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Wasserturm Kollwitzkiez
Wasserturm in Berlin © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

The water tower at Kollwitzplatz (Wasserturmplatz)

A tower and its neighbourhood

Wasserturmplatz is located around Berlin’s oldest remaining water tower, which is a landmark of this city district that can be seen for miles.

The water tower was built between 1877 and 1878 by engineer and waterworks director Henry Gill to supply water to the growing population and to Berlin’s brewery site. But in 1914, the  tower was shut down as its capacity was not enough to supply the growing city. Up to 1952, the water tower served as a surge tank and pressure gauge.

The facilities on the premises of the  waterworks were used for very diffe­- rent and unfortunately rather unpleasant purposes. From 1922 to 1930,  a soup kitchen for the poor in Berlin was housed in the engine house. The former underground water reservoir was used for some time as a store and for fish processing. In 1931, the waterworks handed the property over to Prenzlauer Berg. In 1933, at the behest of Hermann Göring, the SA misused the engine houses and water reservoirs that had been used as storage rooms to set up one of their first »wild concentration camps«.

Today, the tower is a residential building. Since 1994, the non-profit organisation »Förderband« has been using the water tank for public art events. Vis- it­ors are fascinated by the acoustics of the tank. The echo in the big tank lasts 18 seconds and four to five in the small tank. You should remember to wear warm clothes as it can be quite cold.

Steep steps will take you up to a park on higher ground. The slope of this park that was restored in 2007 has been planted with roses. If you take a picnic basket, you can sit back, relax and enjoy watching the laid-back goings on in the many street cafés and bars around Wasserturmplatz. Closed off to traffic, this green area also has a pretty playground for children.