Probably the most unusual garden in the city, is hidden in the government district in the center of Berlin. The so-called parliament of trees on the banks of the Spree, directly opposite the Reichstag building, is not just there to linger: it is a living symbol against war and violence.
Here, on the former strip of the Berlin Wall, the people who lost their lives on the inner-German border are given a place to be remembered. Wall remains and commemorative plaques keep their memories alive. The park was laid out by the artist and environmental activist Ben Wagin shortly after reunification in 1990. Sustainability was important to him throughout his life - in his works he always pursued the aim of preserving nature in the cities. He has also succeeded here: in the center are 16 trees that were planted in the year they were created by the 16 all-German prime ministers of the old and new federal states - including a ginkgo, a honey locust and a common beech. Even if not all 16 original trees have been preserved to this day, a monument has grown out of Wagin's garden over the years, which is touching because of its silent power. Whether the treetops are lush green or mute autumnal colors, their presence exudes hope. Ben Wagin defended this special place against any construction project, he took care of it himself and constantly redesigned it: You can now discover 120 different types of plants and temporary art installations here – most recently (until July 2022) an exhibition led by female artists who had come to Berlin after fleeing from Ukraine.
Since Wagnis passed in 2021, the garden has received ongoing support from the Berlin Wall Foundation. As a tree outlives a human lifetime, our commitment to peace should also span generations. "Whoever plants trees takes root," wrote former Bundestag President Rita Süssmuth on one of the pieces of wall in the Parliament of Trees. How right she is about that?
Clear shapes, flowing spaces and straightforward elegance – that's the legacy architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is known for worldwide. He has left behind more than 40 buildings in Berlin alone, and the last one he built before emigrating to the United States is located in Alt-Hohenschönhausen, on the idyllic shores of the small Obersee lake. Created in the early 1930s as a villa for the print shop owner Karl Lemke, today the Mies van der Rohe Haus is not only an architectural monument but also an exhibition space for contemporary art.
The meter-high, glass facade makes Galerie Wedding look like an ever expansive window display: under the direction of Danish-born Solvej Helweg Ovesen, this gallery not only exhibits art, but dissolves the boundary between inside and outside, everyday life in the neighborhood and the art of the world.