The Historic Heart of Berlin − Then and Now
Erste Straße, Neustädtische Allee, Lindenallee, Lindenstraße − the grand boulevard "Unter den Linden" has been known by many names in the past few centuries
Bertelsmann's representative premises are situated at the eastern end of Unter den Linden, directly by the Schlossbrücke bridge and surrounded by some of the beautiful historic buildings in Berlin.
Over the centuries, the City Commandant's Headquarters were part of an ensemble that also included the Crown Prince's and Crown Princess's Palaces, the Zeughaus (armory), the Neue Wache, modern-day Humboldt University as well as the Forum Fridericianum (today's Bebelplatz), comprising the opera house (now the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden, which is currently undergoing renovation), St. Hedwig's Cathedral, and the “Kommode” (formerly the Royal library now the Faculty of Law at Humboldt University).
The ensemble is completed by Schinkelplatz, which is located directly behind Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 and was reconstructed true to the original in 2007/08; Schinkel’s Bauakademie, which is currently awaiting reconstruction; and Friedrichswerder Church. This section of Unter den Linden Boulevard was largely designed by two greats of Berlin urban planning at the time: Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff and Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
The architecture of historic Berlin can also be experienced east of the Kupfergraben; on a stroll through Lustgarten park, past the Berlin Cathedral to Museum Island with its complex consisting of the New Museum, the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), the Altes Museum (Old Museum), and the Bode Museum.
During the past 10 years, the eastern part of Unter den Linden Boulevard has undergone a profound development. For example, the city got a new subway, the extension of the U5 from Alexanderplatz all the way to Berlin’s grand central station (Hauptbahnhof). The construction of the U5 already cast its shadow a good 20 years ago, at which time it had a major impact on Bertelsmann’s new building; after all, Unter den Linden 1 is the only building on Linden Boulevard under which, after nearly 10 years of construction, the subway trains have now been passing since 2021. As a result, the building’s basement floors are significantly smaller than the floors above ground. On the other hand, Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 now has a direct subway connection: one of the entrances to the “Museumsinsel” subway station is located (almost) right outside its front door.
Opposite Lustgarten park, one of the largest inner-city construction projects has been built in recent years in the direct vicinity of Bertelsmann’s representative office: the Humboldt Forum with the reconstructed facade of Berlin’s City Palace. In 2021, with the completion of the palace’s reconstruction, the buildings to the west and south of it – including the former commandant’s office which is now Bertelsmann Unter den Linden – regained their reference points in terms of both scale and context. Meanwhile, the Humboldt Forum completes the architectural landscape on Museum Island as a place for culture and science, inviting exchange, debate, and reflection.
Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 is firmly anchored in the epicenter of Berlin’s new cultural center – which besides Museum Island with the Humboldt Forum also includes other institutions. Together with the German Historical Museum (Unter den Linden 2, just across the street), the Gorki Theater, the State Opera Unter den Linden and the Palais Populaire, Deutsche Bank’s Berlin exhibition and event venue (Unter den Linden 5), Bertelsmann’s premises play an active role in shaping the “Unter den Linden” mile of culture.