They turned out in impressive numbers - hundreds of thousands at least - to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago.
Bundled up against the cold and fortified with currywurst mit pommes, Berliners thronged to the Brandenburg Gate and other points along the route of the fortified border that once divided and disfigured their city.
They were there to celebrate, in a sober, orderly, German sort of way through music and simple togetherness, the culmination of Germany's peaceful revolution on November 9, 1989, when for the first time in 28 years East Germans were able to pour freely through to the West.
The highlight was the release of over 8000 balloons which had been strung along 15km of the route of the wall. There was an especially loud cheer when one balloon in front of me, which needed human assistance, was at last set free.
Without labouring the symbolism, it was appropriate Mikhail Gorbachev was guest of honour at a gathering of the great and good to mark the anniversary. No Gorby, no fall of the wall.
Few physical traces of the wall remain. But the memorial in Bernauerstrasse to the 130 who died trying to cross it is poignant.
Outright nostalgia for the old German Democratic Republic is rare, one is told, and seen as evidence of selective and fading memory. But disappointment that the pace of catch-up with West German standards of living was somewhat slow and remains incomplete is more widespread.
The population of Eastern Germany has fallen by around three million since reunification - roughly as many as moved to the West before the wall went up in 1961.
For the wider world, including New Zealand, the fall of the wall 25 years ago is a geopolitical event, marking the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Cold War.
For Germans it is of course more than that - the end of the post-World-War II partition of their capital and country and of the pervasive police state oppression of a fifth of the German people.
The financial and economic cost of reunification to Germany as whole has been high.
But it is whole.
And yesterday Berliners were out to celebrate that fact.