World record: Is Berlin becoming the capital of cuddling?

Anyone can cuddle. And everyone likes it. Because cuddling brings people closer to each other – even if they do not speak the same language. With an unusual campaign, Tabea and Jeremias Wolf are setting an example in Berlin for integration and a loving togetherness: On February 17, they launched an attempt to set a cross-national world record in cuddling.

"Cuddling is a body language that is understood all over the world," says Jeremias Wolf, looking dreamily up into the air. The 29-year-old is a kind of expert in the field, because last year he and his partner Tabea published their first children's book. The title of the first work: "How cuddling was invented.” In it, a groundhog and raccoon, "two true friends", go through many adventures, until winter comes and they have to retreat into a cave. They’re soon cuddling there in a heart-warming fashion. Other animals copy them around the world – and thus become stuffed animals.

Freedom for me means to realise everything that comes from my own drive. Just the ability to say: I just do it now. It is difficult to get to this point but it is possible in Berlin. (Jeremias Wolf, author)

Onwards to the “world’s biggest hug”

Because cuddling is so nice and the winter in Berlin can be rather uncomfortable, Tabea and Jeremiah launched a very special campaign. They want to set a cuddling record on February 17. With the "world's largest group hug," which took place in the Dussmann cultural department store on Friedrichstrasse, the two wanted to "set an example for a loving togetherness, more reading aloud, and integration.” 61 children from 41 countries participated in the event. “Berlin is very international and open. The city is the ideal surrounding for us to set our cuddling record,” Tabea says before the cuddling event.  

Berlin stands for cosmopolitanism, creativity, and freedom

The chances of setting the record were indeed good: People from more than 190 countries currently live in Berlin. And out of the approximately 3.6 million inhabitants of the metropolis, about 20 percent moved from abroad to the capital. That is not happening by chance, because according to an image study conducted by the opinion research institute infratest dimap in 2017 on behalf of Berlin Partner, the city is now stands internationally for cosmopolitanism, a high quality of life, creativity, and freedom. Berlin is becoming increasingly popular with people from home and abroad as a center of life and work. Young adults between 18 and 30 years of age in particular are coming here – and more and more children are born on the Spree River.

Jeremias and Tabea are part of these young, creative, but also venturesome scene. Jeremias had already made a name for himself in the city as a children's book author before starting his new career as a startup entrepreneur. Tabea had a successful career as a strategic planner in marketing. In 2017, the two threw their previous lives completely overboard to start a new beginning as children's book authors. “The idea came to us about a year ago when we were sitting in a café," Tabea recalls. "There we came across a picture book that reminded us of our childhood. The thought of our own book immediately captivated us. We came upon the topic of cuddling intuitively.” 

Having freedom of action, discovering and exploring new things, and always looking back to what the world has to offer - that's freedom(Tabea Wolf, Illustratorin)

“Berlin has a special mentality”

The two got started at the spur of the moment: Jeremias, who has always had a penchant for poetry, wrote the rhyming texts. Tabea illustrated the cuddly adventure of the groundhog and raccoon. Just a few months later “How cuddling was invented” appeared from the small publishing house, which the two had founded together with a friend. After a short time, the first edition was out of print. Tabea and Jeremias are currently working on their next book.

“With our reboot, it certainly helped that we both had entrepreneurial backgrounds. Though you do have to be willing to take risks and be a bit crazy in order to carry through such an idea," says Jeremias, adding: “It’s also not possible in every city. Berlin just has a special mentality There is a creative environment in which many are willing to try something. "In his experience, something else speaks for Berlin: “Berlin is tolerant – even of mistakes. The people of Berlin regard themselves with a certain sense of humor. In this respect, no one holds it against you if something does not work out right away.” 

Jeremias and Tabea are also trusting in Berlin’s openness and tolerance with their cuddling campaign. Children from all over the world came to the Kulturkaufhaus on February 17 with their parents. From Argentina to Cyprus and from Turkey to Canada. At the end all the children received a certificate and a medal for their participation. Whether the result will be accepted as a cuddling record under the “Multi-National Group Hug” by the Guinness Book of World Records, still remains to be verified. But one thing is already certain today: Cuddling is always nice – and it brings people together. More info. at 

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