Volkspark Friedrichshain, on the border of the hip Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg neighborhoods, is where the locals play among history and fairy tales.
Volkspark Friedrichshain Overview
The large urban “people’s park” Volkspark Friedrichshain is located close to the center of former East-Berlin, at the intersection of two residential neighborhoods that are especially popular among those who have flocked to Berlin after the wall came down. The neighborhoods Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain are the two central residential East Berlin neighborhoods, whose old architecture, tall trees, streetcar tracks and even some cobble stone streets had survived the world war and East German overhaul. No wonder they continue to be so attractive to newcomers and established Berliners alike.
And Volkspark Friedrichshain is the huge park where locals from both neighborhoods and beyond come to play, relax, socialize, drink beer and probably discuss a fair amount of history and politics.
In Berlin, a reminder of history is never far away. This is definitely true for the Volkspark! This particular Berlin city park has gone through some big changes and features a few significant memorials.
History and Memorials
Volkspark Friedrichshain (“Frederick’s Grove”) was initially conceived in 1840 to commemorate the centennial of the ascension to the Prussian throne by Friedrich der Grosse (Frederick the Great). It finally opened in 1848. The park lost some land to a cemetery for those fallen during the March Revolution of 1848 and to Berlin’s first urban hospital.
In 1913, the Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain) featuring statues from Germany fairy tales was created. During World War II a large bunker was erected, which was bombed and finally destroyed after the war. Like many parks in Berlin, rubble from buildings destroyed in the war was used to create extra hills in the Volkspark. In this case, two of the hills are actually called Kleiner and Grosser Bunkerberg (bunker hill/mountain).
During the East Germany decades, several memorials were created. There is a Monument to the Spanish Civil War (1968), the Memorial to Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascists (1972), and the Peace Bell that was a gift from Japan (1989). The statue of Friedrich der Grosse disappeared in the 1940s – and a replica was put up in 2000.
Fun, Food, and Drinks in the Park
There are more memorials to be found throughout the park – but also beach volleyball, climbing rocks, ponds, creeks and places for skateboards and BMX… and of course because it’s Berlin: table tennis aka ping pong! And in the winter: get ready to sled!
Since this is Europe, you can bring your own food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, into the park. But you can also choose from two restaurants (or beer gardens, if you will): Restaurant Schoenbrunn and Der Pavillion Biergarten und (seasonal) Kaminhütte im Volkspark.
How to Get to Volkspark Friedrichshain
To get to the park you can take the M10 tram to the Paul-Heyse-Strasse tram stop or the 200 Bus (from city centers in West and East Berlin) to the Am Friedrichshain bus stop, or ride a bike there (some uphill may be required). The park is open all day, every day.
Looking for more urban outdoor inspiration, check out our other city park guides:
Nature Takes Back: Südgelände Nature Park (Berlin, Germany)
Green Oasis in the City Center: Tiergarten Park (Berlin, Germany)
Park Above The Rest: The High Line (New York City)
On The Post-Industrial Waterfront: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn, NY)
… and this video about the Fairy Tale Fountain: Märchenbrunnen – In A Berlin Minute (Week 160)
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All photos were taken by Luci. Click on an image to see a larger version and even purchase a print or photo gift. Hey, whatever makes you happier…