The square.


The Gendarmenmarkt, covering 3.3 hectares, is Berlin’s most important historical square.
 The square has existed since 1688 and got its current name in 1799 – in memory of the cuirassier regiment Gens d’Armes, who were stationed here by the “Soldier King”, Friedrich Wilhelm I. You can find the chronology and history of the square here. Below we have listed all the things that you must see while you’re visiting. 

Events.

The Gendarmenmarkt regularly hosts spectacular events. The following three events take place annually. If possible, come and visit when they’re on, it’ll be well worth it!

Classic Open Air: At the beginning of July there are five evenings of fantastic classical concerts. The square becomes a giant stadium and the steps of the concert hall are the stage. Fireworks and effects such as laser shows complete the experience. You can find information on the programme and tickets on the Classic Open Air homepage.

Christmas Market: For the whole of December, the Gendarmenmarkt is turned into a Christmas fairy-tale land, with craft stands and food tents. The “Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Magic” includes a stage programme with singers, dancers and costume shows. It’s an amazing experience for the whole family!

Opening times: daily 1100 to 2200hrs. New Year’s Eve 1900 to 0100hrs.
Entry: Mon to Fri 1100 to 1400hrs free, other times / days 1 Euro. New Year’s Eve 10 Euros.
You can find more information on the programme on the “Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Magic” homepage.

Festival of Lights: This is an arts and culture event that reaches millions. Every year in October, Berlin’s landmarks, historic sites, streets, squares, districts and the hot spots of Berlin’s recent history are lit up and become a stage for two weeks. On these evenings, the Gendarmenmarkt is a glowing beacon of colour! You can find more information on the light artists, festival sightseeing routes and special events on the “Festival of Lights” homepage.

More than 150 craft, music and food exhibitors take part in the Christmas Market. © Michael Setzpfand
The green public toilet is from 1880, but is for both men and women. © K. Poehls
This is what the local Berliners call, not a café, but one of the oldest public toilets in the city. It was built in 1880 out of cast-iron and given its name because “that’s where your coffee ends up”. It was free to use. The modern recronstruction was built in 2003, but removed again in 2020 due to the risk of collapse.

Schiller monument.

The monument is in the middle of the square in front of the concert hall steps and was erected in honour of the 100th anniversary of the writer Friedrich Schiller’s birth by the sculptor Reinhold Begas. It was officially unveiled in 1871. The writer’s statue was surrounded by four female figures who symbolise Schiller’s areas of work: poetry, tragedy, philosophy and history.

The monument has seen some eventful decades in its history; until 1936 the area around the statue was known as “Schiller Square”, until the national socialists dismantled the figures so that the Gendarmenmarkt could be used a parade square. After the Second World War, Germany was divided and the figures of the women were stored in East Berlin, but the writer’s statue stood in West Berlin in Lietzenseepark. An agreement between East and West led to the pieces of the monument being taken to East Berlin in 1986 where they were partly restored and reconstructed before being re-erected two years later.

Sculptor Reinhold Begas won the competition against 24 rivals to create the statue. © K. Poehls

GALLERY

All gallery pictures: © K. Poehls
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