Eva and Klaus Herlitz came up with the idea of the Buddy Bears in 2002. They were guided by the idea of bringing art to the streets of the metropolises. The starting point was Berlin. So it was clear from the start that it could only be the bear. As the heraldic animal of Berlin and with a new friendly aura, it is ideally suited as a symbol for the capital. In close collaboration with Eva Herlitz, the Austrian sculptor Roman Strobl designed the first Buddy Bear sculptures (the so-called "Dancer", the "Acrobat", and the "Mini-Friend"; later also the sitting Buddy Bear). Based on designs by two master's students of the University of the Arts, another sculpture (the so-called Friend) was created in parallel.
At an exhibition in front of the Brandenburg Gate, each country of the United Nations was presented with a Buddy Bear painted to match the country. Over 100 artists had brought the bears to life within a few weeks. An impressive exhibition in the streets of Berlin. A symbol of tolerance, peace and international understanding. From the very beginning, the Buddy Bears were not meant to stand for the political system of the respective country but for the people in the countries and the separate culture.
Thus the task of the Buddy Bears was born. As ambassadors for tolerance, they were to carry kindness and acceptance for others into the world.
Most of the Buddy Bears were auctioned off for charity after the exhibition. But the new symbol of Berlin was so popular that Buddy Bears were soon created again. With its warmth, the colourful Buddy Bear found its way into the hearts of Berliners and the world. The latter, through a campaign by the German Embassy, made the Buddy Bears known as a symbol of a cosmopolitan Germany. The Berlin Buddy Bears can be seen in front of well over 100 foreign representations.
Companies and institutions at home and abroad bought their own Buddy Bears. In other cities, too, the Buddy Bears stood in public spaces at exhibitions. However, the Buddy Bears are often seen at "The Art of Tolerance" international exhibition. The more than 140 Buddy Bears travel worldwide and have already stopped off in Buenos Aires, New Delhi and many other cities on five continents. They stand paw to paw, so to speak, hand in hand for tolerance and spread peaceful coexistence between peoples through art.
Buddy Bears help from the very beginning
From the very beginning, Buddy Bear Berlin was intended to bring the bears into the world not only as tolerance ambassadors but also as helpers for good projects.
Most of the proceeds come from auctions of Buddy Bears. Whether in the Office of the Federal President, on ZDF or in a big way in the Mercedes World.
Buddy Bears have also found new owners at auctions abroad. For example, in Los Angeles with the help of Thea Gottschalk, Elke Sommer and Uschi Obermeier. In Tokyo, Sydney, St. Petersburg and Istanbul, Buddy Bears have already gone into new hands for a good cause.
As of July 2022, 2,525,000 € have been collected in this way since the foundation.colouring competitions, donations, income from Buddy Bear miniatures and much more contribute to this sum.
Buddy Bear Berlin forwards 5% of all net sales generated in the webshop to children's charities
. This applies to all sales at the stated retail price. Individual regulations apply to sculptures. So your Buddy Bear for home helps too.
For more information please visit buddy-bear.com