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Berlin in the snow: 11 images of a winter wonderland

When snow falls over Berlin, the city is blanketed in white and there is suddenly a magic about that place. Here are 11 striking images of Berlin in the snow.

A group of boys heading out on their skates (c. 1930). Photo: Imago Images/United Archives International

Snow is becoming rare in Berlin, but, when it comes, it’s fantastic to see how quickly the city is transformed. Berliners have always loved their city’s winter look. Here are 11 images of a wonderfully snowy Berlin.

Sledding through Brandenburg Gate

Locals enjoy a sled ride under Brandenburger Tor (c. 19th century). Picture: Imago Images/Leemage

In this 19th century sketch, well-to-do residents and local children sledge around Brandenburger Tor. The scene is a little stylised, but’s nice to imagine taking a ride under those large columns, wrapped in a warm blanket, maybe throwing some pennies to those rowdy orphans. Ah, the past – it was brutal!

Time to get the skates out

A group of boys heading out on their skates (c. 1930).

In the winter of 1930, Berlin’s lakes and canals froze over and children everywhere took to the ice. They look happy and innocent, in their various hats. Weird to think this is almost 100 ago!

Berlin in the Cold War

Snow covering a sector of the Berlin Wall in Neukölln (1978). Photo: Imago Images/Marius Schwarz

When Berlin was divided in two, friends and families were split across different zones and there was a general sense of uncertainty for the future. But there were times when the Cold War earned its name. This photograph shows a wintery Neukölln that’s unrecognisable today.

Winter in Marzahn

A Plattenbau housing estate in Marzahn (1985). Photo: Imago/Frank Sorge

You could certainly argue that the socialist-style of architecture lends itself well to a frozen, grey landscape. This Plattenbau apartment building in Marzahn is like many others from its time – built from large, prefabricated concrete slabs, its efficient and austere design is emblematic of Socialism.

Reichstag at Dusk

Reichstag in the evening on 1 December 1985. Photo: Imago/Günter Schneider

The famous Reichstag looks almost unrecognisable surrounded by this expansive snowscape, with the setting set glowing in its windows. Notice too that it’s missing the famous dome – that was only installed in 1999.

Sledding down Teufelsberg

Children tobogganing an Teufelsberg (1998). Photo: Imago Images/Uwe Steinert

While we don’t have any real mountains in Berlin, that doesn’t stop children from heading to the hills as soon as snow starts to fall. Families rush to Volkspark Friedrichshain, Teufelsberg, or even just the small hill on the eastern end of Tempelhofer Feld to gain a few metres of altitude – toboggan or sleigh in hand.

A crisp walk along Lietzensee

Locals enjoy a stroll at Lietzensee in Charlottenburg (2003). Photo: Imago Images/Brigani Art

A gentle meander through the snow is sometimes all you need to experience the winter charm. Berlin’s parks and forests are transformed into magical wonderlands: grab a Glühwein to-go and start exploring.

Snow over the Gardens of the World

The Chinese Pavilion at the Gardens of the World. Photo: Imago/Raimund Müller

The Gardens of the World in Marzahn is a park featuring different themed gardens and pavilions. While most of the flower species of course don’t stick around through the colder months, the snow-covered Chinese pagoda is quite a sight. The Gardens also have a 120-metre high lookout deck, with views extending beyond Berlin and into Brandenburg snowy countryside.

A Grunewald cloaked in white

The S-Bahn makes its way through a snow-covered Grunewald (2009). Photo: Imago Images/Jürgen Heinrich

Grunewald forest is a classic place to go when it snows in Berlin. Just hop on the S-Bahn and the wintry experience begins – just don’t get lost!

Icy wasteland at the central station

Berlin Hauptbahnhof (January 2009). Photo: Imago/Steinach

Berlin experienced some serious snow in the winter of 2008/2009. Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof had only been open for less than three years over this picture was taken and you can see it surrounded by a thick blanket of snow.

The Landwehr Canal freezes over

Skaters on the Landwehr Canal, photo taken from the Lohmühlen Bridge on Maybachufer in Neukölln (February 2012). Photo: Imago Images/Kitty Kleist-Heinrich/Tagesspiegel

In 2012 (and again in 2021) Berliner’s enjoyed some open-air skating on the city’s frozen lakes and canals. The local fire brigade generally warns against stepping onto the ice, but most people can’t resist.