How was Berlin founded

History of the city of Berlin

1237-10-28
The first documentary mention of Berlin's sister city Cölln (located on the Spree island) is officially Berlin's birthday
1244
Berlin first mentioned in a document
Early 14th century
joint administration of the sister communities Berlin and Cölln
1440
Elector Friedrich II "Eisenzahn" from the house of Hohenzollern intends to set up his residence here against the will of the Berliners, who fear for their privileges. In the course of the following years, the core of the later city palace was built on the banks of the Spree
1470
the Brandenburg electors declare Berlin their seat of government
1539
Elector Joachim II initiates the Reformation in Kurbrandenburg. Berlin becomes a metropolis of Protestantism
Beginning of the 17th century
the electoral residence city of Berlin has around 10,000 inhabitants
Thirty Years War (1618-1648)
Berlin suffers a terrible setback, the population drops to 6,000
1640
Friedrich Wilhelm, the "Great Elector", takes over the rule. It organizes a tightly centralized absolutism. During his almost fifty-year reign, Berlin's population rose to over 20,000.
1671
Foundation of the Jewish community
1685
Immigration of the Huguenots persecuted in France
1701-01-18
under King Friedrich I. Berlin becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia
1740
under Frederick II (Frederick the Great, 1740-1786) Prussia was elevated to the rank of great power in three wars, Berlin took on the character of a European capital. (Friedrich's preferred summer residence, however, is Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam.)
1791
The Brandenburg Gate was built between 1788 and 1791 by Carl Gotthard Langhans based on the example of the Propylaea in Athens. It carries the Quadriga created by Johann Gottfried Schadow.
1806
Napoleon enters the Prussian capital through the Brandenburg Gate. Berlin experiences a three-year occupation regime
1809
Election of the first city council
1810
Foundation of the Friedrich Wilhelms University with the participation of Wilhelm von Humboldt
1830
The Royal Museum (since 1845 "Altes Museum"), built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the classicism style from 1825-1828, is the first public museum in Prussia to be opened.
1840
Accession to the throne of Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
1847
Start of gas lighting
1848
Revolt against the tyranny of absolutism, barricade fighting. 216 Berliners lost their lives
1850
Introduction of a constitution in Prussia, three-class voting rights
1859
Opening of the Royal Prussian Museum (today the Neues Museum) on Museum Island
1869
The Red Town Hall, built by Herrmann Friedrich Waesemann in 1861-1869, becomes the seat of the city government.
1871-01-18
Emperor's proclamation of Wilhelm I in Versailles. Berlin becomes the residence of the German Emperor and imperial capital, the population exceeds 800,000. Boom in the "early years"
1873
Construction of the Victory Column on Königsplatz (the current Republic Square on the Reichstag)
1876
Opening of the National Gallery (today the Alte Nationalgalerie) on Museum Island
1881
first electric tram in Lichterfelde
1894-12-06
First Reichstag session in the new building (Wallot building)
around 1900
Berlin has almost 2 million inhabitants, most of whom have to live in miserable tenements
1902
Opening of the first underground line (elevated railway, initially from Stralauer Tor to Potsdamer Platz)
1904
Opening of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum (Bode Museum since 1960) on Museum Island
1914-1918
First World War
1918-11-09
Abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
1920
Amalgamation of the city center with seven surrounding towns, 59 rural communities and 27 manor districts to form "Greater Berlin", divided into 20 districts. Berlin is becoming a cosmopolitan city, with almost four million inhabitants it is advancing to the second largest city in Europe
1921
The AVUS (Automobil-Verkehrs- und Exercise-Strasse) will be opened as the first pure car road (autobahn) in Europe for public traffic.
1923
The Tempelhof Central Airport goes into operation.
1923-10-29
Birth of the German Broadcasting: The first entertainment program is broadcast from the Vox-Haus (medium wave 400 m).
1924-1929
In the "golden twenties" Berlin flourished in terms of culture and science
1928-08-31
This will be the first time at the 5th Great German Radio Exhibition watch TV presents.
1930
Opening of the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island
1933-01-30
Adolf Hitler took power. Torchlight procession of the SA through the Brandenburg Gate
1933-02-27/28
Arson in the Reichstag building, allegedly by the Dutchman Marinus van der Lubbe
1933-04-01
Call for a boycott of Jewish shops by Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Anti-Semitic persecutions
1933-05-10
Book burning on the square in front of the Berlin University. 20,000 books of "un-German spirit" are destroyed (including works by Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Arthur Schnitzler, Kurt Tucholsky, Max Brod, Arnold Zweig, Lion Feuchtwanger)
1934-06-30
so-called Röhm Putsch
1935-03-22
The television station "Paul Nipkow" starts the world's first regular programming.
1936-08-01
Opening of the XI. Summer Olympics in the Berlin Olympic Stadium
1938-11-09/10
Reichskristallnacht also in Berlin. Synagogues and other Jewish institutions are burned down
1939
Berlin has 4.3 million inhabitants
1939
The Victory Column will be moved to the Großer Stern and raised to 69 m.
1939-09-01
Beginning of the Second World War. Proclamation by Adolf Hitler: "There has been a backfire since 5:45 am ..."
1941-10-18
Mass deportation of Berlin Jews begins
1942-01-20
Wannsee Conference on the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question"
1943-02-18
Call for a "total war" by Goebbels in the Berlin Sports Palace
1943-1945
devastating air raids on Berlin
1944-07-20
Uprising against Hitler. Execution of the conspirators after the failure
1945-04-30
Adolf Hitler's suicide in the bunker of the Reich Chancellery
1945-05-02
Surrender of Berlin after the conquest by Soviet troops. Berlin still has 2.8 million inhabitants, every third residential building has been destroyed. The number of Jewish fellow citizens even fell from 160,000 to 8,000: 90,000 Jews were able to emigrate, 60,000 Jews perished in concentration camps.
1945-05-08
Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz announces the total surrender of the German armed forces in Flensburg. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed the document of surrender in Berlin-Karlshorst
1945-07-03
American and British troops occupy the districts assigned to them in the western sectors of Berlin. The Americans take over Zehlendorf, Steglitz, Schöneberg, Kreuzberg, Tempelhof and Neukölln, the British Spandau, Tiergarten, Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf. The French will occupy Wedding and Reinickendorf on 08-12-1945.
1946-01
Reopening of the Berlin University (Unter den Linden)
1946-10-20
in the (overall) Berlin elections, the SPD becomes the strongest party with 48.7 percent of the vote.
1947-03
The Soviets leave the Allied headquarters on Kaiserswerther Strasse in Dahlem.
1948-06-20
Currency reform in the three western zones of Germany
1948-06-24
Blockade of the three western sectors of Berlin by the Soviets
1948-06-26
Start of the airlift to supply the western sectors of Berlin at the instigation of the American military governor General Lucius D. Clay
1948-09-09
Ernst Reuter's speech in front of the Reichstag building on the blockade: "You peoples of the world, look at this city!"
1948-11-30
Political division of Berlin through the proclamation of a "magistrate" at a SED functionaries' meeting
1948-12-04
Foundation of the "Free University" in West Berlin
1949-02-08
Renaming of the old Berlin University Unter den Linden, the former Friedrich Wilhelms University, to Humboldt University (declaration by Paul Wandel, Head of the Central Administration for Popular Education). The name refers to the two brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, who stand for the natural and human sciences.
1949-05-12
the Soviets break the blockade of West Berlin
1949-05-23
The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany is promulgated in Bonn. (West) Berlin becomes a federal state subject to allied reservations
1949-10-07
the German Democratic Republic is proclaimed in East Berlin
1950-11-06
The ruins of the Berlin City Palace were blown up on the orders of Walter Ulbricht
1952-05-27
the GDR interrupts the telephone connections between West and East Berlin. West Berliners are prohibited from entering the GDR territory (outside of East Berlin)
1953-06-17
Popular uprising in East Berlin and the GDR; is bloodily beaten up by the use of the Soviet military
1957
International building exhibition in the Hansaviertel
1957
Construction of the congress hall according to plans by Hugh A. Stubbins as part of the international building exhibition (since 1989 "House of World Cultures")
1957-07-06
The first civil weather radar device on the European mainland is put into operation at the Free University of Berlin.
1958-11-27
Khrushchev's Berlin ultimatum. Demand to make West Berlin a "Free City"
1961-06-15
Walter Ulbricht explains during a press conference: "Nobody intends to build a wall."
1961-08-13
Construction of the Berlin wall. West Berlin is sealed off from East Berlin and the GDR by a wall and barbed wire
1961-08-24
Günter Litfin dies as the first victim of the Berlin Wall at the Humboldthafen.
1961-09-22
first control barrack at "Checkpoint Charlie" in Friedrichstrasse at the corner of Zimmerstrasse (crossing point for allies and foreigners)
1961-09-24
Reopening of the "Deutsche Oper Berlin" in the newly built opera house on Bismarckstrasse (Charlottenburg)
1961-10-27
Confrontation at Checkpoint Charlie: Soviet and American tanks face each other threateningly.
1962-08-17
Peter Fechter is shot while trying to escape and bleeds to death in the death strip.
1963-06-26
US President John F. Kennedy visits Berlin ("I am a Berliner")
1963-10-15
The Philharmonie, built according to plans by the architect Hans Scharoun, is inaugurated.
1963-12-17
Signing of the first pass agreement between the GDR and the Senate of Berlin (West)
1967-06-02
The student Benno Ohnesorg is shot dead during protest demonstrations against the Shah's visit
1968
Completion of the New National Gallery at the Kulturforum on Kemperplatz based on a design by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
1968-04-11
Assassination attempt on Rudi Dutschke. Triggering of protest actions by students and the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO)
1969-10-03
The television tower at Alexanderplatz goes into operation. At 365 m (now 368 m) it is the tallest structure in Germany.
1971-09-03
the ambassadors of the three Western Allies and the USSR sign the Berlin Agreement in the Allied Control Council building in West Berlin
1972-06-03
the Four Power Agreement comes into force after it has been signed by the Foreign Ministers
1976-04-23
The Palace of the Republic, built on part of the site of the former Berlin City Palace, is opened.
1979
Opening of the "Ernst Thälmann" pioneer park in the Wuhlheide (now the leisure and recreation center (FEZ) Wuhlheide)
1980-05-21
Part of the prestressed concrete roof of the congress hall collapsed
1985
Federal horticultural show in the Britz garden
1987
750th anniversary of the city of Berlin, separated into east and west.
International building exhibition in Berlin (West).
1987-06-12
US President Ronald Reagan visits Berlin; Speech at the Brandenburg Gate: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
1989-07-01
first love parade (techno parade)
1989-11-04
Demonstration of around 500,000 people on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin. It is broadcast on GDR television.
1989-11-09
the opening of the Berlin Wall
1989-12-22
Opening of crossings at the Brandenburg Gate
1990-03-18
first and last free elections to the People's Chamber of the GDR
1990-06-22
Checkpoint Charlie is closed and the control barracks dismantled.
1990-07-01
Economic, monetary and social union of the two German states with the introduction of the D-Mark in the GDR. Lifting of all traffic restrictions within Berlin and generally between the two German states.
1990-09-19
The Palace of the Republic is closed due to asbestos contamination.
1990-10-03
Unification of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, reunification of the city of Berlin. The federal capital is Berlin, the seat of government and parliament is still Bonn for the time being
1991
The Berlin Senate moves into the Red City Hall.
1991-06-20
Decision of the German Bundestag that the parliament and (partially) the federal government will move to the capital Berlin as soon as the structural conditions are in place
1994-03-10
Adoption of the Berlin-Bonn Moving Act by the German Bundestag
1994-08-31
Farewell to the Russian troops
1994-09-08
Farewell to the Western Allies with a parade
1995
Opening of the rebuilt synagogue on Oranienburger Strasse
1995
Wrapping of the Reichstag by the artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude
1996-05
The Willy-Brandt-Haus, the new SPD party headquarters in Stresemannstrasse (Kreuzberg), is opened.
1996-05-05
A referendum on a common federal state Berlin-Brandenburg fails because of the rejection by the Brandenburgers.
1998-06-12
Opening of the picture gallery on Kemperplatz
1999-01-22
The new building for the Jewish Museum on Lindenstrasse in Kreuzberg (architect: Daniel Libeskind) is handed over. Because of its interesting crooked construction, this is still developing empty Museum a magnet for visitors.
1999-04-19
Opening session of the German Bundestag in the converted Reichstag building, which is now its official seat. The move from Bonn to Berlin will be completed by September. The renovation took place between 1995 and 1999 under the direction of the architect Norman Foster. The glass dome is a special attraction.
2001-01-01
An administrative reform will reduce the number of districts from 23 to 12: Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Lichtenberg (with Hohenschönhausen), Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Mitte (with Tiergarten and Wedding), Neukölln, Pankow (with Prenzlauer Berg and Weissensee) , Reinickendorf, Spandau, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Treptow-Köpenick.
2001
The Federal Chancellery moves into a new building designed by Axel Schultes in the Spreebogen.
2001-02
The public prosecutor's office begins investigations into the "Berlin banking scandal" at Bankgesellschaft Berlin. The focus is on the Berliner Hypotheken- und Pfandbriefbank (BerlinHyp, CEO Klaus-Rüdiger Landowsky, CDU), which among other things had carried out risky real estate transactions with the Aubis Group.
2001-06-16
The governing mayor Eberhard Diepgen (CDU) is overthrown by a vote of no confidence as a result of the "Berlin banking scandal". Klaus Wowereit (SPD) takes over the official business.
2001-09-13
The Jewish Museum opens its exhibitions to the public.
2001-12-01
Reopening of the Alte Nationalgalerie after the renovation
2004
Exhibition "MoMA in Berlin" with 212 masterpieces of modern art from the New York Museum of Modern Art in the Neue Nationalgalerie (February 20 to September 19, approx. 1.2 million visitors)
2005-05-10
Inauguration of the Holocaust memorial (field of stelae near the Brandenburg Gate), built according to plans by Peter Eisenman.
2006-02
After the asbestos removal, the demolition of the Palace of the Republic begins.
2006-05-26
Opening of the new Berlin Central Station (on the site of the former Lehrter Bahnhof)
2007-06-01 to 2007-10-07
Exhibition "MET in Berlin" with works of French art (including impressionists) from the New York Metropolitan Museum in the Neue Nationalgalerie
2007-07-13
Reopening of the Museum of Natural History. The dinosaur hall with dinosaur skeletons from Tendaguru (Tanzania) is spectacular; the Brachiosaurus brancai With a height of 13.27 m, it is the tallest dinosaur in the world to be exhibited in a museum. Another special attraction is the most famous fossil in the world, the ancient bird Archeopteryx.
2007-11-02
Laying of the foundation stone for the new documentation center "Topography of Terror" in Niederkirchnerstrasse in Kreuzberg on the site of the former Prince Albrecht Palace (Gestapo, Reich Security Main Office and SS Security Service). The exhibition project started in 1987.
2008-10-30
Tempelhof Airport closes

Sources (among others)

  • Ribbe, M .; Schmädeke, J .: Little Berlin History, Stapp Verlag, Berlin 1989 (3rd edition 1994)
  • Die Chronik Berlins, Chronik-Verlag, 2nd edition 1991
  • History of Berlin in 8 films, video by Irmgard von zur Mühlen, Chronos-Film GmbH, approx. 1991

© Burkhard Kirste, 1995-02-18, 2009-02-13
Redistribution is not permitted!