When you’re walking through Tiergarten and suddenly notice a romantic atmosphere created by the gold-yellow coloured light from a huge amount of lanterns, without anything special going on, then you probably ended up in the Open Air Gas Lantern Museum (Gaslaternen-Freilichtmuseum).
Gas lantern

Open Air Gas Lantern Museum

The Open Air Gas Lantern Museum was established in 1978 and shows 90 historic lanterns, both originals and replicas, from 25 German and 11 European cities. The lanterns originate from the era between 1826 and 1956. It is the largest collection in Europe of its sort. The museum is situated near S-Bahnhof Tiergarten between the Strasse des 17. Juni and the upper lock in the Landwehrkanal. Don’t forget the few at the other side of the Strasse des 17. Juni behind the Burger King. Especially in the evening or at night it’s worth a visit, as lights are switched on at dusk.
If you would like to see more gas lanterns “in the wild”, then you are in the right city.

Gas lantern

Berlin gas street lighting

More than 200 years ago, in 1814 the first gas lanterns appeared in London. Since then, the use grew rapidly due to the industrialisation. In Berlin, gas lamps are used since 1826 and have been silent witnesses of the eventful history. Currently there are still about 44.000 of them in operation in Berlin. A unique number, which is more than half of all working gas lanterns in the world. The majority of the relatively modern lamps are found in the western part of the city, as in this isolated part of the divided city it was easier to use gas than to be dependent on electricity supplies.

While the 90 lanterns of the museum are protected by world monument funding, the 44.000 in the streets of Berlin are not. There are plans to gradually convert all of them into electric lamps, as gas lighting is supposed to be environmentally harmful and more expensive, which is highly debatable.

A good overview of the different types of Berlin gas lanterns and where it is worth seeing them, can be found on the website of Gaslicht-Kultur, which is an association to promote and protect the gas operated street lighting in Berlin. It also organises tours.

More information

Gaslaternen-Freilichtmuseum/Open Air Gas Lantern Museum
Strasse des 17. Juni/Klopstockstrasse
S5 S7 S75 N9 Tiergarten
Open anytime
Free admission