Districts of Berlin: Neukölln

<span style="line-height: 1.42857;">Learn more about the up-and-coming district of Neukölln…</span>

Neukölln is a thriving district comprised of five urban and rural localities all of which were a part of West Berlin and bordered East Germany. For a long time, the area was known for its poverty and unemployment, a reputation that remains today. Its cheap rents during the division of Germany led to it becoming a popular choice for immigrants, giving it a multicultural flair. Despite rapid gentrification, Neukölln has retained its multiculturalism with some 40% of the district either German with a migration background or foreign immigrants. While the locality of Neukölln is becoming a popular choice despite its seedier reputation, its southern neighbors Britz, Buckow, Rudow, and Gropiusstadt are still imminently affordable while remaining more rural and off-the-beaten-track.    


  • How to get there: 
    Berlin-Neukölln S-Bahn: S41, S42, S45, S46, S47 / U-Bahn: U7 / Bus: SEV
  • Remarkable places: Schillerkiez, Karl-Marx-Straße, Maybachufer

The area of the locality of Neukölln has a long history, beginning with a medieval village in the area which is now Richardplatz. In 1737, Frederick William I of Prussia allowed 250 Moravian Protestants to settle nearby, and this village became known as Böhmisch-Rixdorf. During the 19th century, the area, like much of Berlin, was developed to house the thousands of peasants moving to the city during the industrial revolution. It was around this time, in 1874, that the two villages were joined and later became the independent city of Rixdorf. In 1912, local officials attempted to clean up the image of the city which had become known for its nightlife by renaming it Neukölln. The name Neukölln came from the medieval village of Cölln, which was one of the two villages that later developed into the city centre of Berlin. Neukölln was incorporated into Berlin in 1920, and after World War II, the area became a part of the American sector of West Berlin.

Throughout Neukölln’s history, it has had a reputation as a working class district. This has started to change with gentrification which has led to clashes between new and long-term residents. Neukölln is also known for its ethnic diversity, with large Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, and Russian populations. It was a long-time favorite for immigrants due to its inexpensive rents (which was directly related to its location near the Berlin Wall) and today the local population is 15% Turkish and 10% Arab in origin. A highlight of the area is the popular Turkish weekly market at Maybachufer which shows off the area’s multiculturalism.

Neukölln still has a reputation as one of the more edgy parts of the city but this is quickly changing as rental prices increase. That being said, it remains one of the more affordable areas of the inner-city. Despite its reputation, Neukölln has much to offer: Schillerkiez has long been known for its great cafes, Karl-Marx-Straße for its restaurants, and Weserstraße for its bars and nightlife.


  • How to get there
    Parchimer Allee U-Bahn: U7 / Bus: M46
  • Remarkable places: Britzer Garten, Schloss Britz, Dorfkirche Britz

Originally a farmstead, Britz (the name of which originates from the Slavic word for the birch tree), remains a locality primarily made up of small garden allotments. The northern part of the locality was originally settled by Bohemian craftsmen, and it remains one of the more thickly settled areas. Of particular note is the Britzer Garten which covers 90 hectares of land and was initially designed for the 1985 Federal Garden Show (Bundesgartenschau).

Britz remains a quiet neighborhood and the more densely settled north and eastern parts of the locality are readily accessible by the U-Bahn U7. Alt-Britz retains a village feel with a small church (Dorfkirche Britz), a farmstead, and manor house (Schloss Britz). The area has become popular with families and the Horseshoe Estate (Hufeisensiedlung) designed by architect Bruno Taut is a popular place to live and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 


  • How to get there
    Alt-Buckow: Bus: M11, M44, X11
  • Remarkable places: Dorfkirche Alt-Buckow

The village of Buckow was founded in 1373 by German settlers, although the name comes from the Slavic word for a Beech tree. Until 1920, it was a part of the municipality of Teltow in Brandenburg, but thereafter became a part of the city of Berlin. It is the only locality of Berlin to be divided in two, with Gropiusstadt separating it into Buckow I and Buckow II. Much of the area retains a rural flair, though it becomes more metropolitan near Johannisthaler Chaussee. It is an area largely consisting of single-family homes, although there is the occasional apartment block.

Buckow is a very quiet and is not particularly easy to access with public transport. The nearest U-Bahn stations are in Johannisthaler Chaussee and Lipschitzallee, both of which are located in Gropiusstadt nearby. It has a more rural feel than other areas of the city, but its remoteness might make it an unpopular choice for those seeking the famous nightlife of Berlin. 


  • How to get there
    Rudow Station: U-Bahn: U7 / Bus: 162, 171, 172, 260, 271, 371, 372, 373, 744, N7, X7
  • Remarkable places: Dörferblick, Rudower Fließ, 

Rudow’s history as a farmstead, like much of the outlying areas of Berlin, began in the 1200’s. However, there is archaeological evidence to suggest the area has been continuously settled for much longer, likely by Slavic settlers who named it Rudow from the older Slavic word for “red earth” or “iron ore”. It soon developed into a small village and the surrounding area became a popular hunting location for the sons of the Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg. During the division of Berlin, Rudow was formerly an isolated village without easy public transport options and bordering the GDR state of Brandenburg. Since the development of Gropiusstadt there is now a U-Bahn connection and its closeness to the Berlin Schönefeld Airport and the motorway has stimulated growth. The locality is primarily comprised of single-family homes, apartment blocks, greenery, and farms. Popular outdoor activities are often based around the Dörferblick, a hill built from rubble which allows for nice views of the area, and the local river the Rudower Fließ. 

It is a quiet locality mostly consisting of older residents and families. It should be noted that while Rudow is a generally safe district to live, there have been reported cases of far right activity in the area. 


  • How to get there
    U Johannisthaler Chaussee: U-Bahn: U7 Bus: 172, 744, M11, X11
  • Remarkable places: Jungfernmühle, Trinity Church (Dreieinigkeitskirche)

Gropiusstadt is one of the newest developed areas of Berlin. Named for one of the founders of the Bauhaus movement, Martin Gropius, it was originally intended to be a housing estate of small buildings with lots of green space. However, with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, these plans were forced to change and instead large high-rises were built. Despite the initial good intentions of the designers the compacted conditions and general remoteness led to the area becoming a problem-area for crime and poverty. This was famously extolled in the book “Wir Kinder von Bahnhof Zoo” by Christiane F. which was also made into a film. 

Recently, the area has seen an increase in far-right activity. It continues to have a reputation as an undesirable area of the city with high unemployment, cultural clashes and other socio-economic issues. However, it is also a quiet area with lots of green space and some of the lowest rents in the city.

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