Berlin has over 2500 public recreational and green spaces – over one-third of the city is made up of forests, parks and rivers. Those are more parks than you will ever be able to visit. Now most people visiting Berlin will be familiar with the Tiergarten, Tempelhof or Mauerpark, but there’s a whole load of other interesting green spaces to be discovered. There are so many parks in Berlin that even “locals” can discover something new. Not too long ago I stumbled across the Park am Nordbahnhof – a little green oasis in the heart of the city.
*Warning – Park am Nordbahnhof Info*
Like most things in Berlin the 5.5 acre Park am Nordbahnhof started out as something completely different. As you might have gathered from its name, the Park started out as the Stettiner Bahnhof. Back in the Day, Germans had the habit of naming their train stations with the name of their final destination (or direction). Trains from the Stettiner Bahnhof (built in 1842) went up Stettin and Pomerania. As the demand for train travel increased – a new building was built (3 meters above street level) in 1876.
After the war Russia occupied Pomerania and then handed the territory over to Poland at the end of 1945. In 1950, the Stettiner Bahnhof was renamed by the East German State into Nordbahnhof to avoid using the name Stettin (in an effort to remove all traces of the former German territory). The station was closed down in 1952 partially because of the heavy structural damage and secondly for its rather inconvenient location, as the tracks of the Nordbahnhof led through West Berlin. The Building was torn down between 1955 and 1962 – but the S-Bahn tracks which ran parallel to the train tracks were kept in service.
With the Construction of the Wall in 1961 the area was turned into a no mans land, as it was blocked off by 2 sets of walls and the “Todesstreifen” (Death Strip).
After the opening of the Borders in 1989 – the Nordbahnhof sprung back to life when wild Birch trees and tall grasses took over, providing a habitat for birds and small animals. The district and the city wanted to keep the “große Wiese am Nordbahnhof – the large meadow at the Nordbahnhof” so plans were set in motion in 1995 to create a park. It wasnt until 2004 though that these plans were actually realized (at the cost of 2.7 Million Euros).
The park itself is a wild meadow of tall grasses and birch trees, which for the most part isn’t accessible to the public. There are paths which lead you alongside (or through) the meadow, which are intersected by “islands” where you can lie down and relax.
If you walk down far enough, part of the Park is divided by a fence, which is due to the fact that the North South Tunnel of the S-Bahn runs through the area. Continuing along the path you will reach the Liesenbrücken (yes plural because they are 2 bridges) and the end of the Park.
The Liesenbrücken – which ive heard several people refer to as Kummerbrücke – Bridge of Sorrows
(ive spoken to a few older locals, but they couldnt explain the name either) (the name probably stems from the fact that it divided east and west berlin; apparently it was also known as Schwindsuchtbrücke – Tuberculosis Bridge due to the amount of sick homeless people that camped out there) was part of the Stettiner Bahnhof but was shut down when the station was closed. The Tracks next to the bridge were kept in service for the S-Bahn. The bridge was put under “Denkmalschutz” – and there were plans to form a connection between the Park am Nordbahnhof and the Volkspark Humboldthein, but as far as I could tell the bridge is just locked up and rusting to pieces.
If you walk down the stairs and walk towards the roundabout you will spot a small hidden piece of the Berlin Wall. This piece of the wall is actually situated on the St.-Hedwig Cemetery, which is definitely worth a visit in itself.
The Park am Nordbahnhof is a peaceful little Oasis. Unlike many of the other Parks in Berlin, it isn’t flooded with Dogshit or cigarettes. It’s not packed with Joggers or Cyclists. Its one of those quaint little areas of Berlin which ignore the hustle and bustle around it with ease.
If you are ever in the area – be it to visit the Mauer Memorial at the Bernauer Straße, or to see the new BND Building (Germany’s Version of the CIA), pop on by for a stroll through the Park am Nordbahnhof.
Park am Nordbahnhof
Gartenstraße / Caroline-Michaelis-Straße
Public Transport: S-Bahn S1, S2, S25 Nordbahnhof
U-Bahn U6 Naturkundemuseum
Tram M8, M10, M12 Nordbahnhof