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Berlin’s Oldest Park: Volkspark Friedrichshain (Berlin, Germany)

Statue of boy holding fish at Maerchenbrunnen Fairy Tale Fountain in Volkspark Friedrichshain Berlin

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.

Guys hanging out at Spanish Civil War Memorial in Volkspark Friedrichshain
Guys hanging out at Spanish Civil War Memorial in Volkspark Friedrichshain

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.

Puss In Boots, Der Gestiefelte Kater, statue, Maerchenbrunnen, Berlin
Der Gestiefelte Kater (Puss In Boots) at the Maerchenbrunnen

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).

"For Your Freedom And Ours" Skateboarders at the Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascist Memorial in Volkspark Friedrichshain Berlin
“For Your Freedom And Ours”
Skateboarders at the Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascist Memorial in Volkspark Friedrichshain Berlin

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!

Ping pong tables and fountain in Berlin
A common sight in Berlin green spaces: people playing ping pong.

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.

Biergarten Restaurant Schoenbrunn Volkspark Friedrichshain
Biergarten and Restaurant Schoenbrunn.

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.

Lawn Liegewiese in Volkspark Friedrichshain Berlin Germany
They have a word for everything: “Liegewiese” is the German word for a meadow (Wiese) on which to lie (Liegen) around.
Bust of namesake Friedrich der Grosse, Frederick the Great in Friedrichshain Park
Bust of namesake Friedrich der Grosse, Frederick the Great, in Volkspark Friedrichshain.
Mother statue among purple flowers in the Scent Garden
Mother statue among purple flowers in the Scent Garden in Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin.
Puppy! One of over 100 statues around the Maerchenbrunnen, Fairy Tale Fountain, in Berlin
Puppy! One of over 100 statues around the Maerchenbrunnen, Fairy Tale Fountain.
Sheep sculptures on the top of Berlin Restaurant Schoenbrunn
Don’t know why, but there are sheep sculptures on the top of Restaurant Schoenbrunn.
Japanese Pavilion and Peace Bell given to East Berlin by Japan in 1989.
Japanese Pavilion and Peace Bell given to East Berlin by Japan in 1989.
Little Red Ridinghood (Rotkaeppchen) getting licked by the Big Bad Wolf at Maerchenbrunnen, Fariy Tale Fountain, Friedrichshain
Rotkäppchen (Little Red Ridinghood) getting licked by the Böse Wolf (Big Bad Wolf) at Maerchenbrunnen (Fariy Tale Fountain).

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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Berlins Oldest Park, Volkspark Friedrichshain, statues, purple flowers, Maerchenbrunnen
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany, statue, bust, Frederick the great, Friedrich der Grosse
Volkspark Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany - where locals play among history - ping pong, table tennis, skateboard, polish anti-fascist german memorial

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…

Berlins Oldest Park: Volkspark Friedrichshain, home of the Fairy Tale Fountain (Maerchenbrunnen) and many more statues, memorials, flowers and beer gardens...
#Berlin #Germany #urbanpark #citypark #travel #HappierPlace #outdoors #history #statues

7 thoughts on “Berlin’s Oldest Park: Volkspark Friedrichshain (Berlin, Germany)

  1. What a lovely park! It looks very nice and good for place to just enjoy sitting or read a book ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. That people’s park is just so clean to start with! I wish such parks I’ve here were always well maintained too. Anyway, the park has such history…and the statues are just perfect symbols! Love it!

    1. That’s such a great point, Dalene. I’m so spoiled by seeing the mostly clean parks in Germany that I hardly notice that aspect anymore. Thank you for reminding me to not just appreciate the obvious plants and statues, but also just the fact that it’s clean.

  3. Oh my goodness! I love all of these statues so much! I would love to go just to see them all! Puss and buts and the puppy dog are like my favorite!

  4. I’ll have to add this to my list of places I want to see in Germany. I would love to make it over there one day soon.

  5. The puppy sculpture and the sheep are so beautiful!!!

  6. It looks like a lovely park. All the pictures are amazing. Would love to go there some time.

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