Köpenick – First Impressions

Zur deutschen Fassung.

Berlin, at least as you know it today, is a rather young city.

It was only created in 1920, when several surrounding towns, villages and rural estates were incorporated into Greater Berlin, which became 13 times the size of the original Berlin (although still tiny by other standards).

Because of this, many districts of Berlin maintain a unique – sometimes even rural – character. Last summer, I explored Köpenick, Berlin’s easternmost district, for a day. Instead of explaining a lot, I guess I should just show you some photos, and you will get a better idea of what I am talking about.

With all the life taking place near or in the water, it almost felt like Venice.

That factory on the other side of the river is a brewery, of course. I mean, what else?

Köpenick even kept its own railway, which is connected to the German, European and global railway system at Wuhlheide station.

The train leads through an enormous forest, with restaurants, concert areas, playgrounds and yet more water. Here, you also find the stadium of FC Union Berlin, the football club, which has been playing in the first-division Bundesliga since 2019 and qualified for the UEFA Cup (or whatever they call that now) for the first time last year.

I guess there was a match that day, because I saw thousands of people in red UNION jerseys, as well as thousands of people in blue POLIZEI jerseys – the rival team, apparently. The blue team seemed a bit more aggressive, blocking all the roads and the tramway, but in the end, Union won 3-1.

Anyway, I really liked Köpenick.

And now, as luck would have it, I secured a house- and cat-sitting job in, you guessed it, Köpenick! In Müggelheim, to be precise, which is the easternmost part of the easternmost district of Berlin. And even more rural. In 1920, it was by far the smallest municipality to become part of Berlin. My hosts already warned me to look out for wild boar and foxes, whenever I open the door.

So, from next week, I will be in Berlin for two months. I just hope it will be as sunny and warm as it was on my last visit to Köpenick. And, if you are in the area, please say hello!


About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Germany, Photography, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Köpenick – First Impressions

  1. Pingback: Köpenick – erster Eindruck | Der reisende Reporter

  2. Great photos! How did you get the first one of the football match (blue on red) with what looked like black-and-white film but with red added in? Filters, or some modern digital witchcraft? ;)

    I’m intrigued by the prevalence of houseboats on rivers in Europe (including the UK, even if they don’t want to be in the EU). We only have houseboats in warm areas in the South, and on the West Coast, but nowhere near the numbers. Perhaps something I need to research a little… :)

    • On my camera, I can choose settings like “red only”, “green only” etc. Usually, though, I choose the “simple mode” for people who can’t be bothered about focal length and stuff.

      I absolutely love the houseboats everywhere in Europe! Each of them looks a bit different and often very colorful, cozy and with a personal touch. In London, I also had the impression that many people live on a houseboat without ever traveling, just because the rent is cheaper. Maybe they feel somewhat confined, but I would still like the idea that I could sail away any day I wanted. (If I knew how to operate a boat and how to navigate the waterways.)

      I am absolutely impressed by the system of canals that crisscrosses the continent, mainly its central and northern part. They usually go back to the time of industrialization, sometimes to earlier times.
      More on canal history in this episode of my history series: https://andreasmoser.blog/2021/12/29/rmd-canal/

      And the canals are wonderfully interconnected. I was once house-sitting for a couple who had a houseboat on the continent and they went there twice a year for three months each. They had been doing this for many years already, and they still hadn’t explored everything by far.
      You can start in France, explore that huge country, then go through Belgium and the Netherlands, cross Germany and Poland all the way to Belarus, for example.

      (No idea why there are hardly any canals in the south of Europe. I mean, obviously there are none crossing the Alps and the Pyrenees, but between the Italian city states, there was a lot of trade and commerce, as well, just as in Flanders. But they ain’t got no canals. Except in Venice, of course.)

      Come to think of it, I should try to hitchhike houseboats instead of cars and trucks!

    • Don’t forget that Italy is also a recently (fairly) united country, and the city-states did a LOT of warring among themselves. Canals in the north might have been possible (I don’t know the geography that well), but down the boot you get into the Mountain/river valley thing that makes Italy look like a fish skeleton. Made life for the Allies absolutely miserable as they worked their way north in 1943/1944 – when they weren’t blowing up treasures like Monte Cassino….
      I think houseboats are cool, too. I just don”t get why Americans don’t do them. Northeast Illinois has a LOT of population and a lot of rivers of all sizes, most of them feeding into other, larger waterways, but the only place I’ve heard of houseboats is Florida and Washington/Oregon. I understand the problems with freezing waters, but I would think that (especially in the South) there’s be a demand for them, like in Louisiana or inland Florida, not just the Florida coasts. Another thing about my country that mystifies me.

      Ah, the photograph WAS digital magic. Sorry, my camera toting days go back to the days of film, when autofocus was a big deal. Jeez, I’m old …..

    • But then, Germany only became a unified country even after Italy, and there are plenty of canals.
      On the other hand, maybe all the canals are in what used to be Prussia, which explains the good connections into Poland.

      Sometimes, it just takes one person to get a houseboat and start a trend! ;-)
      And if the rivers are connected, you could even leave the freezing zone during winter.

    • I don’t see a future in houseboating. America’s not organised enough to have many canals, and the thought of drifting into far-right territory without a full broadside of 12-pounders doesn’t appeal to an old fart like me. :)

      Seriously, how friendly were the Germanic provinces prior to unification? (Briefly, please, I’ll burden other sources with trying to shovel knowledge into my faulty brainpan.) I thought that they got along fairly well, at least in the 19th century. I haven’t worked my way backwards in German history any further … yet.

      Hope your weather is going okay. We’ve got a deep-freeze coming in a few days. Joys. (Sorry, can’t find the “immense sarcasm” emoji.) ;)

    • Immediately before unification, there was the German-German war in 1866. In English, it is usually referred to as the Austro-Prussian War, but if you look at the list of warring parties, you will find mostly German principalities and territories on either side:

      This war led to the dominance of Prussia, which forced even the reluctant principalities and kingdoms (especially in the south, like Bavaria) to sign treaties of mutual military support.
      And then, when Prussia fought a war with France in 1870, all the German territories were drawn into that war. As the Germans won, they soon forgot how reluctant they had been to fall into line behind Prussia’s leadership, united as the German Reich and appointed the Prussian King as Emperor of Germany in 1871. – Which is why his family, the Hohenzollern clan, are still pestering us today: https://andreas-moser.blog/2021/10/04/hohenzollern/ (I still have to write the English version of that article.)

      That was pretty short and succinct, wasn’t it?

      In the first Covid summer, I walked across Bavaria, and that 9-part story has – between beautiful photos – quite a lot about the history of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the German unification under Bismarck – and how he killed King Ludwig II of Bavaria:

    • I’d heard about the Prussian-Austrian war, but thought it was a new empire vs. old empire sort of war. I never worked my way earlier than the Franco-Prussian war, and that only as a lead in to WW1. (I’m more of a tanks and planes 20th century historian, less a cannon and cavalry 19th century one. Hm – Cannons and Cavalry – a 19th century RPG kinda like Dungeons and Dragons, but with less magic and more musketry … Nah, it’s probably been done already. ;) ) Yes, you did an excellent job in combining breadth and brevity. We have to get you teaching at a college somewhere, make people actually ENJOY history classes, rather than suffering through them like root canal dentistry!

      Thanks for the links, too. That’ll give me an entry point when I start working my way into 19th century German history. Right after I get through fighting my way through 21st century American medical bureaucracy! 8O

  3. danysobeida says:

    Un encanto koepenick, aprendí que Venecia esta sobre valorada, luego de leer y ver las fotografías, revise la pequeña ciudad en este app: https://satellites.pro/mapa_de_Alemania#52.405142,13.654633,13.
    Todo este sector esta rodeado de un muy complejo sistema de humedales. Langer See lago largo me aparece en la traducción. Quede impresionada, muy complejo todo el sistema metropolitano al rededor de Berlín … se percibe mas sano que los entornos metropolitanos latinoamericanos … muy verde. Ya me dispare en otra dirección, disculpa. Aprendí que backerei es panadería. Adore las Hayas rojas en koepenick.

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