Local history

Schöneweide and the AEG

The AEG City

The industrial area in Oberschöneweide is one of the most important monuments of Berlin industry and counts as the largest contiguous industrial monument in Europe. The rise began around 1895, when the AEG under Emil Rathenau moved to the still undeveloped Spreeufer in the southeast of the city in search of a suitable location for its ever-expanding production facilities. Within a few years, Schöneweide became one of the largest locations of the Berlin electrical industry and, in the meantime, the world’s largest location for AEG.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, no industry has had such a decisive influence on economic and everyday life as the electrotechnical industry. The Europe-wide unique concentration of this innovative industry helped the German capital during the days of the Empire to become the “Electropolis” and made Berlin an industrial city of the first rank in the following decades.

The “General Electricity Society” (AEG) was active in all fields of electrical engineering. It was a modern company that shaped the construction and the cityscape of Oberschöneweide. Schöneweide is therefore also called the “AEG-Stadt”. In Wilhelminenhofstraße, AEG built an elongated band of factory plants which, with their yellow brick facades, still characterize the almost two-kilometre-long industrial belt between Spree and Wilhelminenhofstraße to this day.

For this purpose, the AEG engaged the most famous architects of the time such as Franz Schwechten and later Peter Behrens, as well as the specialists of industrial construction Paul Tropp and Ernst Ziesel. The unique ensemble of factories, extensive production halls, administrative buildings and residential buildings exists to this day. This embodies the beginning of the age of architectural modernism and makes Schöneweide a worthwhile destination for excursions.

Vortrag zur Geschichte der AEG

Das Exposé zum Vortrag “Die AEG – Aufstieg und Niedergang einer deutschen Industrielegende” von Dr. Peter Strunk finden Sie unter diesem weiterführenden Link.

Weiterführende Literatur

Auf Wikipedia lassen sich außerdem einige ausführliche Beiträge zur historischen Entwicklung von Schöneweide, Niederschöneweide und Oberschöneweide finden.