What is there to discover surrounding Freie Universität’s Dahlem campus? Anything from a museum of bees to an original plane deployed during the Berlin airlift.
You’ll probably find yourself getting off the train at the Dahlem Dorf subway station pretty often, and this station is rather unique in and of itself. From outside, it looks like an old half-timbered farmhouse with a thatched roof. Although the expression “form follows function” doesn’t apply here, the station has its own distinct charm.
Across from the station is the Domäne Dahlem, which claims to be Germany’s only farm with a subway connection! Located on a former estate, Domäne Dahlem is now a museum which documents the history of agriculture and nourishment, and includes an organic farm.
Guests in the museum can visit the smithy or other workshops where various historical handicrafts are done. There are also exhibits (in the attached museum of bees, for example), a topical library, and a photography archive. You can buy organic products in the shop or at one of the markets that are held regularly.
Not far from the Domäne is St. Ann’s Church, which dates back to the 14th century. Murals portraying the legend of Saint Ann decorate the chapel interior, but the church’s fame comes from somewhere else. During the Nazi era, the minister Martin Niemöller preached against the national socialists’ racial policies and was forced to spend several years in concentration camps.
In the church graveyard lies the grave of Rudi Dutschke, a well-known ringleader of the German student movements in 1968.
If you’re already a little worn out from your sightseeing and need a short coffee break, head over to one of the cafe-restaurants or beer gardens just down the road from the subway station. There are also several shops and a small supermarket.
The Museum of European Cultures is located in the southwestern district Berlin-Dahlem near Freie Universität. The complex is also used a depot for the Berlin State Museums.
Dahlem hasn’t forgotten about all those film junkies out there: Capitol Dahlem was once an old villa, but is now a movie theater right next to the Rostlaube.
A little further from campus, almost in Grunewald Forest, is the Brücke Museum, dedicated to the expressionist art group “Die Brücke.” The bungalow-style building displays works from Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmitt-Rottluff, whose works were branded “degenerate” by the Nazis.
A short stroll through the forest will take you to the romantic Grunewald Hunting Lodge. This is a good starting point for hikes around Grunewald Lake or a refreshing swim. Be careful, though. Lots of people walk around this area with their barking quadrupeds because of the official doggy-bath area. There are even more lakes south of campus, such as Schlachtensee (50 meters from S-Bahn station Schlachtensee) or Krumme Lanke (at the subway station of the same name).
Up until a few short years ago, the American armed forces in Berlin were based just a stone’s throw away from campus. The street Clayallee brings to mind General Lucius D. Clay, the “father of the Berlin airlift.” Of course, there aren’t any soldiers hanging around anymore, but the U.S. Citizen Services of the United States Embassy and the Allied Museum in the former Outpost Cinema are still there.