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Accessibility in Berlin : monument protection: No access for all?

On a cold, Sunny day in Winter Christian Grothaus sitting at the Big star, and looks to the victory column. Between him and the landmark of a hundred meters. But this distance for him to overcome. In order to let the beautiful view over the Tiergarten to wander, climb a year high-an estimated 300,000 visitors to the 285 steps to the Golden Victoria statue.

However, Grothaus is denied this pleasure, as the Goldelse is not accessible. To reach you is via stairs and tunnel passages, which lead under the roundabout through it. "That's why I avoid monuments. Which are usually difficult to achieve,“ says Grothaus. The 35-Year-old is already sitting all his life in a wheelchair. "Of course it is unpopular," he says, "but at the victory column is supposed to be an Elevator so that disabled people come up. That would be true inclusion.“

An Elevator at the victory column?

you Can imagine, a lift to the victory column? Whether conceivable or not, such a reconstruction of the monument protection stands in the way of in any case. And thus the landmark is also a symbol of an extremely hard-to-solve conflict. The monument is dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings. To him, the right of all, in these buildings, part of it is in the interests of equality.

For Grothaus goes on in Berlin in terms of accessibility quite a lot. "Most of the metro and S-train stations are wheelchair accessible, and here in the middle of the streets are berollen. Only in the case of monuments, still a lot needs to happen. As the accessibility should weigh more.“

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order is the first law of its kind in Germany 1999 Berlin's monument protection law, that the concerns of people with disabilities by the authorities "and" made it clear. However, it is only when the buildings are subjected to significant changes. Especially modernizations are meant to be.

looks Like a consideration of the accessibility in the Individual, remains with the competent authority. Concerned associations or even the state Commissioner for persons with disabilities are consulted, but have no legal ability to their concern to enforce. A right of Action of associations for the Disabled, such as in the case of new buildings, does not exist for monuments.

Hard-to-resolve conflict

And the interests of the stakeholders are taken into account sufficiently? "From my point of view," says Dominik Peter. The Chairman of the Berlin disabled Association, also sits in a wheelchair and barrier is the issue of freedom emotionally. "The monument protection authorities take care especially the preservation of the building, not the use."

A compromise is often the only barrier-free access through the back door or the side entrance, but not where all the others came in. "People with disabilities are separated. This has to do with inclusion nothing to the ideas from the last century,“ he says.

the reproach of Separation, Ruth Klawun from the Berlin Landesdenkmalamt (LDA) is not justified. "We are actively committed to accessibility and are looking for monument to sustainable, creative solutions," she says.

"monuments are unique, and in its historical authenticity is not reproducible." For this reason, should always be checked, what is the impact of a structural measure on the monument. "There is a right of coming generations to the authentic preservation of the cultural heritage."

However, in the light of demographic change, the need for accessibility is growing. More and more people are getting older and are restricted in their mobility. A flight of stairs, which means for many people to access, for others, exclusion.

monuments due to their historic relevance of a particular importance. The need for creative solutions is therefore very high. And, if you look closely, you will recognize many of the good approaches to accessibility.

Creative solutions

So, for example, in the food magazine, a building of the citadel of Spandau. Here, visitors can Unveiled in the exhibition." Berlin and its monuments“ real statues and busts will discover that once would have characterised the cityscape of Berlin – and fully accessible.

The walk-in construction is not only equipped with automatic doors, it also has mobile media stations, to which a wheelchair user especially well. It is also for the visually Impaired – thanks to betastbarer overview of plans, special audio guides and a specially trained staff – a great experience. In addition, almost all the exhibits can be touched.

"We have so far experienced a good cooperation with the monument protection authority. Also in the case of accessibility, a lot of it was made possible“, says the head of the Museum of the citadel, Urte Evert. For you, it is important that both sides, Affected and authorities, to represent their interests intensively. "The only way you can really find a good compromise.

And yet, as a sample of the reactions in the food magazine also like: The barrier-free exhibition is one that is only accessible over barriers. The entire pedestrian area of the citadel consists of clumsy cobbles.

What can be for pedestrians in the rain and the smoothness of the Problem, is not endure for wheelchair users. "This is a huge problem, this is humiliating and also painful," says Museum Director Evert. She wants also here is a barrier-free solution. But financially it still. "We very much hope that the district will promptly accept our citadel."

For Christian Grothaus is the Problem the lack of awareness. "Policy makers should sit down for a couple of days in the wheelchair or the blind pair of glasses to raise. Then you would decide certainly different,“ he says, while he rolls Under the Linden at Humboldt University in the past.

In close proximity to many of the monument are protected buildings. Some of them are not accessible, other. The awareness of the relevance of accessibility is not yet arrived anywhere. In the end, only one question: "for him, in any case, the building is more important or the man who wants to be in the building?"


The Pietà by Käthe Kollwitz, to the New guard in the middle (Under the Linden 4), to facilitate for the past two years, several stone ramps access for wheelchair users. By the installation of the entrance area had to be expanded, which means for all the visitors more space.

In the newly renovated Opera were extra lifts in the historic floor recessed to be able to short steps to overcome. In addition to electric doors, lifts and disabled toilets are also wheelchair spaces and hard-of-hearing and equipment at each place, which can be connected to the hearing aid.

The Holocaust memorial between the stelae of two of the straightened paths for wheelchair users and a lift to the Museum.

In the Olympic stadium are all levels wheelchair accessible and there are wheelchair spaces.

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Public transport in Berlin U - and S-train stations, to 2020, fully accessible

Jörn Hasselmann

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