Districts of Berlin: Spandau

Learn more about the district of Spandau…

The district (Bezirk) of Spandau is one of the most western in Berlin and is made up of nine localities (Ortsteile). Historically, Spandau was an industrial area with a working-class community, and this continues to influence the personality of the district to this day. As one of the most western districts, it can seem quite removed from the inner-city of Berlin, but there is a wide variety of urban, suburban, and rural activities to choose from which is making it an increasingly popular location for those on a budget. With the Spree and Havel rivers running throughout the district and the Spandau Forst (Spandauer Forest) to the north, there is a wide variety of outdoor activities and natural beauty to enjoy.

Historic Spandau

How to get there:
  • Altstadt Spandau: U-Bahn: U7 Bus: N7, X33
  • Berlin-Spandau: S-Bahn: S5 U-Bahn: U7 Bus: X33, 130, 134, 135, 136, 137, 236, 237, 337, 638, 671, M32, M37, M45, N30, N34 Train: RE2, RE4, RE6, RB10, RB13, RB14 and long-distance trains
Remarkable places: Rathaus Spandau, St. Nikolai Kirche, Schleuse Spandau, St. Marien am Behnitz

Due to its strategic location at the meeting of the Spree and Havel rivers, Spandau was originally the site of a Slavic fortified settlement in the 10th century. During the 12th century the settlement was taken over by Albert the Bear and by 1197 a castle was built. The Spandau Citadel (which is now included in the locality Haselhorst) was completed in 1594 and was instrumental in turning the area into a military city. By the end of World War I, Spandau was a major center of armaments throughout the Reich. In 1920, Spandau was incorporated into Berlin. During World War II, Spandau was heavily damaged and following the war it became a part of the British sector of West-Berlin. Unlike other localities in the district, Spandau is a city and has the benefits of urbanity. It is an important area of business for Berlin, but also has residential districts, large bodies of water and an extensive forest. The cultural center of the locality was traditionally in the neighborhood of Alt-Spandau, although this is has changed some due to damage from World War II and restructuring in the 1950's. While Spandau seems remote, it is easily accessible to the inner-city of Berlin and is a good option for those seeking an urban location with less-expensive rents.

Home of the citadel: Haselhorst

How to get there:
  • U Haselhorst: U-Bahn: U7 Bus: 133, 236, N7, N33
Remarkable places: Spandau Citadel, Reichsforschungssiedlung Haselhorst

Despite its nearness to Spandau, Haselhorst is a relatively recent development. The land was first named in a registry in Spandau in 1590, but it wasn't until 1848 that the farming estate in the area took the name and a town began to form. In 1910, Haselhorst became a part of the city of Spandau, but ten short years later it became a part of the City of Berlin due to the Greater Berlin Act of 1920. It was the location of barracks and training grounds for the Prussian Army until 1919 and until 1945 was the site of a military production factory specializing in poisonous gases. In the southwestern part of the locality is the popular tourist location, the Spandau Citadel, one of the best preserved Renaissance military structures in Europe. Haselhorst is a densely populated suburb of Spandau. The southern part of the locality is mainly industrial and is known for the BMW motorcycle factory. This is also the part of the locality best connected to the inner-city Berlin via the U-Bahn line U7. The majority of the residential area consists of apartment blocks, but there are some single-family homes and small garden allotments (Kleingartenanlagen) in the northern parts of the locality. The locality is close to Tegel Airport and some parts potentially suffer from a large amount of air traffic. The rental prices are less expensive than the inner-city Berlin, but it is also a district without much nightlife or entertainment options.

Industrial history: Siemensstadt

How to get there:
  • U Rohrdamm: U-Bahn: U7 Bus: 123, 139, N7, N23, N39
Remarkable places: Christophoruskirche, Siemens-Siedlung, Wohngroßsiedlung Siemensstadt

In 1897, the area that would become known as Siemensstadt was purchased by the corporation Siemens & Halske AG to be the location of new factories. Prior to the purchase, the land was almost uninhabited and primarily consisted of meadows, woods, and wetlands.  While the factories were successful, Siemens had a hard time retaining workforce due to a long commute from either Charlottenburg or Spandau, and the company soon invested in infrastructure to draw in employees.  A stop was added to the Hamburger and Lehrter train lines to better allow commuting, and residential communities were built in the locality which included shops and apartment blocks. Several different architects were hired which led to each buildings having a unique and interesting facade. During World War II, Siemens moved its headquarters to Munich and later the area of Siemensstadt became part of West-Berlin. However, due to the tenuous political situation of the city, the factories in the area suffered and one-by-one they closed. Siemensstadt remains an architecturally interesting area with inexpensive, yet large flats. However, it continues to suffer from a lack of industry in the area. It is connected to Berlin and Spandau by bus and the U-Bahn line U7. The locality benefits from several parks, a sport center, a new shopping center, and a weekly market. It is just to the south of Tegel Airport and therefore much of the area has the potential for a lot of air traffic.

A Divided Village: Staaken

How to get there:
  • Berlin-Staaken: Train: RB13, RE4 Bus: M32
Remarkable places: Gartenstadt Staaken, Fort Hahneberg, Grünzug Bullengraben

First mentioned in 1273 as “in Stakene”, the name derives from the Middle Low German “To den staken” which translates as “the place of clubs, thick sticks, and poles”. The area was first founded in the 13th century during the German eastward expansion (Ostsiedlung) and was controlled by the city of Spandau from 1295 until 1872. In 1920, it was incorporated into the city of Berlin during the Greater Berlin Act and was assigned to the district of Spandau. At the beginning of World War I in 1914, large parts of Staaken were purchased by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin Company who built zeppelin airships and bombers. Following the end of the war, the area became an airfield, but most of the traffic transferred to the more central Tempelhof Airport. The empty zeppelin hangers were transformed into Staaken Studios which was the location for many important film productions such as Fritz Lang's Metropolis. During the partition of Germany following World War II, Staaken was unique as the locality was divided in half with the western part of the area belonging to the Soviets and the eastern part to the British. It remained a divided locality until the reunification of Germany. A densely settled locality of single-family homes and apartment blocks, Staaken is a suburban community of Spandau. While not well connected to the inner-city of Berlin, there are buses and a regional train line which goes directly to the Berlin central station. Rental prices are significantly lower than other areas of Berlin and it is potentially a good location for those working in Spandau.

Scenic Gatow

How to get there:
  • Alt-Gatow: Bus: 134, 334, N34, X34
Remarkable places: Dorfkirche Gatow, Villa Lemm

Likely founded in the early 13th century, Gatow was first mentioned in 1258 as a part of the area controlled by the convent of the Benedictine nuns of Spandau. The village was controlled by the nuns until 1558 when it lost these rights during the Reformation. During the late 19th and early 20th century, several villa colonies were built. Following the division of Germany after World War II, Gatow became part of the British sector of West-Berlin. A picturesque village mainly made up of farm fields and views of the river Havel, Gatow is a small community on the outskirts of Berlin. Much of the residential area of the locality is along the banks of the Havel and there are several bathing areas. Before the fall of the Wall it used to be a popular location for West Berliners, but since the reunification it has become less crowded. Due to its remote location the rental prices are relatively low. It is a good area for those looking for a rural community by the water close to Spandau.

Rich military history: Kladow

How to get there:
  • Alt-Kladow: Bus: 134, 135, 234, 697, N34, N35, X34
Remarkable places: Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Gatow, Landhausgarten Dr. Max Fränke, Dorfkirche Kladow

First mentioned as “Clodow” in 1267, the village of Kladow is one of the oldest areas of the district of Spandau. The name originates from the Slavic word kloda meaning “tree trunk”. The area was originally the location of a Slavic settlement from the 9th until the 12th century when the area was taken over by German settlers during the German eastward expansion (Ostsiedlung). In 1267, the Margave of Brandenburg granted the title and taxation rights of the land to an order of Benedictine nuns from Spandau. They lost their control of the land during the Reformation in the 16th century. From the mid-17th century the village was privately owned and a manor house was built. In 1808, a fire devastated much of the village, but by the end of the century, the village expanded to include multiple villa colonies to accommodate the growing population of Berlin. During World War II, the military airport Kaldow (Militär-Flugplatz Kladow) was built, and it later became one of the three airports of West-Berlin used during the Berlin Airlift. Kladow is a small village surrounded by beautiful countryside as it is bordered by forests, the Havel River, and the Groß Glienicker See. While some buildings are from the early 19th century, most of the developments are more modern including the Finnenhaussiedlung and Landstadt Gatow. With the opening of the new Cladow-Center, there are more shopping and restaurant options in the community. Kladow is rather remote from the center of Berlin, particularly as it the only public transport options are bus and ferry.

Rural and remote: Hakenfelde

How to get there:

  • Rauchstraße: Bus: 136, 236, N34, N39
Remarkable places: Evangelical Johannesstift Berlin, Wichernkirche

The first developments in Hakenfelde began in 1730 when it was the site of a dairy farm for the suburbs of Spandau, and takes its name from the owner of said farm, the merchant Johann Ludwig Haake. Later, it was the location of a small manor which hosted the dancer Pepita de Oliva. By the turn of the century there was a restaurant called Karlslust which in 1947 became the location of one of the biggest fire disasters in the city’s history, killing 80 people. About two-thirds of the locality is made up of the Spandauer Forst (Spandauer Forest) which is a popular recreational area for walking and cycling. Most of the residential neighborhoods contain single family homes, but along the southeastern border there are several modern apartment blocks. The only public transport options are several bus lines, and so it is quite remote from the rest of the city. Be aware that due to its closeness to Tegel Airport, that is likely a large amount of air traffic.

Housing estates: Falkenhagener Feld

How to get there:
  • Falkenseer Chausee/Zeppelinstrasse: Bus: 130, 137, 337, M37, N30
Remarkable places: Städtischer Friedhof In den Kisseln, Denkmal Großsiedlung Falkenhagener Feld

Originally agricultural and garden allotments (Kleingartenanlagen), Falkenhagener Feld was developed due to a housing shortage in West Berlin. The area was developed between 1962 and the late 1990’s. In recent years there have been some social issues in the area, but these are being addressed by neighborhood management (Quartiersmanagement). Falkenhagener Feld is a densely populated locality with a mix between apartment buildings and single-family homes. There are several parks which provide green space and lakes. While the rental prices are low in comparison to other areas, it is well removed from the city center of Berlin and only accessible by car or bus.

Surrounded by nature: Wilhelmstadt

How to get there:
  • Melanchthonplatz: Bus: 131, 134, 135, 638, N34
Remarkable places: Jaczo-Schlucht, Tiefwerder Wiesen

Wilhelmstadt began its history in the 16th century as a part of the fortifications of the city of Spandau. However, this settlement burned down in 1813, and it was only in the late 19th century that it grew once again as a suburb of the up-and-coming city of Spandau. Its named was changed to Wilhelmstadt in 1897 to honor the 100th birthday of Kaiser Wilhelm I. It was also the location of the internationally famous Spandau Prison which detained the war criminals of the Third Reich. It was demolished in 1987 following the death of its final inmate. With plenty of green space and easy access to the lake Scharfe Lanke and the Havel River, Wilhelmstadt is a beautiful suburban community. To the north, there are primarily early 20th century tenement houses, the south mainly single-family homes, and the east consists of the large former floodplains, the Tiefwerder Wiesen, which is now a park. It is served by several bus lines and easily accessible by car, but the nearest S-Bahn is in the neighboring district of Spandau which makes it remote from the city center of Berlin. The rental prices are low, reflecting this remoteness.