Nieder Neuendorf is a town to the northwest of Berlin and characterised mostly by residential houses, a church and a few shopping facilities. And it is also home to one of the last remaining GDR watchtowers.
Right at the banks of the marvellous Nieder Neuendorf Lake, a widening of the river Havel, is Nieder Neuendorf. Today this is simply where Berlin ends and Brandenburg begins but it used to be the border between the GDR and West Berlin for 25 years.
There is not much to see if you ever come through here on a cycling tour or boat excursion. A cobblestone church in the centre of the village. The cross on the altar and the flambeau were designed by Karl Freidrich Schinkel.
The footpath along the embankment is a wonderful route for a walk. And then there is the watchtower.
Old watchtower in Nieder Neuendorf
The old watchtower is a relict from the time of the German division. This is where the intra-German border used to be between 1961 and 1989. More than 300 watchtowers surrounded West Berlin to secure the border.
This watchtower here was built in 1987 and was the headquarter of the 38th border regiment “Clara Zetkin”. Border control along a 10 km stretch with 18 more watchtowers between Schönwalde and Stolpe-Süd was coordinated from here.
When the Wall itself was taken down the watchtower was left and now serves as a memorial at the banks of the river Havel.
The Hennigsdorf City Council brought the tower under monument protection in 1999.
An exhibition was created on the four floors of the tower and opened in 1998. It informs visitors about the German division and the impact of the Wall on the regions around Hennigsdorf.
The exhibition was modernised in 2014 and now presents a multimedia experience of regional history and events on 200m². The staff that works on the exhibition floor is happy to elaborate further or share personal stories and memories from the time. Guided tours are also available upon request.
Over 12000 people visited the exhibition in 2016 and supported the project with their donations.
We stopped here on a break on a bike tour. The exhibition triggered some memories for us from West Berlin. We grew up around the Wall and watchtowers and so the exhibition provided information and answers to many questions from our childhood.
6th of April to 3rd of October as well as on Bank Holidays in Brandenburg
Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00
open all day every day, all year
Free (donations welcome)