from vacant lot to ‘Zaubergarten’
During the summer of 2018, student representatives of the Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institut zu Berlin (Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences) turned a vacant lot into a magical garden (“Zaubergarten”). I was lucky enough to be there during the first few days to help out and document the progress.
When I moved to Berlin in 2017 and joined the Humboldt University (HU) as a masters student, I was introduced to the Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences. Like much of Berlin, the infrastructure of the HU is scarred from WW2 and this is especially true of the Thaer-Institute’s main building beside the Berlin Museum of Natural History. The outside walls are charred black, with patches of light grey stone where more recent repairs have been made and the inside still appears to be in the middle of a long-term renovation. The vacant lot nearby, which is now the Zaubergarten, was once just a pile of stones behind the Museum of Natural History, likely the remains of an old reconstruction effort around the museum.
This kind of space is one of the things that makes Berlin so special. Even in a city with 3.5 million people, you can still find small spaces available for creative development.
The Zaubergarten, as an extension of the Thaer-Institute and a representation of its students, is a perfect example of the potential for such abandoned lots within big cities, providing a relaxing atmosphere for humans and niche habitat for non-human animals as well (e.g. pollinators).
Today you can visit the garden, relax with a tea/coffee amongst the flowers and vegetables, and do a bit of gardening yourself. I highly recommend it.
For more information, contact garden management via the student body central:
For more recent pictures: https://www.agrar.hu-berlin.de/de/institut/studfach/AK/zaubergarten
Author: Chente Ortiz