Now an example of natural reclamation within a dense urban area, Park am Nordbahnhnof was formerly a rail yard connected to Nordbahnhof  train station and then a no man’s land running along a section of the Berlin Wall.

Starting in 1945 the East/West division of Berlin ran right through the rail yard, so East Germany decided to close the train station in 1953 and tear the rail yard down around the same time the wall went up.  From 1961 to 1989, most of the old rail yard right of way became a wide no man’s land strip running North to South before the wall made a 90 degree turn at Bernauer Strasse.

After reunification, the area lay fallow with native meadow grasses and a stand of birch trees taking over where watchtowers, concrete, and floodlights once stood. The city of Berlin officially decided to make the area into a park which opened in 2009.  Although the park was nominally “developed,” the landscaping firm that did the work purposefully choose to keep the park’s natural setting; there are no playgrounds, grilling areas, or well groomed fields as is common in more traditional urban parks.

Despite the crowds and noise of the busy Bernauer Strasse and the Berlin Wall Memorial that runs alongside it, the Nordbahnhof park is an oasis where the birds are often louder than the nearby traffic and people.

A short video about the development of the park can be viewed here (in German with English subtitles).