Industrial history meets nature: Berlin's Ökowerk, a former waterworks, is a paradise full of species-rich habitats and educational exhibits.The info centre “Wasserleben” offers numerous models all-around the subject of H2O. For events, the theme gardens and ponds can be used, as well as the diverse seminar rooms (forest hall, library, laboratory).
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The Berlin metropolis is unique in many ways. It is, however, often overlooked as the greenest city in Germany. To preserve its biodiversity, much is being done. One example is the foundation of the Ökowerk Conservation Centre in 1985, on the lake Teufelssee in Grunewald. The centre maintains a 2.8 hectare natural paradise with numerous habitats, on the historic industrial site of Berlin's old waterworks. In these historic halls, you can find water-related exhibits and learn all about garden design and survival skills in workshops on site. Finally, you'll spot many animals such as grass snakes, frogs and lizards in their natural environment.
Natural oases on a historic industrial site
The starting point for all walking tours is the imposing main waterworks building. The 1872 brick plant is worth a visit in itself. Among other things, you'll discover the machine hall with historical pumps and a tank. You'll also find the library, forest hall, and a laboratory. It's not just technophiles who are fascinated by the guided tours of the waterworks. Occasionally there are even torchlit tours at night. Discover the underground water storage and filtration halls with an information centre on aquatic life. The permanent exhibition informs visitors about the water distribution systems; they show numerous experiments and have a walk-in lake. Children will love building rivers on interactive models, measure the groundwater and imitate frogs. Outside in a large pond, the croaking of frogs and the whirring of dragonflies are evidence of the vitality of the biotope. The man-made ponds have been colonised by animals. Next up are the orchards, in the heart of the centre. Among other things, you'll find an organic cottage-style garden. This organic vegetable garden is located between a clay pond and a herb garden. Here you will find mainly edible vegetables with historic roots. These sections are adjoined by the flower garden to the north of the compex. The variety of shapes, colours and scents here don't just lure people; many insects, including 120 wild bee species, are busy all year round. Finally, you visit a drywall rock garden. Here you will encounter tough plants that love both sunny and dry conditions. If you're lucky, you might even catch sight of a lizard.
Other highlights of the Ökowerk
The oldest walk-in waterworks plant in Berlin (opened 1872).
Information centre on aquatic life with interactive models.
Natural theme gardens with historic fruits and vegetables.
Educational adventure places for children, for example survival training.
Environmental education in weekly workshops.
The famous Teufelsberg (Devil's Mountain), consisting of rubble from the bombings of the war, is less natural but just as interesting, and its debris is now lush and landscaped. You can reach it in 15 minutes on foot. The five radar domes, an American listening station, are an unofficial Berlin landmark. In addition, you are spoiled with views of Grunewald forest, the Fernsehturm and Berliner Dom. Jagdschloss Grunewald, directly on the lake, is the oldest castle in Berlin. It impresses with its Renaissance architecture and houses the largest Cranach collection in the city.
Our tips for visiting Ökowerk
The Ökowerk is most comfortably reached by car, but you can also go to the S-Bahn station Grunewald, which is on the lines S5, S7, S75, or take buses M19, 186 and 349 or 218, X 34, X 49 and M49. From there, it's still 3 km on foot to the Ökowerk. There is a special programme for schools. The forest and filter halls, laboratory and library can also be hired for special events.