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Berliner Gaslaterne
Berliner Gaslaterne © Dagmar Schwelle

Gaslaternen-Freilichtmuseum Berlin

The largest collection in Europe

Near the Tiergarten S-Bahn station, you can view a collection of several gas lanterns from different eras at Europe’s largest outdoor gas lantern museum - the Gaslaternen-Freilichtmuseum Berlin (Gas Light Open Air Museum). It was founded in 1978 as gas lamps in the city were being replaced by electric one. With nearly 100 gas lamps, both originals and replicas, from 36 German and European cities, the museum has the largest collection of its kind in Europe. The oldest dates back to 1826. Some of them have very peculiar names like “Wilmersdorf Widow” and “Copper’s Leg”. In 1847, a separate, public natural gas facility was set up to fuel the 2,055 gas lanterns in Berlin. More than half of the world’s surviving gas lamps still line the streets of Berlin with more than 30,000 lights. The gas lamps have stood as silent witnesses to the city’s turbulent history.

As part of Tiergarten park, the museum is accessible at all times, a fact which unfortunately has left it vulnerable to vandalism, such as during the 2006 World Cup in Berlin. The city government has since been looking for a new location. Other historically interesting street lights can be found along nearby Straße des 17. Juni, lined with hundreds of street lamps designed by Albert Speer for the victory boulevard he had planned for Germania, the planned future capital of the Third Reich.


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