Potsdamer Platz

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B1 Potsdamer Platz
Coat of arms of Berlin.svg
Place in Berlin
Potsdamer Platz
View of Potsdamer Platz, 2016
Basic data
place Berlin
District Zoo
Created 18th century
Newly designed 1990s
Confluent streets
Potsdamer Strasse ,
Leipziger Platz,
Alte Potsdamer Strasse,
Stresemannstrasse ,
Buildings BahnTower , Beisheim Center ,
Kollhoff Tower ,
Sony Center
User groups Pedestrian traffic , bicycle traffic , public transport , underground parking

The Potsdamer Platz is a space-like transportation hub in the Berlin districts of Mitte and Tiergarten in the district of Mitte, between the old city to the east and the new West Berlin . As a double space , it connects to the west of Leipziger Platz .

During the construction of the Berlin customs and excise wall, the Potsdamer Tor was erected in 1734 . From the late 18th century onwards, the Berlin-Potsdamer Chaussee (later Potsdamer Strasse ) began there and was an important link in the network of the Prussian State Exhibition Lakes . The green area to the west of the gate, the square in front of the Potsdamer Thor , was given its current name in 1831.

With the Potsdam train station , the underground station and numerous tram - and bus lines Potsdamer Platz until the end of was World War II, one of the busiest squares in Europe, and therefore was already the end of 1924 with the control tower one of the first traffic light installations on the continent. In the first 40 years of the 20th century, the square and the streets that emanated from it were a popular meeting place for the political, social and cultural scene in Berlin.

After the war ended , Potsdamer Platz formed a " triangle " between the Soviet, British and American sectors in divided Berlin . As of August 1961, ran the Berlin Wall about the place of the following nearly three decades of one a marginal existence as urban wasteland permanent. After the opening of the Wall on November 9, 1989, a new situation arose: early in the morning on November 12, a piece of the Wall was cleared from Potsdamer Platz and a provisional border crossing was created. The terrain, which was built on the historic street layout after 1990, is one of the most striking places in the city and is a tourist attraction.



The Potsdamer Tor took over the function of the Leipziger Tor, which was demolished in 1738, in the southwest of old Berlin and was therefore synonymous with the New Leipzig Gate for a long time . It was one of fourteen gates in the Berlin excise wall, which was completed by 1737. To the west of the gate, five streets and paths came together like rays. The most important connection was that to the New Garden near Potsdam , the summer residence of King Friedrich Wilhelm II. From 1788 to 1795 the Berlin-Potsdamer Chaussee was laid out, one of the first art streets in the Kingdom of Prussia . According to plans by the royal master builder Karl Friedrich Schinkel , the dilapidated old Potsdam city gate was replaced by two gatehouses in the classical style in 1824 . Even after the excise wall was demolished in 1867, the two “Schinkel” remained standing and shaped the square until the end of the Second World War .

Leipziger Thor ( Potsdamer Tor ) seen from Leipziger Platz , drawing by Schinkel , 1866
The first electric street lighting with carbon arc lamps installed in 1882 , painting from 1884

Potsdamer Platz, which was then still on the outskirts , was further strengthened in 1838 with the construction of the first Potsdam train station for the Berlin-Potsdamer Railway and the opening of the connecting line in 1850 (closed again in 1871) step by step into a metropolitan transshipment point for people and goods from suburban traffic via the two side stations of the Wannsee and Ringbahn, built in 1891 . In the Belle Époque after the founding of the Empire in 1871, new hotels and restaurants opened around the square, including the Hotel Fürstenhof at the confluence of Königgrätzer Straße and the literary and artist meeting point Café Josty on the west side of Potsdamer Platz with a direct view of Leipziger Straße . On the north side (Potsdamer Platz 1), the Grand Hotel Bellevue , also known as the Thiergarten Hotel or Hotel Du Parc , opened in 1888 , and to the east opposite at Leipziger Platz 18 behind the northern gatehouse, the Palast Hotel opened in 1893 .

In the fall of 1882, the first electric street lighting in Berlin, supplied by Siemens & Halske , went into operation. A total of 36  carbon arc lamps replaced the gas light that had been used up until then from Potsdamer Platz via Leipziger Strasse to Friedrichstrasse .


North side around 1900: confluence with Königgrätzer Straße (since 1957 Ebertstraße ) with Grand-Hotel Bellevue on the left and Palast Hotel on the right ( photochromic print )

By the First World War , other businesses were established around the square and in the surrounding area. The Wertheim department store , built from 1896 to 1906 on the northeast side of Leipziger Platz on 27,000 m² of land according to plans by Alfred Messel in three construction phases , for which Heinrich Schweitzer created an extension in 1911/1912, became a magnet for visitors .

From 1902 onwards, the Potsdamer Platz U-Bahn ( underground) station formed another transport connection , one of the first stations of the Berlin U-Bahn , the first line of which ran south from there to the Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station .

Weinhaus Rheingold , view from Bellevuestrasse around 1907
1927: Traffic tower on Potsdamer Platz , in the background between the two gatehouses you can see the Wertheim department store on Leipziger Straße .
1928: Pschorr-Haus at night
The ELIDA - neon advertising belongs to the Telschow-Haus on Potsdamer Strasse.
1932: Nocturnal view from Potsdamer Platz to the southeast into Stresemannstrasse with the Vaterland house; To the left in the darkness the Hotel Fürstenhof , further back the recently completed Europahaus with Allianz neon advertising

As a hub close to the center, the area around Potsdamer Platz developed into a metropolitan entertainment district. While employees, secretaries and business people rushed to their workplaces or tourists strolled here during the day, those looking for amusement, vaudeville- goers and prostitutes dominated the scene at night . Although the practice of prostitution was strictly forbidden in the Berlin of the German Empire , a red-light district has developed around the square since the beginning of the 20th century . This side of Potsdamer Platz became famous through the painting by the expressionist artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner , Potsdamer Platz, 1914 , which depicts two sophisticatedly dressed women and a number of other people against a nightlife background.

Immediately behind the building of Café Josty on the west side (Potsdamer Platz 2 or Bellevuestraße  21/22),  the Rheingold wine house was built from 1905 to 1907 in the complex Bellevuestraße 19/20 and Potsdamer Straße 3 (No. 8 from 1937) Large restaurant of the Aschinger group with space for up to 4000 guests.

Following the architect was right next to Potsdamer Straße 4 (no. 10 from 1937) in the years 1907/1908 to plans Otto Stahnsdorfer a later Vox house called steel-framed building , which with a brick Art Nouveau was clad facade. From 1921 it housed the Vox-Schallplatten- und Speechmaschinen-AG and the radio hour Berlin transmitter in the attic . The history of radio in Germany began there with the first public radio broadcast on October 19, 1923 . After the war, cinemas (Camera , Aladin) and shops moved into the repaired house . With the construction of the wall, the customers stayed away. On March 22, 1971, the more than 60-year-old house was blown up and the property was cleared.

Also at the beginning of the 20th century, a property developer, whose shareholders included members of the ducal houses of Hohenlohe , Fürstenberg and Henckel von Donnersmarck , left the Grand Hotel Esplanade on the rear side (Bellevuestraße 17/18) next to the Rheingold wine house according to plans by the architect Otto Rehnig erect. Along with the Hotel Kaiserhof on Wilhelmplatz and the Hotel Adlon ( Unter den Linden / Pariser Platz ), it was one of the most famous hotels in the city. The building, which cost around 23 million marks (adjusted for purchasing power in today's currency: around 138.5 million euros), had several splendid halls, including the Imperial Hall , in which Kaiser Wilhelm II held his exclusive gentlemen's evenings. The 1600 m² garden in the inner courtyard was also a special attraction. The Kaisersaal, which had been preserved, was moved 75 meters in March 1996 and integrated into the Sony Center .

The architects Conrad Heidenreich & Paul Michel designed and built the Weinhaus Huth at Potsdamer Straße 139 in 1911/1912 (No. 5 from 1937, since 1997 Alte Potsdamer Straße 5), in the post-war period, not exactly as the "last house on Potsdamer Platz" designated. The with a facade of limestone stone veneered steel skeleton was after the construction of the Berlin Wall alone in an open area on the West Berlin area next to the remains of the hotel Esplanade and became a symbol of the destruction and division of the city.

1935: View from Columbushaus to the south on Potsdamer Platz, shortly before the start of construction work for the underground S-Bahn station

In 1911, the Siechen beer house  located at Behrenstrasse 24 added the Beer Palace (Potsdamer Platz 3) on the south-western side of the square in front of the Potsdamer Bahnhof . The restaurant, designed by the architect Johann Emil Schaudt , was run by Siechen until 1920, then used for a number of years and taken over by the Pschorr brewery from 1925 onwards and is therefore better known in Berlin's architectural history as the Pschorr-Haus on Potsdamer Platz . The ruin was demolished in 1952.

On the other (south-east) side of Potsdamer Bahnhof, the six-storey Potsdam house was built in 1911/1912 at the confluence of Köthener Strasse and Königgrätzer Strasse (from 1930: Stresemannstrasse ) within sight of the square according to plans by the architect Franz Schwechten , a mixture of amusement palace and Office building with a distinctive dome facing the square. In 1914, shortly after the start of the First World War, the Café Piccadilly operated there was renamed Vaterland - Coffee House Potsdamer Platz . A large cinema was housed in the house, and the UFA founded at the end of 1917 also had offices there. After being converted into a large restaurant, it reopened in 1929 under the name of Haus Vaterland and, under the management of the Kempinski family, became the largest amusement palace in the German Empire. Well-known restaurants in the building were the Rheinterrassen (with an hourly thunderstorm simulation), the Viennese café and wine bar Grinzing and the Bavarian pub Löwenbräu . The elongated building was severely hit several times during the Allied air raids on Berlin . After the war, some rooms with simple furnishings in the northern part of the building could be rebuilt and continued to operate as the HO-Restaurant Haus Vaterland . Due to its location directly on the sector border , however, it ended up in an inner-city peripheral location. After the Wall was built in 1961, the increasingly dilapidated building was no longer accessible until the area was swapped in 1972. For traffic safety reasons, the ruin was finally removed in 1976.

In front of the Potsdam house, north-east of the train station, was the small cemetery of the Trinity parish and Mother Michaelis' flower hall until 1922 .

In the " Golden Twenties " from the end of 1924, the traffic storm with the first traffic lights in Germany shaped the streetscape. The Berliner Straßenbahn-Betriebs-GmbH submitted the building application due to the increasing volume of traffic, the site manager was the house architect Jean Krämer . The electrical and signaling equipment came from Siemens & Halske . The three lights were not arranged vertically, as is usual today, but horizontally. The traffic lights that had just emerged in the USA served as a model . During the construction work for the tunnel station for the north-south S-Bahn , the traffic tower was dismantled in the night from October 1st to October 2nd, 1937.

1932: Columbushaus on the site of the Grand Hotel Bellevue, which was demolished in 1928 .
On the left in the building of the former Café Josty , the Friediger confectionary opened in 1931 .
1938: View to the southwest over Leipziger and Potsdamer Platz with the two gatehouses from 1824 From left to
right: Hotel Fürstenhof, Saarlandstraße , Pschorr-Haus, Potsdamer Straße, Conditorei Friediger (Café Josty), Hermann-Göring-Straße (since 1947: Ebertstraße ) , in the front right the palace hotel

As early as 1905, Emil Högg designed two large four-flame arc lamp candelabra , which were set up in the center of the square and were also removed when the underground S-Bahn station was built around 1937. The forging work was carried out by the Reinickendorf company Schulz &  Holdefleiss , the carbon arc lamps were supplied by AEG.

The line of sight of Leipziger Strasse aimed precisely at the two corner properties Potsdamer Strasse 1a (from 1937: No. 2) and Bellevuestrasse 21/22 with the Café Josty. At the beginning of the 20th century, the exposed location of the two buildings was used for ever larger outdoor advertising. Initially, billboards and neon signs were installed, followed by animated walking signs in the 1920s . The corner house at Potsdamer Strasse 1a was rebuilt and added to the plans by Hermann Muthesius in 1924 in order to be able to offer even larger advertising space.

The architectural office Gebr. Luckhardt and Anker ( Wassili and Hans Luckhardt with Alfons Anker ) rebuilt the Telschow House next to the Pschorr House (Potsdamer Strasse 141; No. 1 from 1937) in the New Objectivity style in 1928/1929 . The building of the Conditorei Telschow received an elegantly curved facade made of multi-colored opaque glass and thus became one of the most modern buildings in Berlin.

The ten-storey Columbushaus , built on behalf of Wertheim according to designs by Erich Mendelsohn on the property of the Grand Hotel Bellevue, which was demolished in 1928, completed the series of modern, ambitious buildings on the square from 1932.

From 1932, trunk road No. 1 (from 1934 Reichsstrasse 1 ), which connected Aachen with East Prussia , ran across the square . Since 1990, it is up to the Oder the Bundesstraße 1 .

Almost 40 days after the start of the Second World War , the Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn station was opened on October 9, 1939 .

Until the Second World War , Potsdamer Platz was one of the liveliest squares in Europe. After the Allied air raids in 1943/1944 and the Battle of Berlin in April 1945, however, it was largely in ruins.


Potsdamer Platz 1945: On the left the Columbushaus, on the right the ruins of the Hotel Fürstenhof

After the war, the ruins were around above ground around the square enttrümmert , the area then served for a time as construction and storage space for the product to be recycled materials. Soon the "triangle" between the Soviet, British and American sectors served as a flourishing black market . With the introduction of the Deutsche Mark in the western sectors and the beginning of the Berlin blockade in June 1948, the picture changed again and on August 21 of the same year the administration marked the border between the Soviet and the neighboring western sectors with a line for the first time the asphalt.

In anticipation of an imminent reconstruction - as in other parts of the city - the remainder of the buildings on Potsdamer Platz were poorly restored, but in simpler forms. In the former amusement palace Haus Vaterland , among other things, a restaurant moved again. In the lower floors of the burned, ten-storey Columbus house opened one of the first DDR - HO -Kaufhäuser. During the popular uprising on June 17, 1953 , the commercial building, the House of Fatherland and other buildings , located exactly on the border of the Soviet sector, burned down again. In the years that followed, vacancies gradually became widespread in almost all buildings around Potsdamer Platz, as the entire area had lost all value for investors over the decades .

1952: Stresemannstrasse with the ruins of Hotel Fürstenhof (left) and Haus Vaterland
1975: View from Potsdamer Platz to the ruins of the Vaterland house shortly before the demolition

When the square was divided by the Berlin Wall in August 1961 , this development intensified. By the mid-1970s, almost all of the remaining buildings had been demolished. On the east side of the square, the GDR's need for security was responsible for this: At no other point on the Berlin Wall were the actual wall and the interior wall separated by such a wide death strip as at Potsdamer Platz. Almost all the buildings that were within the strip had to disappear, including those on Ebertstrasse and Stresemannstrasse, as well as the remains of the Wertheim department store on Leipziger Platz . The former Prussian Ministry of Agriculture, which has been the seat of the Federal Environment Ministry since the government moved to Berlin , on Stresemannstrasse has been preserved.

On the west side, the Berlin Senate gradually bought up a lot of unused ruins in order to have the last remnants of the buildings removed as they represented a source of danger. Among other things, the ruins of the Prinz-Albrecht-Palais , the Ethnographic Museum and Anhalter Bahnhof located to the south-east of the square were abandoned. The mostly intact Vox house was blown up in 1971 due to a lack of new users and the still quite considerable remains of the Vaterland house were removed in 1976. The plans at that time envisaged using the site for the construction of a city ​​motorway , which was only built after the fall of the Wall in the form of the Tiergarten Spreebogen tunnel. A slow change of opinion began in the western part of the square in 1981 with the restoration of the Martin-Gropius-Bau , the former arts and crafts museum.

Until the opening of the wall in 1989, the square had a "marginal" existence as an inner-city wasteland , on the western part of which a Rollheimer village had settled. There were also a handful of food stalls and souvenir shops for tourists, and there were platforms from which visitors could get a view of the eastern part of the city. In the 1987 film Der Himmel über Berlin by Wim Wenders , some scenes take place in the western part of Potsdamer Platz.

Due to its central location near the relief road created after the construction of the wall , which now absorbed part of the traffic flows around the Großer Stern , Potsdamer Platz was one of the points in the western part of the city where the wall, which was otherwise often displaced, could still be seen . Significant changes in the course of the border later resulted from the exchange of areas, partly combined with compensation payments in DM , when the area of ​​the former Potsdam train station in 1972 and the Lenné triangle in 1988 became West Berlin area.

Opening of the Wall at Potsdamer Platz, November 1989

After the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989, a new situation arose after decades of neglect: a few days later, a piece of the wall at Potsdamer Platz was demolished, an excavated stretch of road was paved and a provisional border crossing was created on November 12, 1989.

Since 1990

Construction site of the Kollhoff Tower , 1999
View of the buildings: on the left the Potsdamer Platz quarter with the former debis-Haus (today: Atrium Tower ) and Kollhoff-Tower , in the middle the Bahnower , on the right the Sony Center , in front of it the Beisheim Center , in front the P5 (Potsdamer 5th place) also by the architect Kollhoff, 2004
High-rise formation: Forum Tower, Kollhoff Tower ,
Railway Tower

In 1990 Roger Waters performed the concert The Wall on the no man's land between Potsdamer Platz and Pariser Platz. It was the biggest concert in the history of rock music to date . With regard to urban development, at least since German reunification, the question of what the traditional link between the eastern and western centers of Berlin should look like in the future has arisen. The sale of the land to the automotive group Daimler-Benz (from 1998 DaimlerChrysler , from 2007 Daimler ) by the Berlin Senate took place very quickly. Senate Building Director Hans Stimmann tried to implement an urban development based on the traditional eaves and block structures of Berlin, which should be kept in the style of postmodern architecture . It was supposed to become a “European city” so called by Stimmann and represent a “critical reconstruction”. The project by the architects Hilmer and Sattler corresponded to this with its largely uniform eaves height of 35 meters. The dissatisfied investors, however, launched an alternative project by the international star architect Richard Rogers and prevailed with their highly condensed concept of a (high-rise) city for the 21st century . The implemented solution was not only met with approval. On the one hand, the speed of the sale, on the other hand, the abandonment of the city's own will to plan and, third, the fact that the investors not only built the streets and squares, but also acquired house rights in a publicly accessible urban area by purchasing property. The architect Rem Koolhaas , as one of the jurors of the Potsdamer Platz competition, castigated the plans as a " dilettante image of the city" and left the jury in 1991. Proponents, on the other hand, pointed to the tense Berlin financial situation and argued that the redesign of the huge wasteland would ultimately only be possible with a bold move from a single source.

Preparations for the future construction also included the demolition of the Bellevue Tower on Eichhornstrasse in October 1993. The 14-storey high-rise, clad with exposed aggregate concrete , was built in 1971 as one of the few new buildings in the area around Potsdamer Platz. Originally used as a hotel, the Bellevue Tower later became a dormitory for students and asylum seekers, and in the end it bore clear signs of neglect.

During the 1990s, Potsdamer Platz became the largest inner-city construction site in Europe. The construction progress could be observed and models of the future buildings could be viewed from a viewing container called an " Infobox " on the opposite Leipziger Platz . Roughly divided, four different complexes were built on the wasteland bordering the former Potsdamer Platz. The 27,000 m² Sony Center , located in the north-west between the newly created relief road and the (new) Potsdamer Platz, was designed by Helmut Jahn . The triangular area houses cafés, the Berlin Film Museum with the Deutsche Kinemathek , apartments, offices and the European headquarters of Sony . In the direction of the (new) Potsdamer Platz, the Sony area ends with the headquarters of the Deutsche Bahn holding company in Berlin, the Bahnower .

In October 1996, the Senate celebrated the topping-out ceremony for the 85-meter-high building of the Daimler-Benz subsidiary debis with a crane ballet . Under the direction of Daniel Barenboim , 19 cranes “danced” for seven minutes in sync with the sounds of the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th symphony ( Ode to Joy ).

Theater on Potsdamer Platz , musical theater and the main venue of the Berlinale every February : Berlinale Palast

To the south of the Daimler-Benz area is the Potsdamer Platz quarter, with around 70,000 m² of the dominant building complex. Among other things, the debis house (today: Atrium Tower ) designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano is located here - recognizable by the striking green cube on its top.

Another eye-catching skyscraper is located directly opposite the railway tower: the 103-meter-high Kollhoff Tower designed by Hans Kollhoff in the New York brick style . According to its own statement, it contains the fastest elevator in Europe and provides a good overview of Potsdamer Platz and its surroundings from the roof terrace above. In autumn 2012 , the house owner, SEB Asset Management , had a designed pigeon house erected on the lower roof of the Forum Tower, the construction of which had cost 100,000 euros. The facility consists of aluminum in the form of a crystal and contains around 70 nesting places. The care was provided by the animal welfare association; this enabled the pigeon plague in the Potsdamer Platz district to be significantly reduced. In December 2016 the pigeon house was dismantled because a viewing terrace is to be set up at this point; it is expected to be set up again on the parking garage at Südkreuz station . The maintenance of this system cost around 30,000 euros per year.

Beisheim Center
Remembering the course of the wall at Potsdamer Platz
Galileo by Mark di Suvero on the Piano Lake at the Atrium Tower

The rest of the architecture also shows some Mediterranean style references. The focal point of the Potsdamer Platz district is Marlene-Dietrich-Platz to the south-west . Located around it are the Theater am Potsdamer Platz (formerly: Musical-Theater Berlin ), the Bluemax (theater of the Blue Man Group , former IMAX cinema ), a casino , the luxury hotel Grand Hyatt Berlin as well as variety theaters and restaurants. Due to its location between two rows of buildings in the southern block and the roofing, the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden form a weather-protected shopping street.

At that time debis-Haus, Kollhoff-Tower, Bahn-Tower and entrance to Potsdamer Platz station at night
View from the north of the Sony Center

The southern end of the high-rise triad on the square is a building built according to plans by Renzo Piano , in which PricewaterhouseCoopers has its Berlin branch. Like the neighboring Kollhoff Tower, it has a triangular floor plan and the rear area is designed like a staircase, so that it leads to the subsequent development. In contrast to the Kollhoff Tower, the upper vertical part has a glazed facade.

Two smaller units complete the redevelopment of the former wasteland: the north set among Sony Center and Tiergarten, among others, Otto Beisheim erected Beisheim Center with several hotels like the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton , and further south, the Park Colonnade - five predominantly Buildings planned with office space. At the eastern end of Potsdamer Platz is the Delbrück skyscraper designed by Hans Kollhoff , also known as P5 (house number of the square). As in the Kollhoff Tower, the Delbrück high-rise has offices for lawyers, tax consultants, auditors and management consultants. Underground tunnels enable a connection between the high-rise apartment buildings and the railway tower.

With the Tilla-Durieux-Park and the Henriette-Herz-Park , two parks were also realized. The Tilla-Durieux-Park delimits the Potsdamer Platz quarter from the park colonnades via a sloping meadow that rotates lengthways around its own axis. It is located on the site of the former Potsdam train station. The four railway tubes of the north-south long-distance railway tunnel run under it . The lawn is interrupted in the middle of the rectangular, 450-meter-long base. Five oversized stainless steel rockers were arranged there by the park's architects. In doing so, they met politicians' demands for a playground in a slightly different way.

Henriette-Herz-Park, designed by the same team of architects, is located between the Sony Center and the Beisheim Center. A special feature of this second park area in the direction of the zoo is the elevation modeling divided into clods and the edging of the lawns made of Finnish granite. Both the Tilla-Durieux-Park and the smaller Henriette-Herz-Park complement the bustle of the rest of the area with rooms for rest and relaxation. Both parks enjoy wide acceptance and are used - especially in summer - as sunbathing areas for relaxation.

The red info box was dismantled after the end of the new building in 2001. A similar development concept was later used for the Leipziger Platz , which adjoins Potsdamer Platz to the east and is now largely built-up .

While company skyscrapers, commercial and office buildings determine the picture on the new Potsdamer Platz, a living space share of 20% is planned in the long term. Extrapolated, this means that 20,000 people should live here one day. Due to the "drawing board design", critics fear that a "city within the city" will ultimately emerge here. Despite all the hustle and bustle, it is noted that groups of people who otherwise belong to the metropolitan street scene, such as the homeless , punks or street musicians , are not to be found on Potsdamer Platz and the whole thing has a very artificial character.

Culture found its way into the long deserted center of Berlin only hesitantly. A milestone was the opening of the Berlinale in 2000 in the Sony Center . The inner courtyard of the Sony Center , the Sony Plaza , was converted into a sports broadcasting center for ZDF for the 2006 World Cup . At least parts of the area are now frequented by locals and tourists alike. The complex has developed into the capital's fifth most important shopping address. Skeptics now admit that at least life has returned to Potsdamer Platz as a result of the new buildings. In 2008, the first Expressionale with the art of Expressionism and New Objectivity took place in the Park Colonnades .

The major corporations Daimler and Sony have since sold their sites. On December 13, 2007, the Daimler site was sold to the real estate subsidiary of the financial services group SEB at an unpublished price; the desired minimum price was given as 1.2 billion euros. This also includes the Potsdamer-Platz arcades . The area went to Savills Fund Management in Frankfurt in 2008 , which incorporated it into the open-ended SEB Immoinvest fund . Due to the financial crisis from 2007 onwards , the fund got into difficulties due to capital withdrawal, so that it was officially closed in 2010 and the properties were (again) for sale. As the “fillet” of the fund with several interested parties, the Daimler site remained in the fund's possession for several years - there was time until 2018 for the property to be sold off completely. In February 2013, the block with the Grand Hyatt hotel was sold to Al Rayyan Tourism and Investment (Artic) , an Emirate of Qatar . In October 2015, the remaining area was sold to Brookfield Property Partners, based in Canada. The remaining 267,000 m² area brought in an estimated 1.4 billion euros , with which SEB Immoinvest made a profit on resale.

Memories of the 20th century

  • The former Weinhaus Huth in the Potsdamer Platz district is now a restaurant and has been integrated into the new overall complex.
  • The remains of the old Esplanade Hotel were built into the Sony Center .
Replica of the traffic storm (historical traffic light) in the 21st century
  • A replica of the traffic storm (the traffic light) from 1924 was initially set up in front of the red info box on Leipziger Platz in 1997 and moved to Potsdamer Platz in 2000.
  • The markings made of cobblestones in the pavement, notches in the pedestrian area of ​​the square and a stele newly erected in the 21st century are reminiscent of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz and thus the division of Berlin .
  • At the south exit of the Potsdamer Platz underground station is the base for a Karl Liebknecht memorial planned in the GDR , which was unveiled on August 13, 1951. The monument was never executed. After the wall was built, the base was in the death strip and was therefore not accessible. In March 1995 it was dismantled and exhibited in the Lapidarium Berlin-Kreuzberg . In November 2003 it was set up again.
  • The eventful history of Potsdamer Platz has been digitally experienced on site since the 2010s. The visitor has free access to panorama pictures of the past decades via QR code with smartphone . Depending on the direction of view, the image section moves with it, so that a comparison between today and earlier is possible.

Art & Sculptures

A total of eight sculptures from the Daimler AG collection are on display in the Potsdamer Platz district , most of which were made by the respective artists as commissioned works. Four are located on the areas outside the area:

From the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2010, the sculpture Balloon Flower from the Celebration series by Jeff Koons stood on Marlene-Dietrich-Platz . The distinctive blue brilliant work, which was a popular photo opportunity, was established in November 2010 on Christie's New York for 16.9 million US dollars sold.

The sculpture Landed by Auke de Vries, recognizable from afar, is attached to the facade of the debis-Haus .

The metal steles in the middle of Potsdamer Strasse near the square on the Boulevard der Stars , which were started in 2010 and are constantly being expanded, can not be overlooked . The steles and associated stars for the floor are manufactured by Fittkau based on a design by ARGE ART + COM & Graft GbR .


Rail transport

Remnants of the old tram tracks on Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, 1988
South entrance to the station
North entrance


Until the end of the Second World War, Potsdamer Platz was a place used by many trams above ground. The last remains of the rails were removed when it was completely renovated.

Railway as well as U- and S-Bahn

In contrast to Friedrichstrasse station, for example, Potsdamer Platz is not a really important transfer point for the underground and S-Bahn systems. However, due to its location on the north-south route to the main station , parallel to the above-ground structures, it was also connected to regional traffic with a tunnel station. Regional trains of the DB and ODEG , the S-Bahn ( north-south tunnel ) and the U2 subway line currently stop at the Potsdamer Platz regional station . The square can also be reached via numerous bus lines . In the medium term, a tram connection through Leipziger Strasse is planned, which can be supplemented or even replaced via the long-term, newly planned underground line U3 . In the north-south direction, another S-Bahn line ( planning name: S21 ) is to be built in the long term , primarily for better public transport access to the main station.

Motorized individual traffic (MIT)

Essentially four large streets, in west-east direction Potsdamer - and Leipziger Straße ( Bundesstraße 1 ) and in north-south direction Ebert - and Stresemannstraße , lead individual motorized traffic to and from Potsdamer Platz. Smaller streets within the individual quarters provide the connection to the underground parking garages . In addition, a tunnel-running connection between the Uferstraße on the Landwehr Canal and the main train station was put into operation in 2006: the Tiergarten Spreebogen tunnel forms a section of the federal highway 96 here .

Non-motorized private transport

In the redesign of Potsdamer Platz, environmentally friendly and noise-free non-motorized private transport was also taken into account, and all major streets were given clearly visible bike paths . So far, the gap has not been closed along Leipziger Strasse from Potsdamer Platz to Alexanderplatz (as of 2019).


The area of ​​the Kulturforum with some of Berlin's most important museums, including the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Gemäldegalerie , borders the square to the west. The Berlin Philharmonic , the Ibero-American Institute and the Potsdamer Strasse building of the Berlin State Library are also located here . Since the completion of the square, the course of the former Berlin Wall has been marked by paving stones set into the ground - as in many other places on the former wall. To the east of Potsdamer Platz is the octagon of Leipziger Platz. To the north is the Great Zoo .

In the immediate vicinity are the Martin-Gropius-Bau , the Prussian mansion , seat of the Federal Council , the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe ( Holocaust Memorial), the Brandenburg Gate , the Museum of Musical Instruments and the Daimler Contemporary art collection in the Weinhaus Huth .


Not far away to the east of Leipziger Platz were the two discos Tresor (Leipziger Strasse 126–128; until April 2005) and E-Werk ( Wilhelmstrasse 43; until 1997), both of which were the birthplaces of techno in Germany.

Potsdamer Platz is mentioned in the song Hurra die Welt geht unter by KIZ and Henning May , as well as in the song Where are we now? by David Bowie .


  • Michael Wartmann: Day nights. Berlin, Potsdamer Platz 1998-2005. Edited by Dorothea Böhland, Michael Schremmer. Böhland & Schremmer, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-943622-10-2 .
  • Joachim Fischer , Michael Makropoulos (ed.): Potsdamer Platz - Sociological theories on a place of modernity. Wilhelm Fink, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7705-3708-4 .
  • Régine Robin: A hole in the middle of the city or the metamorphoses of Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. Memory of a city. (Berlin chantiers) Nachw. Lothar Baier , transl. From the Canadian Franz. Ronald Voullié. With photos. Transit, Berlin 2002, pp. 134-140.
  • Andreas Muhs, Heinrich Wefing: The New Potsdamer Platz - A City of Art. be.bra verlag, Berlin-Brandenburg 1998 ISBN 3-930863-42-1 .
  • Matthias Pabsch: Twice a cosmopolitan city. Architecture and urban development at Potsdamer Platz. Reimer, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-496-01191-2 .
  • Info Box - The catalog. Nishen, 4th edition, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-88940-333-6 .
  • Günther Bellmann (Ed.): Potsdamer Platz. Hub of the cosmopolitan city. Ullstein, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-550-06944-8 .
  • Geosciences and geotechnics on a large construction site. Berlin: Potsdamer Platz and Spreebogen. Special issue of the journal Earth Science , 3/4, 1996, ISSN  0933-0704 .
  • Wolf Thieme: The last house on Potsdamer Platz. A Berlin chronicle. Rasch and Röhring , Hamburg 1988.
  • Janos Frecot , Helmut Geisert (Hrsg.): Berlin in demolition - example Potsdamer Platz. Berlinische Galerie , exhibition catalog. Medusa, Berlin - Vienna 1982, ISBN 978-3-88602-051-5 .


  • Hubertus Siegert: Berlin Babylon. Observations of the radical renovation of a city center with architects, politicians and builders. SUMO Film, Germany 1996–2001, color, 88 min., ISBN 3-89848-718-0 .
  • Among other things, the office scenes for the film Equilibrium were filmed in the underground section between the long-distance platform and the shopping arcade .

Web links

Commons : Potsdamer Platz  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Potsdamer Platz  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History of Potsdamer Platz
  2. First electric street lighting. (From Hermann Meyer, Fifty Years at Siemens.) Polytechnisches Journal , 1921, Volume 336, pp. 302–309, accessed on January 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Herbert Liman: More light . Haude & Spener, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-7759-0429-8 , pp. 31 .
  4. Berliner Verkehrsseiten: Signal box district Potsdamer Platz
  5. Weinhaus Rheingold on potsdamer-platz.org
  6. ^ Potsdamer Platz 1, former Voxhaus ( Memento from July 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Building of the Federal Council in the Berlin cityscape 1904 to 2004
  7. ^ Sickness on Potsdamer Platz. In: District lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein
  8. Pschorr-Haus (formerly: Bierhaus Siechen) on potsdamer-platz.org
  9. Haus Vaterland on potsdamer-platz.org.
  10. Note: Despite intensive research and questioning of the Hamburg Police Museum, no contemporary evidence could be found for a system on Hamburg 's Stephansplatz that was put into operation as early as 1922 as the first traffic light in the German Reich and is occasionally mentioned. See also: November 14, 1925: Hamburg's first traffic light goes into operation. In: Hamburger Morgenpost , February 8, 2016, accessed on May 21, 2019.
  11. The new electrical lighting system on Potsdamer Platz . In Berliner Architekturwelt , 8th year 1905/1906, issue 4, July 1905, p. 157.
  12. Dissertation by Torben Kiepke: New facades for the historic city , Berlin 2017 vol. 1 pp. 21 ff., 246 ff. And volume 2 pp. 72–73.
  13. Conditorei C. Telschow on potsdamer-platz.org
  14. Columbus House on potsdamer-platz.org
  15. ^ Columbushaus at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. Erich Mendelsohn. In: Bauwelt , vol. 22 (1931) issue 46, rotogravure supplement, pp. 29–32.
  16. Angela M. Arnold, Gabriele von Griesheim: rubble, railways and districts. Berlin 1945–1955. Self-published, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-00-009839-9 ; P. 135 ff.
  17. Karin Schmidl: Construction trailers instead of building savings. In: Berliner Zeitung , August 31, 2012, p. 16.
  18. ^ The builders of the new Berlin. Nicolai-Verlag 2001, p. 207.
  19. On the confrontation Hilmer and Sattler / Richard Rogers ; accessed in 2014.
  20. The show site of Europe. In: Der Tagesspiegel , October 2, 2008.
  21. ^ Barenboim's Crane Ballet. In: Der Spiegel , No. 43/1996, accessed on February 1, 2011.
  22. Anja Sokolow: Pigeons are moving. In: Berliner Zeitung , December 28, 2016, p. 15 (print edition).
  23. ^ Potsdamer Platz P5
  24. Stern (magazine) No. 9/2009, p. 56
  25. Swedes buy real estate on Potsdamer Platz. In: Der Tagesspiegel , December 14, 2007.
  26. a b c Michael Psotta: Quartier Potsdamer Platz changes hands. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. October 13, 2015, accessed September 15, 2018 .
  27. a b c Sheikhs buy Hyatt on Potsdamer Platz. In: Der Tagesspiegel. February 7, 2013, accessed September 15, 2018 .
  28. Memorial plaques in Berlin: Karl Liebknecht Memorial (foundation stone) . Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  29. Go back to the past with one click of your mobile phone. In: http://www.bz-berlin.de , / September 15, 2015.
  30. ^ Website of the Daimler Collection
  31. Balloon Flower lands at Marlene-Dietrich-Platz. In: Der Tagesspiegel , February 1, 2000.
  32. Jeff Koons (b. 1955), Balloon Flower (Blue) , Christie's.
  33. ^ Projects 2010: Access the Boulevard der Stars , accessed on October 13, 2016.

Coordinates: 52 ° 30 ′ 34 "  N , 13 ° 22 ′ 33"  E

This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 11, 2006 .