Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
As a response to many questions and comments about Karstadt at Hermannplatz which this blog introduced last week in the Today in Kreuzberg series, I would like to do away with one, sadly for many, absolute misconception about the aforementioned department store:
KARSTADT AT HERMANNPLATZ A.K.A “KARSTADT NEUKÖLLN” IS NOT IN NEUKÖLLN:-)
It is very much in Kreuzberg although if it were any closer to the border between the two boroughs, it would have to have two postal numbers instead of the one it has now: Berlin 10967.
The border between Neukölnn and Kreuzberg runs along the edge of the pavement in front of the eastern front of Karstadt. Basically, once you step out of the shop and lower your foot from the curb to cross the street to get to the middle of the square (whether on one of the two zebra crossing or not), you have just left Kreuzberg.
A quick look at the historic Berlin directories provides the final proof that Karstadt is more “Kreuz-“ than “-kölln”: in 1938 it was registered under the following address:
As it is, the houses and businesses on the eastern side of Hermannplatz belonged – as they still do – to the borough of Neukölln. Whilst those on its western edge (which in practice means only the department store today) stand in Kreuzberg already.
It is a small and not particularly significant piece of information but it shows us nicely that the line between “Kreuz-“ and “-kölln” is even thinner that you´d think.