Bernau bei Berlin

Bernau bei Berlin (English Bernau by Berlin, commonly named Bernau) is a German town in the Barnim district. The town is located about 10 km (6.2 mi) northeast of Berlin.

Bernau bei Berlin
Town hall

Coat of arms
Location of Bernau bei Berlin within Barnim district
Bernau bei Berlin
Bernau bei Berlin
Coordinates: 52°40′00″N 13°34′59″E
SubdivisionsHauptort und 4 Ortsteile
  MayorAndré Stahl (Die Linke)
  Total103.73 km2 (40.05 sq mi)
68 m (223 ft)
  Density370/km2 (970/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03338
Vehicle registrationBAR, BER, EW


Archaeological excavations of Mesolithic prove the fact that this area has been inhabited since about 8800 BC. The city was first mentioned in 1232. The true reasons of its founding are not known. According to a legend Albert I of Brandenburg permitted the founding of the city in 1140 because of the good beer which was offered to him. It is true that beer has been brewed with the water of the river Panke. Therefore, it was forbidden by law to pollute this river with waste and excrement before the days the brewing took place.

Bernau had its boom years before the Thirty Years' War. Large parts of the defensive wall with town gate and wet moats are relics of that time. These helped Bernau defend itself successfully against attackers, e.g. the Hussites in 1432. Following the plague and war Bernau was poor and bleak. Frederick I of Prussia settled 25 Huguenotic families (craftsmen, farmers, traders and scientists) in 1699.

In 1842 a railway line was opened. One of the first electrical suburban railway lines in the world began operation in 1924. This line of the Berlin S-Bahn connected Bernau with the Stettiner Bahnhof (today Berlin Nordbahnhof) in Berlin. The ADGB Trade Union School (Bundesschule des Allgemeinen Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbundes), designed by Bauhaus director Hannes Meyer, opened in 1930. It was inscribed as part of the World Heritage Site the Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau in July 2017.[2] The Waldsiedlung (engl. residential area in the wood) is a district of the city where the political leaders of the GDR lived isolated from the people.


Bernau bei Berlin: Population development
within the current boundaries (2017)[3]
YearPop.±% p.a.
1875 8,060    
1890 9,583+1.16%
1910 12,364+1.28%
1925 13,403+0.54%
1933 17,671+3.52%
1939 20,256+2.30%
1946 19,678−0.41%
1950 20,482+1.01%
1964 20,545+0.02%
1971 20,511−0.02%
1981 24,318+1.72%
1985 25,386+1.08%
1989 25,145−0.24%
1990 24,532−2.44%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1991 24,491−0.17%
1992 24,693+0.82%
1993 24,744+0.21%
1994 24,913+0.68%
1995 25,428+2.07%
1996 27,208+7.00%
1997 29,609+8.82%
1998 31,231+5.48%
1999 32,506+4.08%
2000 33,086+1.78%
2001 33,507+1.27%
2002 33,882+1.12%
2003 34,379+1.47%
2004 34,995+1.79%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2005 35,235+0.69%
2006 35,546+0.88%
2007 35,859+0.88%
2008 36,059+0.56%
2009 36,154+0.26%
2010 36,338+0.51%
2011 35,843−1.36%
2012 36,020+0.49%
2013 36,222+0.56%
2014 36,547+0.90%
2015 37,169+1.70%
2016 37,725+1.50%
2017 38,194+1.24%
2018 38,825+1.65%

Main sights


The museum of local history has two locations. One is the town gate with the former prison Hungerturm (engl. Tower of Hunger). It is one of formerly three town gates, that were part of the defensive wall. Today armours and instruments of torture of the Middle Ages are shown there. Common furniture of several epochs and utensils of the executioner are exhibited in the Henkerhaus (engl. executioner's house) to demonstrate the life in the small town.

In 2005 the Wolf Kahlen Museum opened. Media art from 40 years is shown.

In 2005 Annelie Grund created the monument for the victims of witch-hunt.


The church St. Marien (Late Gothic style) dominates the skyline of the town. The nave was built in the 15th century.

Large parts of the defensive walls and wet moats of the Middle Ages are preserved. The defensive wall is supplemented by several lookout houses, the Pulverturm (armoury) and a town gate.

Until the 1960s the city centre, enclosed by the defensive wall, consisted of small old buildings with timber framed construction. Most of them were in a bad state because no funds were available in the GDR to renovate these buildings. It was decided to change Bernau into an exemplary city of socialist architecture. Nearly all the old houses were torn down in the 1960s and 1970s and new so-called Plattenbauten (buildings constructed of prefabricated concrete slabs) were built. The new houses had a maximum of four storeys to fit in with the architecture to the historic structure of the city.

The former ADGB school is located in the northeast of the town. It is the largest building in the Bauhaus style besides the Bauhaus itself.


The line S2 of the Berlin S-Bahn (suburban railway) connects Bernau with Berlin Friedrichstraße's station, in the center of that city Regional rail services connect Bernau with Eberswalde, Schwedt, Stralsund, Frankfurt (Oder) in northbound direction and with Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin Lichtenberg and Elsterwerda in southbound direction. Long-distance trains go to Stralsund, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Dresden and Amsterdam.

The Bundesautobahn A11 from Berlin to Prenzlau and Szczecin has the two exits Bernau Nord (number 15) and Bernau Süd (number 16).

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Bernau bei Berlin is twinned with:


Honorary citizen

  • Konrad Wolf (1925-1982), film director, President of the Academy of Arts, was the first city commander of Bernau after the Second World War (April 1945) at the age of 19, honorary citizen since 1975

Sons and daughters of the city

People associated with Bernau

See also


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