Berlin's Tempelhof Airport celebrates 100 years with a weekend of free events

Berlin's Tempelhof Airport celebrates 100 years with a weekend of free events

To celebrate 100 years since the first plane flew from Berlin’s Tempelhof airport, five days of festivities are set to begin on Friday, October 5 - and they are all free!

Berlin's Flughafen Tempelhof celebrates 100 years since opening

To mark 100 years since it first opened, Flughafen Tempelhof is set to host five days of concerts, readings, art exhibitions and tours of the terminal building of the airport.

The festivities will be opened by Berlin Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) on Friday evening at 6pm, followed by a choir performance of pop hits by the Berliner Kneipenchor and music from DJ Romano.

Pictures by Notes of Berlin, the well-known collection which documents notes left by locals around the city, will also be exhibited. The festivities will continue through to Tuesday, October 10 and every event will be free. 

The first plane out of Tempelhof

The first plane to depart from Tempelhof left for Königsberg, in what was then east Prussia, on October 8 1923. The airport terminal was constructed by Nazi architect Albert Speer in the stripped neoclassicism architecture style so widely used by the party.

And on May 8, 1945, it was at Tempelhof that many Nazis chiefs would arrive to sign the German Instrument of Surrender. A few years later the airfield, which is located in the heart of Berlin, between the neighbourhoods of Neukölln and Schöneberg, would make the news once again, this time as home to the Berlin Airlift. As the Soviet Union blocked the Allies’ access to the capital, British and US forces dropped food and fuel over the western-controlled parts of the city.

Tempelhof’s terminal has been called "one of the really great buildings of the modern age" by English architect Norman Foster and 100 years since it opened it is still one of the 20 largest buildings on Earth. Following the airport’s closure in 2008 the airfield surrounding the terminal - which sprawls over an area twice the size of Monaco - has been used as a public park.

Berlin's housing crisis is driven to the edge of Tempelhof

Sheep grazing, bees buzzing, rollerskaters and high-speed cyclists on the runway, today Tempelhof is the largest inner city open space in the world. But at the centre of a city in a housing crisis, the fate of the land is continually brought into question. 

Back in a 2014 referendum, around 65 percent of participating Berliners voted to keep the field free from building development. But almost 10 years on, the same question is back on the table, with Mayor Kai Wegner suggesting that the city hold another referendum and build housing on the outskirts of the field. Critics of Wegner’s plan argue that building development alone will not make housing in Berlin more affordable.

Thumb image credit: JulianBuijzen /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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