The Parliament of Trees

The Parliament of Trees

Green place of remembrance near the centre of German government

Parlament der Bäume – © visitBerlin/S. Dürrhauer
Parlament der Bäume – © visitBerlin/S. Dürrhauer
Mauer-Mahnmal im Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus – © DBT/SMNeumann

Adjacent to the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus is a somewhat unconventional garden: the park bench is not orientated towards the greenery, but instead several irregular granite slabs along the path and a painted wall surrounding the garden.

Environmental Art in the Former No-Man's Land

Only upon second glance does it become clear that this is a memorial: the "Parliament of Trees against Violence and War", erected in 1990 by artist and environmental activist Ben Wagin in an area once surrounded by the Berlin Wall. A total of 58 genuine pieces of the Wall were used in Wagin's art installation. The granite slabs list the names of 258 people who were killed trying to cross the Wall.

Humankind and Nature

The centrepiece is the "Parliament of Trees," a square of sixteen trees planted in 1990 by the prime ministers of the sixteen states in the unified Germany. Memorial stones, relics of the Berlin border installations, flower beds, pictures and texts complement the installation that recalls not only those who were killed at the Wall. The site also addresses the relationship between humankind and nature in painted sayings such as "A shared European house must rest on the foundation of an intact environment."

Wall Memorial at the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus

When the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus was constructed nearby, also within the former border strip, the Parliament of Trees had to be slightly reduced. A reminder of the site's history can be found in a circular room in the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus where remnants of the Wall secured by Wagin stand along the Wall's former path.

The Parliament of Trees can be reached from Schiffbauerdamm.


10117 Berlin MITTE

To: Adele-Schreiber-Krieger-Straße
10117 Berlin