Districts of Berlin: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg

Learn more about one of the trendiest areas of Berlin…

The district (Bezirk) of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is one of the trendiest areas of Berlin and is one of two districts which include localities of both former East and West Berlin. It is comprised of two localities (Ortsteile) both with their own unique cultural make ups. 

Multicultural Kreuzberg

  • How to get there: 
    Checkpoint Charlie: U-Bahn: U6 Bus: M29, N6 
    Kottbusser Tor: U-Bahn: U1, U8 Bus: N1 
  • Remarkable places: Skalitzer Straße, Checkpoint Charlie, Victoria Park

Kreuzberg, also known as X-Berg, is an area with a rather recent history. During the 1920 Greater Berlin Act which unified the city of Berlin with outlying towns, the locality of Kreuzberg was created from several under populated areas. The largest hill in the district in Victoriapark was called Kreuzberg by King Frederick William III of Prussia after the Iron Cross at the top of the Prussian National Monument for the Liberation Wars. Subsequently the surrounding area took the name as well. During the 1860’s, Kreuzberg began to grow due to industrialization. The area came to be known as a center of industry in Berlin with many profitable small businesses along with the press quarter where many of Germany’s largest newspapers and publishers made their home. During World War II, the area was damaged by air raids, and the industrial area of Kreuzberg was largely destroyed. Following the war, Kreuzberg became part of the American sector of West Berlin, and due to its low rents was known as a prime location for artists and immigrants.

With the reunification of Germany, Kreuzberg was once again a part of Berlin’s city center and the area’s cheap rents made it a popular choice for young people, artists, and immigrants. Like its neighbor Friedrichshain, it has seen much gentrification over the last decade including a steep increase in rental prices. It continues to be a popular location due to its interesting nightlife and wide range of multicultural restaurants and bars. To the North, it has more of the feel of the district of Mitte, very urban and more expensive. Several important historical sites are in this area of Kreuzberg such as the border crossing site between East and West Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, and the museum depicting the horrors of the Nazi era, the Topography of Terror (Topographie des Terrors). The south west of Kreuzberg is more affluent and residential, and the eastern part of the district trendier with an active nightlife.

In recent years, there has been an increase in crime in the areas of Kreuzberg near U-Bahn station Kottbuser Tor. Görlitzer Park, while a popular area during the day, is also an area of crime during the evenings. It is important when visiting these areas to always be aware of your surroundings and diligent with your belongings.

Countercultural Friedrichshain

  • How to get there
    Warschauer Straße: S-Bahn: S5, S7, S75 U-Bahn: U1 Tram: M10 Bus: 348, 347, N1
    Frankfurter Tor: U-Bahn: U5 Tram: 21, M10 Bus: N5
  • Remarkable places: Simon-Dach-Straße, Karl-Marx-Allee/Frankfurter Straße, East Side Gallery

Friedrichshain, or “Frederick’s Grove” takes its name from the park at its northern border, Volkspark Friedrichshain, which was designed for the centenary celebrations of the coronation of Frederick the Great. Like its neighbor Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain was largely settled during the industrial revolution of the 19th century and remained a working-class district for much of its history. The locality was severely damaged by bombing during World War II, and after the war it became a district of East Berlin. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, a large development project was created at the site of the former Grosse Frankfurter Strasse, which eventually came to be known as Stalinallee. The name was later changed to Karl-Marx-Allee, and today half of the street retains this name and the other half is called Frankfurter Allee.

Following the reunification, Friedrichshain became known as a popular location for young people and social activists due to its low rents and empty buildings. Squatters took over many of the buildings later leading to violent clashes with the police which still occasionally occur today. Like many of the inner-city districts of Berlin, Friedrichshain has been greatly gentrified in recent years and is considered one of the most fashionable areas of the city in which to live. While it remains a bit more graffitied than its neighbor Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain also has some of the highest rents in the city. It is known for its bars, clubs, cafes, and its popular nightlife at areas such as Boxhagener Platz and Simon-Dach-Strasse.

Like its neighbor Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain also has had its fair share of crime increases in recent years particularly around the popular nightlife spot of Warschauer Straße and the nearby subcultural compound RAW Gelände.

Further Information