Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.


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Gaslight is Berlin! - see also our presence on facebook

Our program of Long Night of the Museums and Open Memorial Day

Abstract expert opinion about the cultural value of Berlin gas lamps (in english).

expertise cultural value of gas lamps in Berlin, Ilja Richter

Actor Ilja Richter and members of the "action group gas lamps" introducing the expertise on Berlin gaslamps on a news conference
Foreground f.l.t.r.: Angus Folwer (Europa Nostra), Dr. Dietrich Worbs (author of the expertise), Bertold Kujath (Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.), Dr. Agnete von Specht (Denk mal an Berlin e.V.), Ilja Richter, Heike Pieper (German Foundation for Heritage Protection), Wilfried Wolff (Berlin Construction Chamber. Foto: Berliner Woche

Our next public meeting:

Wednesday, October 30th 2013 at 8:15 p.m., Restaurant "Giraffe",
Klopstockstr. 2, 10557 Berlin - near S-Bhf station Tiergarten and the Gaslamp Museum!


Gaslight is an object of cultural value

Gas Kandelaber Charlottenburg 5-arm-candelabra, Charlottenburg ©Gaslicht-Kultur

More than half of the gaslamps in the world are to be found in the streets of Berlin. Many areas of the city are completely illuminated by their golden yellow light. The Frohnau district alone is the largest consistently gas-lit area in the world. Gaslamps are silent witnesses to the eventful history of Berlin. They have survived good times and bad times unharmed. That is perhaps why they are an integral part of the city's identity. They have become an unofficial landmark of the city because they are unique in the world. There are 44,000 gaslamps left today. Real Berliners call them "their" gaslamps because their personal memories are often attached to them. Our section entitled Gaslamps describes the various different types of gaslamps to be found in the streets of Berlin.


Experience the unique flair of Berlin gaslamps

Gas Hängeleuchte Grunewald Hanging lamp, Grunewald ©Gaslicht-Kultur

A large newspaper once put it this way: "Gaslamps are Berlin's glittering treasures of the night!" Anyone who has ever consciously experienced a street lit completely by gaslamps knows just what is meant by that. The quality of the light cannot be matched by electric lamps and it gives gas-lit streets that certain something. Gaslight is completely natural, has a relaxing effect und creates a unique atmosphere. You can feel that atmosphere when strolling through the streets at night, taking a break in one of the many street cafés or living with gaslamps at your own front door. Why not come and immerse yourself in the world of this unique lighting? Chamissoplatz in Kreuzberg, Sophie-Charlotten-Straße in Charlottenburg or side streets of Kurfürstendamm: no matter where it is, you will always feel good and at ease! You can also experience this lighting culture which is so typical for Berlin by taking part in one of our guided gaslight tours. We offer a bus tour and a bicycle tour. For more details on these tours, please go to the section entitled Sightseeing


Berlins gas streetlighting is to be abolished

Gas U7 Aufsatzleuchte Kreuzberg Pole top lamp, Kreuzberg ©Gaslicht-Kultur

The dismantling of Berlin's unique streetlighting - the largest system of its kind in the world - started in Fischerhüttenstraße in Berlin in the summer of 2008. 8,400 gaslamps of a certain type are to be replaced by electric lighting by 2014. For further details, please go to the section entitled News. After that, the Berlin Senate plans to remove all of the other gaslamps from the cityscape. In the past, all parts of the political spectrum were in agreement that Berlin's gas streetlighting was to be preserved. In the early nineties, the Berlin parliament, assisted by Gaslicht-Kultur (former Gaslichtinitiative Berlin), passed an act guaranteeing the preservation of all gaslamps. However, since the maintenance of Berlin's streetlighting passed into private hands, the investors are calling for gas lighting to be completely replaced by electric lighting. They do not care about the appearance of the city or about cultural or historical matters - all they want to do is make the highest possible profit from Berlin's streetlighting. Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. lobbies on a political and social level to prevent this disastrous destruction of Berlin's nocturnal cityscape.


What are our aims ?

Schinkel Wandarm Spandau Wall fixture, ©Gaslicht-Kultur

There is no doubt whatsoever that Berlin's gas lighting is unique in the world and worthy of protection. However, laws for conserving landmarks of historical importance usually only apply to buildings and to large-scale ensembles of streetlamps. Also, the laws only protect the individual forms of the lamps but not the technology itself that creates the light. A gaslamp and an electric lamp with the cold light it emits are seen as equivalent by the law as long as their form is identical. We want gaslamps with their unmistakable light to be designated as a part of our cultural and historical heritage. Berlin's gas streetlighting must not be seen in terms of costs and expenses alone. This would not do justice to its true value. We are working to bring lighting planners and those with political responsibility in Berlin to come round to our way of thinking about gaslamps. However, we can only succeed if we have a broad social and political consensus. If you want to support us in any way, have stimulating ideas or criticism or just want to have some further information on this subject, please go to the contact section.


Gaslight is widely superior to electrical light

Elektroleuchte Traditional lamp after conversion to electricity ©Gaslicht-Kultur

You You may well be wondering what a picture of a poorly maintained lamp is doing on our homepage - especially since it is an electric streetlamp. Unfortunately, shabby electric lamps are not uncommon because they degenerate a lot faster than gaslamps do. For example, this picture shows how dirty they can become as a result of dead insects. Thousands of them are lured towards electric lamps every night, where they are burned. Electric lamps are real insect killers, and this in turn is a serious threat to animals like birds, which feed on insects. In contrast, the light emitted by gaslamps contains no ultraviolet light, so insects do not perceive it. Also, the reproduction of colours by gaslight is unmatched. The electric sodium vapour lamp you see here reproduces only about 65 percent of the original colours, whereas gaslight reproduces 100 percent of them! In other words, gaslamps reproduce colours as authentically as natural daylight does. For some more arguments in favour of gaslight, please go to our section entitled facts and figures.