The Oranienburger Vorstadt starts above Luisenplatz and the Charité hospital, takes in the beautiful Humboldthain Park and enters the district of Wedding, finishing at Gesundbrunnen shopping center.
Before World War II this district had a poor reputation. It was dominated by industry and the military even built an artillery ground here. It was a neighborhood with no civic center. The residential buildings were mostly tenement blocks, almost all of which were destroyed in bombing during World War II. With peace came the GDR, and as a frontier zone, the Oranienburger Vorstadt was necessarily quiet. In 1990 a sense of directionlessness set in but very quickly subsided. With urban planning rules relaxed, the area had an opportunity to achieve importance and a new purpose.
To the east, the border of the Oranienburger Vorstadt is marked by Chausseestrasse, where you will find central Berlin life in all its vibrancy. Heading west, you quickly reach the green and tranquil Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal, along which part of the Berlin Wall ran. Old border fortifications can still be seen there. As they can at the famous Wall memorial in Bernauer Strasse, visited by many thousands of people daily.
To the north, the Oranienburger Vorstadt borders the district of Wedding. Chausseestrasse starts in Mitte and ends in Wedding, and a transition is increasingly underway. There’s still space for the “new Mitte” here, as can be seen from the multiple high-end residential developments to be found here. One example is The Mile, a quiet and exclusive residence with over 260 studio apartments, maisonettes, traditional condominiums, and penthouses to choose from. Or Living 108, comprising 128 condominiums and three commercial units.
The residential profile of Chausseestrasse is changing rapidly – hardly surprising when you consider that in 2016, over 4,000 staff of the German intelligence service will be moving into the agency’s cool new headquarters here, making it the area’s largest employer. This is bringing new infrastructure and new life to the area in the form of restaurants, bars, and delicatessens.
No other district enjoys as many tram, subway, rapid transit, and bus services. Even so, away from the busy main streets, the tranquility here is interrupted by nothing more than the sound of birdsong. And walking along the canal or in Humboldthain Park, you will meet only locals stretching their legs or, in the summertime, lying on the grass reading. Tourists visiting the remains of the Berlin Wall do not wander this way. At once extremely central yet far removed from the hustle and bustle of Mitte, the Oranienburger Vorstadt is one of the few city center areas where there is still space for lifestyle dreams to become reality.