Districts of Berlin: Steglitz-Zehlendorf

Learn more about the district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf…

Steglitz-Zehlendorf is an interesting suburban district (Bezirk) of the former West-Berlin which provides easy access to the city center while still providing interesting cultural and social activities. It has seven localities (Ortsteile) with lots of green space and popular lakes and rivers. Steglitz-Zehlendorf encompasses the south-west of Berlin and much of it borders the neighboring German state of Brandenburg and the historic city of Potsdam is easily accessible by public transport. With its highly sought-after residential areas, Steglitz-Zehlendorf is the most affluent of all the twelve districts of Berlin.  

Luxurious Steglitz

How to get there:
  • Rathaus Steglitz: S-Bahn: S1, U-Bahn: U9, Bus: X83, 170, 186, 188, 282, 283, 284, 285, 380, M48, M82, M85, N88
Remarkable places: Bierpinsel, Gutshaus Steglitz, Rathaus Steglitz, Spiegelwand  

At the sight of a medieval trading route which stretched from Aachen and Cologne in West Germany all the way to Berlin, Steglitz has always profited from its location. It was founded in the late-12th century and was first documented in 1375. With the construction of the railroad between Berlin and Potsdam, Steglitz was boosted financially and socially. During the late 19th century, the surrounding area was developed as a luxurious residential area of mansion and villa colonies and Steglitz town became a major shopping area. As it was historically, Steglitz remains today a popular shopping area for residents of Berlin, in particular around the area of Schloßstraße. It is easily accessible with public transport and it has the most distinctly urban flair of the district.  

Quiet Lichterfelde

How to get there:
  • Berlin-Lichterfelde West: S-Bahn: S1, Bus M11
Remarkable places: Otto Lilienthal monument, Dorfkirche Lichterfelde, Botanical Gardens, Gutshaus Lichterfelde  

Founded in the 13th century by Flemish settlers, Lichterfelde was a small farming village until the late 19th century when the area saw significant growth as an area of several villa and mansion colonies for wealthy Berliners.  It was the seat of the Prussian Main Military Academy (Hauptkadettenanstalt) in 1882, and thus the area became popular with wealthy families with connections to the Prussian military. From 1933 until 1945, the grounds of the military academy housed the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s personal bodyguards. During World War II, Lichterfelde-Ost was severely damaged, but Lichterfelde-West remained largely intact making it one of the most desirable residential areas of Berlin today. Lichterfelde is characterized by its impressive villas and mansions and botanical gardens. The architectural interesting houses and the sedate atmosphere of the surrounding area make it an extremely popular residential area, but due to its relative distance from the city center, rental prices remain within the city average.  

Competitively Priced Lankwitz

How to get there: S Lankwitz: S-Bahn: S25 Bus: 181, 187, 283, 284, M82, N81, X83 Remarkable places: Dreifaltigkeitskirche  

Lankwitz was originally a Slavic settlement which went by the name "Lancowice" which meant "place at the Uferaue". It refers to the canal Lanke which once went through the area. The area was first mentioned in historical records in 1239 and it primarily consisted of farmers. As the area was taken over by German settlers, they built a church which was likely built around 1250. The area remained rural for most of its history before being built up as a villa colony. On August 24th, 1943, the village center was bombed and many buildings, including the historic church, town hall, and the Schloss Lankwitz were destroyed. By the end of World War II approximately 85% of the area was destroyed. Today, Lankwitz is known as a bit of University town as the Freie Universität Berlin has several satellite departments in the locality. As the area is primarily comprised of buildings built after World War II, the rents are significantly cheaper than in surrounding localities. In Lankwitz it is possible to find large, inexpensive flats, something that is becoming increasingly rare as Berlin becomes a more popular city. The locality is served by bus and the S-Bahn stop S Lankwitz which is in the north-west.  

Affluent Zehlendorf

How to get there:
  • S Zehlendorf: S-Bahn: S1 Bus: 101, 112, 115, 285, 623, N10, N12, N84, X10
Remarkable places: Dorfkirche Zehlendorf, Haus am Waldsee, Schlachtensee  

First mentioned in 1245 as “Cedelendorp”, Zehlendorf likely takes its name from a previous Slavic settlement meaning “Noble Village”. It was a small farming community until in 1838 the Prussian railway opened the Potsdam-Zehlendorf-Berlin line. Within thirty years the area started to become popular as for the first time it was possible to live in the countryside while working in the city due to public transport. The area soon became a popular location for architects to live and the villas, mansions, and housing estates that were built reflect this. A popular area for Nazi officials during the war, it became a part of the American Sector and the American influence continues to this day, notably as it is the location of the popular German-American public school the John F. Kennedy School. Today, Zehlendorf is a leafy suburb of mostly single-family homes. It is a popular location for the American expat community as it is the location of John F. Kennedy School which grants both American high school diplomas and German diplomas. Zehlendorf is a popular area for families due to its middle-class suburban feel and the rental prices are high as a result. There is a lot of public transport options such as bus, U-Bahn, and S-Bahn, but it is some distance from the city center.  

University town Dahlem

How to get there:
  • Dahlem-Dorf: U-Bahn: U3 Bus: M11, N2, X83
Remarkable places: Allied Museum, Museumszentrum Berlin-Dahlem, Brücke Museum, St. Annen-Kirche  

Dahlem began its history as a village connected to the Dahlem Demesne, or the lands of a local manor. It remained a small rural village until the estate was sold to the state of Prussia in 1841. Thereafter the village began to be developed as a mansion and villa colony, similar to the other surrounding localities. After the partition of Germany, Dahlem was a part of the American sector and was the location of the Allied Kommandatura of Berlin until 1991. The district has a deep cultural tie with America due to this and the Embassy of the United States retains several buildings in the locality. Dahlem is also the location of the main campus of the Freie Universität Berlin which was founded in 1948 by the West German government. Dahlem is a quiet, leafy suburb with the flair of a university town. During the week, hundreds of students arrive via the U-Bahn, but the district itself is not known for being populated by students due to its high rental prices. It is well connected by both S-Bahn and U-Bahn stops and is a popular location for the American expat community. There is much to do in Dahlem with interesting museums, the historical hunting lodge (Jagdschloss Grunewald), and the western part of the locality containing part of the Grunewald forest.  

Villas in Nikolassee

How to get there:
  • Berlin-Nikolassee: S-Bahn: S1, S7 Bus: 112, 312, N16
Remarkable places: S-Bahnhof Nikolassee, Kirche Nikolassee, Strandbad Wannsee  

Similar to its neighbors, Nikolassee was developed as a villa colony as the bourgeois of Berlin sought out expensive homes in the countryside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When the railway station was completed in 1902, the area was still just open fields, but this quickly changed as it developed into a community of upscale mansions and villas. During the partition of Berlin, Nikolassee was a part of the American sector. Nikolassee is rural suburb of Berlin with many parks and lakes. It is served by the S-Bahn stop Berlin-Nikolassee. Much of the area of the locality is public parkland and is part of the Grunewald forest. Only the southeast is developed with mansions, single-family homes, and some apartment blocks. It is a popular area and has higher rental prices than most suburban communities in Berlin.


Naturally beautiful Wannsee

How to get there:
  • Berlin Wannsee: S-Bahn: S1, S7 Bus: 114, 118, 218, 316, 318, 620, N16, Ferry: 10, Trains: RE1, RE 7, RB21, RB22, RB33
Remarkable places: Liebermann Villa, Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz  

A large locality which is mostly parkland, Wannsee has long been a popular location for Berliners looking for natural beauty and swimming opportunities. The railway station at Wannsee opened in 1874, providing Berliners their first opportunities to visit the area. In the late 19th century, Wannsee was developed as a villa colony and attracted a host of famous residents such as the painter Max Liebermann. The villas were mostly congregated on the shore of the Lake Wannsee. One of these villas became the location of the Wannsee Conference, where top Nazi officials met and came up with the Final Solution which led to the Holocaust. This villa is now memorial site called the “Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz”. Wannsee remains a small community without many options for renters. It is a popular area due to its quietness and natural beauty, and the rents are higher than most suburban areas outside of Berlin. Most of the residential area is comprised of single-family homes.