Not too much longer there will be the Gaslamp Open Air in Berlin that you can discover for free. But you can still see some of the old street lighting in the Großer Tiergarten.
If you walk into the Großer Tiergarten directly from the Tiergarten S-Bahn station, you can still see them, the street lamps from many regions of Europe. They stand to the right and left of a path that leads into the Tiergarten.
History of the gas lamp
It was in the year 1826 in Berlin that the Gaslamp entered the city. A British company had been commissioned to install this new street lighting in Berlin. Gaslamp had the great advantage that they shone much brighter than the old gaslamp. At first, converted oil lanterns on cast-iron pillars, the so-called Camberwell lanterns, found their place on the boulevard Unter den Linden. Then gradually the different model conquered the city and shaped the night life.
It’s hard to believe, but in 2009 there were still around 44,000 gaslamp in use in Berlin.
Gaslamp Open Air Museum Berlin
In 1978, the Berlin Senate, in cooperation with the Berlin Gas Works and under the scientific supervision of the German Museum of Technology Berlin, built the open-air museum in Berlin-Charlottenburg.
In the beginning, 31 gaslamps from Berlin, Baden-Baden, Düsseldorf and Munich stood in the Tiergarten and transformed the paths in the Tiergarten with their glow in the evening. In the course of time, the number of gaslamps on display increased to 90, and now there were also lanterns from many European cities such as London or Copenhagen to discover. Even a specimen of the first Berlin gas lantern, the Camberwell lantern, could be seen in the open-air museum.
For about 28 years the gaslamps stood freely accessible to everyone in the Tiergarten and unfortunately not everyone treated them as one should treat something that does not belong to you. Too often the glass panes were destroyed and the museum pieces deteriorated more and more. Extensive renovation measures then allowed the lanterns to shine again in their former glory in 2006.
There were even new signs indicating age, type and origin. But unfortunately, damage to the museum pieces was quickly visible again. When we were out there in the summer of 2020, I was frankly shocked by the condition of some of the gaslamps. From broken windows to birds’ nests in the lamps, there was hardly a gas lantern that didn’t look defective.
Very understandable that it was decided to protect the historic gaslamps and close the Gaslamp Open Air Museum Berlin.
What will happen to the Gaslamp Open Air Museum Berlin in the future?
Some of the lanterns have already been dismantled and stored in the Berlin Museum of Technology. The plan is to set up all the lanterns there. Unfortunately, you can then no longer visit them free of charge and also the lighting will no longer be with gas, but with electricity. But at least the gas lanterns are protected from vandalism there.