Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
Did you know that before the outbreak of the Second World Berlin’s Tiergarten, the oldest park in the city established in the 1840s west of Berlin but now enjoying a most central location, counted over 200,000 trees.
The war left it with 700, most of which were felled anyway as heating material and to make room for the small-scale horticulture necessary to provide food to famished residents. Some 3,000 allotments were tenderly cared for by the survivors.
But in December 1948 – at the height of what went down in history as the Berlin Blockade – a very special cargo was flown into Berlin. The city of Bremen presented the capital with 30,000 saplings to replenish the lost tree collection of the Tiergarten. They were a small part of a much bigger project consisting on transporting to Berlin as many as 250,000 saplings.
On March 17, 1949 the first Governing Mayor of West Berlin, Ernst Reuter – the one of the eponymous “Peoples of the World, look upon this City!” speech – planted the very first of them: a small linden tree (what else?) found its new home close to the Große Stern roundabout and the Victory Column.
Walking through the Tiergarten today, with its lush green soul and what feels like ancient woods, it is hard to believe that it is “only” 61 years old. Last year, Ernst Reuter’s son, Edzard (himself a respected businessman and an active supporter of the 1990s new Potsdamer Platz project) visited Berlin to plant another linden tree sapling close to the one planted by his father all these years ago.