenced the entire electronic techno community. It would be fair to say that Detroit techno has caused the biggest youth movement in the last century. We still cannot understand why this cultural format did not receive the attention in Detroit it deserved. The success and public reception of the techno movement in Berlin was also a door opener for different genres from fashion to art.

The time has come to give something back to Detroit.


As part of the Happy Locals Initiative, the Detroit-Berlin Connection is a collaborative, transatlantic effort to bring together creative individuals and communities in the two cities with the goal of driving cultural and economic growth in Detroit.

Timeline of Events

In 2014, we hosted our first conference at the MoCAD.  We started a conversation with the community.  Later that year we hosted our first workshop where we engaged people to share their questions and thoughts about the project.  There was an overwhelming show of support for the project and the audience was standing room only.  In 2015, we hosted our 2nd Annual Conference again at the MoCAD.  Tickets for this event sold out in 24 hours.  We engaged thought-leaders from inside and outside of the community to offer perspective.  The momentum and support for the project has reached a fever pitch.

Coming up in August of 2015, we are proud to host the first Detroit Delegation in Berlin.  The delegation will meet with members of the City of Berlin, as well as political, community and economic players and developers.  Being the first of it’s kind for the creative subculture, this delegation will bring together community leaders and policy makers from both cities to discuss how repurposed industrial spaces and the creative sub-culture can help contribute to Detroit’s recovery.