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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business ( working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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A concierge? A gift and trinket store? A bar and coffeehouse? Waiters and fine décor? This is a bank? Yes, this is Germany’s “Deutsche Bank” — the so-called “Bank of the Future” in central Berlin, the company’s one-and-only concept bank where it tests ideas for the world.

Berlin bank of the future Q110

HI Travel Tales was searching for a Deutsche Bank branch a few years ago in Berlin, pulled up a map on Google to find the closest, and headed there. Just down the block, one could recognize the color and markings of the Deutsche Bank sign, but then we got closer – and saw the name was “Q110”. Wait, a bank? We slowly and carefully walked in, not sure if this was really a bank. Didn’t see the typical wall of literature, tellers behind walls and glass windows, ATMs for doing nameless business, and barriers separating bankers from customers. Instead, we saw a lectern with a smiling greeter, expansive wood floors, a gift shop and, in the back, what looked like a bar. Yes, a bar with bottles of champagne and bartenders.

Hold on, hold on, I really came to withdraw some money…. The smiling concierge assured me we were in the right place at the Berlin Bank of the Future, and just to go on over to the line of lecterns along the side wall and stand in a short line. If the line is longer than a couple of folks, you may also get an aperitif or tea on the house.

Berlin bank of the future concierge and welcome area

Conduct business at the Berlin Bank of the Future

Yes, one does regular bank business in the Bank of the Future (“Die Bank der Zukunft”) near “Checkpoint Charlie,” but be prepared to be offered a cup of coffee, a restful sit, or even a glass of champagne. While one of you does business (either from a friendly teller at a barrier-free and open lectern or seated in the bar), the other can peruse the trinkets in the shop inside the Berlin Bank of the Future by Deutsche Bank.

Berlin bank of the future sipping a nice beverage

Therese sipping an espresso in the bar area during a 2014 visit ….wine, coffee, cakes … we’re not kidding.

No, really, we’re not on drugs.

“Q110 has the goal to provide new concepts and ideas for future retail banking,” branch manager Nadin Chucher later told HI Travel Tales via email. “Thus, we also call that branch a ‘trend laboratory.’”

Visit Q110 Bank of the Future by Deutsche Bank when in Berlin

And the Deutsche Bank’s concept shop in the Berlin Bank of the Future is ever changing. During several visits in recent years, we’ve seen different providers and trinkets in the Q110 gift shop, different layouts, different décor, obvious testing of sponsorships or partnerships (for example, with an airline partner), and often a tour with students or business people. The bar and coffee shop always remain with a slightly different design or layout perhaps, but still there. In fact, we were told some area business people come here after work for a bit of a happy hour combined with bank business. Or they just come.

Berlin bank of the future concept shop

“Everybody is heartily welcome in Q110 during its opening hours (Ed note: longer and more than normal banks). A well-known attraction point of Friedrichstrasse’s (Bank of the Future) is in particular the lounge of Q110,” Chucher said. “The style and furnishings of this focal point at the rear of the branch create the atmosphere of a high-quality hotel-style lounge bar. It welcomes customers and non-customers who like to enjoy an excellent coffee or lunch. “

After being founded in 2005, the Q110 Bank of the Future branch remains a bit of a curiosity to all, in fact worthy of a visit when traveling in Berlin. HI Travel Tales indeed finds it so much friendlier, warmer and welcoming than other banks that we make a point of heading there for bank business too. OK, so a beverage and cushy seats are nice benies!

Bank of the Future’s Q110 name not a chance

The Berlin Bank of the Future in is located on popular Friedrichstrasse (No. 181, near underground station “Stadtmitte” with lines U2 and U6), an area of former East Berlin. That is the heritage of the Q110 name.

“The name ‘Q110’ refers to the historical name of that area (in former East Berlin), which was called “Quartier 110,” Chucher said. “Q110 has meanwhile become kind of a landmark for visitors. Since the launch of Q110, its interior design, the facilities and concepts to be seen there have of course evolved, always keeping up with ongoing trends in banking and lifestyle.”

Berlin bank of the future bar area sponsored this time by Air Berlin

Air Berlin was the sponsor of the bar area when we last stopped by in 2015.

Its busy location makes partnerships with other businesses and companies very popular. HI Travel Tales was told that the store and the partnerships at Q110 Bank of the Future change about every quarter and are often high-profile brands, such as Harrod’s of London in late 2015. That means no matter how often you may travel to Berlin, a stop at the Deutsche Bank Q110 could be a new experience.

Plus, offerings often coordinate with the partner. During Harrod’s partnership, one could enjoy a traditional English tea, Chucher said.

Trend testing happens constantly, for example mobile banking, personal finance planners or other innovations. If successful, they are then launched across the Deutsche Bank platform.

HI Travel Tales will adventure back to Deutsche Bank’s Q110 Berlin Bank of the Future every time we’re traveling in Berlin. It’s interesting to see and experience what indeed banking “of the future” could entail. Yes, I’ll have a glass of bubbly please.

HITT Tip: Unfortunately, the website is only in German; however, the bankers all speak at least some English. If you are interested in a tour, go to this page on the Q110 website and click on the link at the bottom to register for a guided visit (You may have to use your favorite translation engine to move through the form.)

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Berlin is one of our favorite cities in the world. It is cosmopolitan, worldly, quirky, exotic, bohemian, evolving, vibrant and so very, very alive — there is something to do or see or experience 24 hours a day if you are so inclined. Little wonder so many tourists, wanderers, artists, authors, musicians, actors and creative minds discover and fall in love with Berlin. Whether you are visiting for one day, two days, a week or more, the best way to begin your quest to find what to do in Berlin is here. Our What to do in Berlin resource guide and links, map, as well as numerous articles highlighting insider travel tips for you will ensure your visit to Berlin is memorable.
Heads up! This information on the Berlin Bank of the Future was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.