∇ Wiki

"In the interests of the city, we have to ensure that this newly opened-up terrain, which so far has only been opened up on paper, is really opened up." [1]

The Construction of the Volksbühne took place from 1913 to 1914 and ensured that a substantial area of ​​the Platz was built on for the first time.


In order to upgrade the Scheunenviertel, the city administration began to buy up lots and expropriate the owners from 1905 onwards. The plan to leave the land to representatives of the private sector did not work because theyused the land only for speculation (not unheard of in Berlin). After the end of the first season of the Abriss des Scheunenviertels, the triangular area lay fallow for a few years. The new owners Wilhelm Lippmann and Hugo Lucker could not keep the contractually regulated plan to build one half of the Platz by April 1, 1914 and the other half by April 1, 1917, and asked for a postponement until 1919. The former eyesore remained still the problem child of Berlin. Accordingly, the application of the Neue Volksbühne e.V. was very welcomed at a meeting of the city administration in 1913. The association had been leasing the Bunte Theater in Köpenicker Strasse since 1910, and had already saved a solid foundation for a building project with its Arbeitergroschen (ten pfennigs surcharge for each ticket sold went to a building fund) to get a permanent venue soon. What Charlottenburg could do with its Hebbeltheater should also be possible in Berlin: to have its own city theater, which thanks to the considerable number of more than 50,000 members offered sufficient security. [1] In addition, there was the hope of finally handling the precarious situation at the Platz. Kaiser Wilhelm was said to comment on the project with: “When the proletariat build their temple of art there, they will finally stop throwing stones,”[2]

Three weeks after submitting the application, a loan of 2 million marks for the building of the Volksbühne was approved 500,000 Marks waived, the Volksbühnen members Arbeitergroschen' was sufficient. [3] Otherwise the city administration agreed to forego close inspection of the construction project.


Oskar Kaufmann, who has already made a name for himself by building the Hebbel Theater, was the chosen architect. Franz Metzner was responsible for the sculptures, another close collaborator was Georg Sieburg. The "Union"-construction company on shares was responsible for the execution. The foundation stone was laid on September 14, 1913. [4]

Laying of the foundation stone in 1913

The mahogany paneled auditorium offered around 2,000 seats. The portal was 11 meters wide and 8 meters high. The revolving stage was also an attraction.

On December 30, 1914, the Volksbühne was opened after two postponements, but not with the originally planned blockbuster Götz von Berlichingen but with an emergency solution that was not a synonym for the political situation at the time (keyword: We'll be back at Christmas at home - not.) but also for the first and last term of office of a very overwhelmed first Volksbühnen-Boss. In the press, in view of other reports, the event was nothing more than a marginal note, which was nevertheless provided with a very willing note: “The only thing left is the wish that the management of the Theater am Bülowplatz should announce its program changes a little earlier than it happened yesterday what should be possible. ”. [5]

The construction costed 2.8 million marks in total, the additional purchase of land costed 1.7 million marks.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Stenographische Berichte über die öffentlichen Sitzungen der Stadtverordnetenversammlung der Haupt- und Residenzstadt Berlin on January 9, 1913
  2. Urban Myth? quoted by Hans-Joachim Busch in an interview with Tagesspiegel on March 21, 2017
  3. https://digital.zlb.de/viewer/image/16339148_1914/732/LOG_0060/
  4. Berliner Volks-Zeitung of September 14, 1913
  5. Berliner Volks-Zeitung from December 31, 1914
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