Berlin´s development from a little village in the Mark Brandenburg province to Germany's biggest metropolis has to be seen in context with the utilisation of Berlin's underground for the urban infrastructure – like the sewage, gas, water and electricity networks and public transportation.
The Berliner Unterwelten e.V. (Berlin Underworlds Association) researches these historical developments and documents them. It was founded in 1997 by people from all walks of life who are interested in the diverse aspects of the underground. Its ranks include academics (such as architects, historians, lawyers, art historians, economists, town and regional planners and students) but also craftsmen, justice officials, teachers, policemen, OAPs and others who contribute to the organisation in many different ways. Focusing on the history of Berlin's underground, the organisation deals with largely uncharted territory and, consequently, attracts a lot of public attention. The indicators of this success are the books written by organisation members, which have already been published in multiple editions.
In June 2017 the association celebrated its 20th anniversary and on October 1st 2018 Chairman Dietmar Arnold was awarded the “Verdienstorden des Landes Berlin” on behalf of the entire association. Berliner Unterwelten e.V. is currently active at 12 of its own predominantly underground locations. The organisation consists of more than 520 members (January 2021) who coordinate their work in several independent sections.
Our primary aim is to explore and document the city's underground architecture and make it accessible to the public. Underground buildings include caverns, air-raid shelters, disused railway tunnels, derelict brewery vaults and other places the public normally has no access to. We try to conserve historically relevant underground structures and preserve them for future generations. Our message has spread and nowadays we are often approached by investors and public bodies whenever questions dealing with the underground arise.
The organisation's headquarters are located in an air-raid shelter within the Gesundbrunnen subway station (U8 line). In order to provide an insight into Berlin´s underworld, this particularly interesting structure has been renovated by the organisation. We also managed to get the bunker listed as a protected building in 1999. Membership meetings, special events and exhibitions take place in that structure. There are also special guided tours through underground installations for members of the Association only.
Due to the Corona pandemic and its effects, the association's existence is currently threatened as almost all activities had to be completely stopped from Mid-March 2020 until the end of May 2020 due to the imposed lockdown and then again from November 2nd 2020 until June 17th 2021.
The highest decision-making body of the association is the general meeting. In the period between the meetings, decisions are made by the board of directors, which is elected for a period of three years, and communicated to the members' representation. The members' representation is involved by the board of directors in important decisions and performs an advisory function. If necessary the members' representation has the right to veto certain decisions of the board of directors in accordance with the statute of association. The members' representation consists of five members of the association, who represent the members of the association and coordinate the working groups (AGs) in the departments of exhibition, research, presentation of the association and internal affairs as well as the special activities of individual members of the association. The members' representation is elected by the general meeting for three years.
LBB - Berliner Sparkasse
IBAN: DE77 1005 0000 6600 3729 80
(Please do not use this account for other payments.)
More information about the Association, its structure and statutes, membership etc. can be found on the German pages.