The industrial district Schöneweide is closely linked to Emil Rathenau. In 1896 he purchased an area of 92,000 square meters next to the river Spree to establish the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG). Thus, he laid the foundations of one of the major industrial sites of his time. One year later Germany’s first three-phase power plant and the latest European cable plant became operational. The “schöne Weyde” turned into the “Chicago at the river Spree”. The fully electrified industrial complex attracted many visitors who came only for this purpose. Everything that could be powered by electricity was produced here, even vehicles. The historical structure of the vast industrial district with its broad range of products is still visible in the preserved buildings. The GDR made Schöneweide one of the country’s largest industrial centers employing 25,000 people by the time of the fall of the Berlin wall.
Following the reunification Schöneweide witnessed several unsuccessful attempts to preserve the industrial heritage. The number of jobs dropped from 25,000 to barely 2,000 in 2012. When the University of Applied Sciences moved in this meant a new beginning for the historical cable plant.
The Industriesalon Schöneweide Association operates the visitor center, is involved in the historical research of the district, conveys new perspectives on the local industrial heritage and offers exciting guided tours of a site heavily experiencing a period of change.
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Wednesday, Friday - Sunday 2-6pm