It was over 20 years ago that the United Buddy Bears first appeared as colourful ambassadors for tolerance and understanding between different peoples, cultures and religions. On their world tour, the two-metre-tall fibreglass bear sculptures have visited multiple locations on five different continents. Following exhibitions in Tokyo, Sydney, New Delhi and Rio de Janeiro, in 2020 the colourful bears returned to Berlin, where they went on display at Tierpark Berlin to mark the 65th anniversary of Europe’s biggest animal park. Over the past three years, two rows of 150 beautifully decorated bears have flanked the grand avenue leading to Friedrichsfelde manor house, providing a popular photo opportunity. Each of the bears has a unique design that reflects the culture, history, people and traditions of the country it represents.
The Buddy Bears will leave Tierpark Berlin at the end of the school summer holidays to continue their world tour and keep passing on their message of peaceful coexistence. Tierpark visitors can still admire the bears until 20 August. The exhibition is included in the ticket price.
Background: Buddy Bears
The United Buddy Bears project was launched in 2002 by entrepreneur couple Eva and Klaus Herlitz. Since their debut appearance in Berlin, the bears have been travelling the world. In every city – Berlin, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, Vienna, Cairo, Jerusalem, Warsaw, Stuttgart, Pyongyang, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Astana, Helsinki, Sofia, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, St. Petersburg, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Santiago de Chile, Guatemala City – the exhibition received extraordinary support from visitors and well-known personalities such as UNICEF ambassadors Sir Peter Ustinov, Jackie Chan and Mia Farrow, actor Iris Berben, German President Horst Köhler, Japanese Prime Minister Junichirô Koizumi, Prime Minister of Australia John Howard, and the President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez. Ultimately, the success of the Buddy Bears exhibitions is down to a winning combination of three important factors:
1. Art and culture
Millions of people simply enjoy the colourful designs on these loveable bears. Most of the designs also include elements that provide insight into the culture of the respective country.
2. Positive message
The harmonious positioning of the bears and additional information boards present the message of tolerance and understanding in a direct and meaningful way. This message is becoming increasingly important in the current global political climate.
3. Connection with children’s charities
The various activities organised alongside the exhibition help raise money for children in need. So far (as of July 2023), around €2.5 million has been raised for UNICEF and local children’s charities.
More information: https://www.buddy-baer.com