People who live in the modern East German flats during the 1970s and 1980s do so in the height of modernity. The WBS-70 homes are not lacking in luxury, with private bathrooms, hot water and central heating. Making a move into this type of brand new property very attractive to East Germans. The Plattenbau-Museumswohnung is a 3-bedroom show flat from 1986 constructed with huge attention to detail.
Modern and forward-looking: A glimpse into living in the GDR
In the early 1970s, Erich Honecker wants to end the GDR housing crisis. He starts to plan large developments with prefabricated buildings. Using this method reduces apartment building time to just 18 hours, ideal given the urgent demand. The Marzahn-Hellersdorf area begins to develop in 1977. The template properties are popular as they provide comfortable living and a low rent cost of just 109 East German Marks. At the beginning of 2000, the estate in Hellersdorf is due for renovation by its owner, a local housing association, and they decide to preserve the housing culture of the GDR in one sample flat. In 2004, the restored flat-museum is complete. It is almost as if the tenants, living there 30 years ago, have just left, such is the attention to detail. Familiar personal items, furniture and household products are bound to stir feelings of nostalgia. Everything from instant dessert powder to a bathroom cup holder, the fitted kitchen, fitted wardrobes and soft furnishings are still there. Wallpaper, flooring, doors, switches and other products that are also made in East Germany. An added touch of authenticity is the artwork on the wall: "Am Strand" (On the Beach) by Walter Womacka is the most sold print for East German living room walls. Hear first-hand stories about the flat from the manager, Mr Sawatzki. The Plattenbau-Museumswohnung is the only place of its kind anywhere in Berlin.
Pure nostalgia: Highlights of the Plattenbau-Museumswohnung
- 3-bedroom flat furnished top to bottom with original fixtures and fittings.
- Showhome luxury products such as the RFT Rafena colour television.
- Typical East German products such as floral work apron, Rotkäppchen champagne or a soda siphon.
- Authentic items such as photographic slides, medals, books and crockery.
- First hand anecdotes and personal tours by the manager.
More about everyday history: Stasi-Museum and The Wall Museum East Side Gallery
Another aspect of GDR life is persecution by the State Security Service, the Stasi. Only 30 minutes by underground from Hellersdorf, you'll find the former Stasi headquarters on Normannenstraße. From 1990 the building has been occupied by a citizens' movement and is a Stasi Museum. Find out about the methods used by the Stasi and the consequences they have for GDR citizens. On the Executive Level, see the unchanged office of Stasi chief Erich Mielke. Opened in March 2016, the Wall Museum explains the turbulent history of Berlin's Wall from its location at the East Side Gallery at Ostbahnhof railway station. Multimedia presentations in this former mill store showcase the historic events: local people talk about the building of the wall, about compulsory purchases and everyday life in Berlin. Also explored is the fall of the Wall and the political events of the years immediately after.
Our tips for your visit
The Plattenbau-Museumwohnung at 179 Hellersdorfer Straße is open on Sundays from 2pm to 4pm or by appointment. Admission is free. Take the U5 underground line to Cottbusser Platz, from where it is only 5 minutes' walk. The flat is on the ground floor on the right.
Opening hours (additional information)
for an appointment, please call 0151-16 11 44 40
Find further information here