№ 211/2009 from Aug 06, 2009
After three years of extensive construction work, the complete renovation of the main tropical greenhouse of the Botanic Garden Berlin-Dahlem of Freie Universität Berlin is nearly concluded. During the coming weeks, the completely modernized technical facilities will be put into operation. The building is over 100 years old and protected as a historic monument. It is expected to reduce its energy use by 50%. This contribution to easing the environ- mental burden was one of the main objectives of the renovation. Most of the over 1,350 tropical plant species – altogether there are more than 4,000 plants – have been returned to the majestic dome of glass and steel, so that now one of the final steps can be undertaken – the installation of the newly developed guidance and information system for visitors.
The reopening of the main tropical conservatory that, in spite of its age, is still one of the largest single-structure tropical conservatories in the world, will be marked with five days of celebrations. On September 16, 2009, the majestic dome will be reopened in a special ceremony with Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and the Director of the Directorate General for Regional Policy of the European Union, Dr. Dirk Ahner (tbc). The state of Berlin will be represented by Ingeborg Junge-Reyer in her function as mayor. The host of the event, Prof. Dr. Thomas Borsch, Director of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem, will greet 500 invited guests.
Beginning September 17, the tropical conservatory will again be open to the public. On September 17 and 18, visitors may attend interesting popular science lectures (in German) on topics such as "Tropical Research at Freie Universität Berlin" or "Botany and Architecture." The lectures will be accompanied by tours through the tropical conservatory.
The highlight and conclusion of the celebrations will be a huge party on September 19 and 20. Many thousands of visitors are expected to attend. For a symbolic entrance fee of 1 euro, there will be a comprehensive program of information and entertainment for the whole family. The program will include numerous information stands, tours of the conservatory in its new radiance, an extensive photo exhibition on the renovation, musical performances, a children's program, and culinary specialties with a tropical flair.
Program details can be found online on the pages of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem regarding the renovation of the main tropical conservatory (www.botanischer-garten-berlin.de/tropenhaussanierung).
The renovation of the tropical conservatory was partially funded by the Environmental Relief Program (UEP) that is co-financed by the European Union through the Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the state of Berlin (Senate Department for Health, Environment, and Consumer Protection). Additional funds came from the German federal and state University Building Support Fund (HBFG), from the German Lottery Foundation Berlin, and from Freie Universität Berlin.