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© Ben Garrett/Flickr
© Ben Garrett/Flickr

The History Of The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden In 1 Minute

Picture of Lily Cichanowicz
Updated: 21 December 2016
Today, the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden sprawls over 43 hectares of land and contains more than 22,000 plant species. Situated at the western edge of the city in the suburb of Lichterfelde, the garden is comprised of several large greenhouses, surrounded with winding paths and lush gardens at the exterior. Yet its current appearance doesn’t give much away about its past. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of the garden in one minute.

Interestingly enough, what is now one of the largest and most prominent botanical gardens in the world was once an extension of the Berlin City Palace kitchen garden. The first collection of plants was brought here in 1573, before the concept of botanical gardens even existed. The garden we know today developed from this original collection. About a century later, it was also used to grow hops.

In 1809, Berlin University began to use this space for more scientific endeavors, a feat which ultimately prompted its further development and gave it notoriety around Europe. Due to several factors, including urban expansion from the city center and increased pollution levels, it was decided that the garden would be relocated to the western edge of the city where it currently stands.

Clockwise from the left: © botanica/Pixabay
Clockwise from the left: © botanica/Pixabay | © User:Mattes/WikiCommons | © user:Flo/WikiCommons

Following 13 years of construction, the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden was completed in 1910, where it finally began to take a form recognizable to visitors in current times. It was built under the expert instruction of famous architects Adolf Engler and Alfred Koerner, and its primary purposes at this time was to house exotic vegetation brought back to Germany from its colonies, many of which were used for research purposes. In the decades to follow, major advances in plant sciences and pharmacology were made at the garden, thanks to its extensive botanical collection. Despite damages incurred during World War II, the garden has maintained its largess and importance to the study of plants.

The garden’s adjoining museum, herbarium, and botanical library are still part of the Free University of Berlin, and the botanical garden complex consists of several different glass buildings, each designated to different kinds of plants, including cacti, an exquisite array of orchids, and even some carnivorous varieties. The exterior also contains an arboretum that spans across 14 hectares, including a splendid rose garden.

Open daily, you can start planning your visit to the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden here.

📅 Opening times dependent on the season

📍 Königin-Luise-Straße 6-8, 14195 Berlin, +03 083 850 100