Germany marks three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall this week, but a hint of a return of the Cold War and the rise of nationalism is dampening the mood. Leaders of former Cold War powers will be absent from anniversary festivities, as Donald Trump's America First, Britain's Brexit and Russia's resurgence put a strain on ties.
Gone, too, is the euphoric optimism for liberal democracy and freedom that characterized the momentous event on Nov 9, 1989, as Germany grapples with a surge in far-right support in its former communist states.
The spirit of optimism that we saw 30 years ago, or even five or 10 years ago, is not perceivable today, said Berlin's culture senator Klaus Lederer, whose office took the lead in putting together the capital's festivities for the week.
The mood is therefore reflective, but we are celebrating, he said. We are looking back at history together, and we are also talking about the future.
As a sign of the tense times, Germany will put on a sober political program to mark the epochal event that led to reunification and brought down the Iron Curtain dividing a communist East from a capitalist West.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the anniversary was a chance to remind Europe why it needs to stay united in the face of rising geopolitical tensions around the world.
Exhortations from individual European capitals fall on deaf ears in Moscow, Beijing and, unfortunately, to an increasing extent also in Washington, DC, he wrote in an op-ed carried in newspapers across the EU on Saturday.
It is only Europe's voice that carries decisive weight. This is why unilateral action at the national level must finally be taboo in Europe.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will set the tone with a speech on the eve of the anniversary at an event attended also by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
On Nov 9 itself, only central European presidents will headline the official ceremonies.
Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be joined by his Polish, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian counterparts, in town to mark the contribution of the central European countries to the peaceful revolution that led to the collapse of the communist regime.