Action to save Berlin's gas lamps

World Monuments Fund, New York: Watch Day for Berlin Gas Street Lighting

New Light and Historic Lights/Lamps -

Is the Berlin Gas Streetlighting too expensive to be World Heritage?

Short talks and panel discussion

Rathaus Charlottenburg, Festive Hall, Monday, 18 May 2015, 19 – 22.00 pm

Otto-Suhr-Allee 100, 10585 Berlin (U7 and Bus M45 Richard-Wagner-Platz)

Berlin possesses a unique cultural historical treasure: Its gas street lights standing in their districts and in their ensembles. Half of the World's surviving gas street lamps still survive in Berlin. Gas street light is an integral part of Berlin's identity, the lamps are mute witnesses to the vicissitudes of Berlin's history. Experts have testified the potential of Berlin's gas street lighting as World Heritage. However it is acutely threatened. The Senate of Berlin has decided to eliminate it almost completely. For this reason World Monuments Fund (New York) placed Berlin's gas street light and gas lamps on its 2014 list World Monument Watch as one of the most threatened sites in the World.

Do an increase of efficiency and considerations of use and advantage as in the economy generally now only count when dealing with this heritage? Or should all that helps preserve cultural diversity in a globalized world be protected from a complete commercial grasp?


19.00 pm

Greeting by Dr. Agnes von Specht - Denk mal an Berlin e.V.

Konstanze von zur Mühlen - WMF Programme Consultant

The world wide engagement of the World Monuments Fund/World Monuments Watch for endangered sites: The Berlin Watch Day

Bertold Kujath – Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.

Gaslight is Berlin – An Introduction

Prof. Dr. Marino Manin – Croatian Institute of History, Zagreb

Elsewhere other solutions are possible – the preservation of Gas Street Lamps in Zagreb

Winfried Wolff - Chamber of Building Berlin, Preservation and Conservation Committee

Gaslighting as part of Berlin's industrial and technical history



May 15, 2015

(In English and German)




ON MAY 18, 2015


The Gaslight and Gas Lamps of Berlin, included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch, will celebrate their Watch Day on Monday, May 18, 2015, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 Rathaus Charlottenburg in Berlin, and will include lectures, a panel discussion, and a guided tour of the gaslights by bus. This series of celebratory and educational events are supported by World Monuments Fund (WMF). 


Speakers include representatives of the organizing groups, Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. and Denk mal an Berlin e.V; Prof. Dr. Marino Manin from the Croatian Institute of History in Zagreb, a city that protects and maintains 224 gaslights in its old historic center, lit every night by hand; Dr. Peter Burman, Arts & Heritage Consultant, Scotland, United Kingdom, author of the Expert Report on the Heritage Significance of Berlin's Gas Lamps & Lanterns as and for World Heritage; and a representative from World Monuments Fund; and more. For more information on the event, visit: or


Watch Days provide an opportunity for local communities to engage with extraordinary cultural heritage sites, with the goal of deepening appreciation for these important places. Events are supported wholly or in part by WMF.


WMF President Bonnie Burnham stated: "Watch Day is an opportunity for communities around the world to engage with sites on the World Monuments Watch in their midst. We are happy to be able to support the activities undertaken at these events and hope they foster a greater appreciation for these important places."


The Watch Day for Berlin's Gas Street Lighting has a very urgent actuality, not only for Berlin but for the whole of Germany. After the conclusion of current budget discussions in the City Parliament, gas light on the streets and squares of the capital will be snuffed completely out of existence as planned. Half of the world-wide surviving gas street lamps, over 36,000 (44,000 in 2012), still survive in Berlin. Berlin still possesses this unique cultural-historical treasure: the gas lights standing in their districts, which are an integral part of Berlin's identity and are mute witnesses to the many vicissitudes of Berlin history over the last 190 years.


In his address for Open Heritage Day in September 2014, Joachim Gauck, Federal President of Germany, stated: "This year the motto is "Colour." Indeed the colours of the night and their illumination also belong to the colour character of our world. In particular I think of the efforts for the preservation of historic gas lamps in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Dresden, and Düsseldorf"


Visit the WMF website for more information on the Gaslight and Gas Lamps of Berlin:


World Monuments Watch

The World Monuments Watch is a biennial initiative that was launched in 1996 with support from founding sponsor American Express to call international attention to cultural heritage around the globe threatened by the forces of nature or the impact of social, political, and economic change. For many historic sites, inclusion on the Watch provides an opportunity to raise public awareness, foster local participation in preservation, leverage resources for conservation, advance innovation and collaboration, and demonstrate effective solutions. Since its inception, the Watch has provided support for more than 600 sites, and has become a powerful vehicle for understanding and addressing the range of challenges confronting the field of heritage conservation today.

Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. awarded the Berolina prize

photo: Gaslicht Kultur e.V.

The association Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. was honoured yesterday for its successful work for the conservation of Berlin's gas street lighting. Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. received the highest possible distinction, the 18cm tall bronze Berolina. The vote of the jury comprising well-known figures of public life was unanimous.

The association 's chairman, Bertold Kujath, accepted the award in the name of all its members.

photo: Bertold Kujath

Moreover, Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. accepts this award in the name of all the other organisations, which have joined forces with them to fight for Berlin's gas street lighting: Denk mal an Berlin e.V., DenkmalWacht Brandenburg-Berlin e.V., Berliner Ortskuratorium der Deutschen Stiftung Denkmalschutz and the Denkmalausschuss der Baukammer Berlin.

Read the full press release of Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.

General press release of the Förderverein zur Wiederherstellung und Pflege der Berolina e.V.

'Gaslicht ist Berlin' visits Berlin's district mayors

In the past months, the action group Gaslicht ist Berlin has called on Berlin's district mayors. The visiting party included Dr. Dietrich Worbs, author of the expertise on the heritage significance of Berlin's gas lamps, Berthold Kujath, chairman of the association Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. and Dr. Agnete von Specht, chairwoman of the association Denkmal an Berlin e.V. These representatives presented the district mayors with the two expert reports on the heritage significance of Berlin's gas lamps written by Dr. Worbs and Dr. Burman. Moreover, the visitors informed the district mayors that the heritage significance of Berlin's gas lamps is now internationally recognised.

Gleaming treasures in Luisenstadt: a gaslight excursion

Aus dem Veranstaltungsprogramm des Bürgervereins Luisenstadt

From the event programme of Luisenstadt's civic association.

Urgent application for an injunction for the preservation of historic gas street lamps rejected

The Administrative Court has rejected an urgent application for an injunction for the preservation of historic gas lamps in Berlin. A Dahlem resident filed the application to stop the conversion of local gas lamps to electricity and LEDs. 'There is no obligation for the preservation of the current street lighting', a spokesperson of the court said. 'This cannot be claimed under heritage conservation law or highway law'.

You can find the article here

Citizen's initiative wants to stop demolition by court action

The citizen's initiative Bürger für Berlin's Straßenlaternen (Citizens for Berlin's Street Lamps) from the district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf has filed an application for an injunction with the Administrative Court. They seek the immediate halt of the dismantling and a thorough assessment of the street lighting plan's cost effectiveness. The initiative's spokesperson Hellmut von Laer (66): 'Senator Müller, finally stop damaging Berlin. The gaslights are part of our life.'

The initiative insists that all gas street lamps in Berlin should be put under a preservation order. This aim is supported by renowned organisations such as World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz.

This article was published by the newspaper Bild on 17 March 2014. Read the complete article here

Demonstration for preservation of gas street lamps

photo: Bertold Kujath

Demolition of gas street lamps in the area Dahlem area is about to begin. The first gas lamps to be dismantled are part of the gas lamp ensemble in the Thielallee area. A demonstration in protest took place on Monday, 3 March.

Petitioning the District Councils of Treptow-Köpenick

Treptow-Köpenick's advisory council for monument preservation has filed a motion with the district council.

The advisory council recommends the district office to advocate the following cause with the Berlin State Monument Authority: the declaration of historic gas street lamps as monuments and their placing under a preservation order.

Statement of grounds:

Historic gas street lighting is a key element of the atmosphere of Old-Berlin. Moreover, this gas street lighting is unique world-wide.

Berlin's historic gas street lamps are of historic, artistic, scientific, architectural and urbanistic importance.

Moreover, the concentration and diversity of gas lamp types is unique worldwide.

The conservation organisation World Monuments Watch placed Berlin's gas street lamps on its list of heritage sites at risk. In order to preserve this cultural heritage Berlin's gas street lamps should be declared a monument and put under a preservation order.

On 22 February 2014, the council committee for Urban Development (taking advice from the committees for Economic Development and Tourism) unanimously recommended the council to carry the motion.

Petitioning the Steglitz-Zehlendorf Borough Council

By November 2013 the necessary 1000 signatures had been collected. The petition was filed on 11 December 2013 by Dr. h.c. Eckart Hien, former President of Germany's Federal Administrative Court. His spoken commentary can be found here.

On 19 February 2014, the district council voted to carry the motion.

Petitioning the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf District Council

After we filed the resident's petition at the end of last year, the council has voted on the preservation of the gas street lights. Result: The district office will advocate the following cause with the state office of monument conservation: those gas lamps remaining after the current conversion will be evaluated for their heritage significance.

View the result

'Gaslaternen vor dem Aus' awarded 'Deutsche Preis für Denkmalschutz'

Bild: Jürgen Gressel-Hichert

photo: Jürgen Gressel-Hichert

Mr. Jürgen Gressel-Hichert has been awarded the 2013 Journalists' Award of the 'Deutsche Preis für Denkmalschutz' (German National Prize for Heritage Conservation) for his documentary Gaslaternen vor dem Aus (approx. 'Gaslight's Final Hour'). Broadcast by rbb Kulturradio, the documentary is soundly researched as well as entertainingly and engagingly written.

The Deutsche Preis für Denkmalschutz is considered the highest honour in the field of heritage preservation in Germany. The award of the prize in the category for journalists honours exemplary reporting on cultural heritage conservation. Moreover, the award in this category seeks to encourage future involvement in spreading the idea of monument preservation.

World Monument Fund places Berlin gas street lighting on World Monuments Watch List of Heritage Sites at Risk

World Monuments Fund: Plakat zu den Berliner Gaslicht

photo: World Monuments Fund

For the first time, the New York World Monuments Fund accepted an application for its World Monument Watch list from a citizen's initiative, Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. The independent organisation declared Berlin's gas street lighting a heritage site at risk. Among 67 monuments from around the world, Berlin's gaslights are the only German site on the present list.

Following this nomination the following societies gave a press conference on 11 October 2013: Denk mal and Berlin e.V., Gaslicht ist Kultur e.V., Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz, DenkmalWacht Brandenburg-Berlin and the Berliner Bürgerverein Gartenstadt Frohnau e.V.

Read the press statement

Presentation of the expertise on the heritage significance of Berlin's gas street lighting

Tagung zum Thema Gaslicht mit Diskussion. V.l.n.r.: Heike Pieper (stehend), Bertold Kujath, Dr. Peter Burman, Prof. Dr. Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper, Christian Mey, Prof. Dr. Kerstin Wittmann-Englert, Winfried Wolff

photo: Paul Harrison

On 11 June 2013, a public presentation and panel discussion took place (in Charlottenburg's Town Hall) on the topic 'Berlin's gaslight- a monument of European significance?'. The event was hosted by the Kuratorium der Deutschen Stiftung Denkmalschutz, Denkmal an Berlin e.V. and Gaslichtkultur e.V.           Before the presentation, the participants took a walk around the gas lamps surrounding the Charlottenburg District Court House.

Finalists chosen for '7 Most Endangered': Cultural heritage value of Berlin gas street lighting internationally recognised

image: Europa Nostra

The European monument conservation alliance, Europa Nostra, has selected the finalists of its competition '7 Most Endangered' cultural heritage sites. Berlin's gas street lamps was the only German nomination in the final round.

Read the press statement

Panel discussion at Hotel Kronprinz

Podiumsdiskussion zumThema Gaslaternenabbau im Hotel Kronprinz

photo: Christian Mey

On 22 May 2013 a public discussion on the subject of the demolition of gas street lamps in Berlin took place at Hotel Kronprinz. The panel included Christian Goy, Bertold Kurjath, Dr. Michael Garmer, and Nikolaus Bernau (from right to left).

Presentation of the expertise on the heritage significance of Berlin's gas street lighting

Vertreter der Presse, von Denk mal an Berlin e. V., Gaslicht-Kultur e. V. und Ilja Richter bei der Vorstellung des Gutachtens zum Denkmalwert der Berliner Gaslaternen

photo: Paul Harrison

On 20 March 2013 members of the press, Denk mal an Berlin e.V., Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. and Ilja Richter convened to present the expertise on the heritage significance of Berlin's gas street lighting by the architect and architectural historian Dr.-Ing habil Dietrich Worbs.

Read a summary of the expertise

For more information on the press conference see the press statement



photo: Bertold Kujath

Berlin, 9 March 2013- The first three house associations (association of residents living in a shared building containing separate flats) adopt gas street lamps in Berlin. The cost for the fuel and maintenance of a gas lamp amounts to approx. 250€ per year. The house associations transferred this amount to the City of Berlin. However, the money was rejected. The city administration argued that it could not be forced into a legal contract of adoption. The City of Berlin also refused to accept the money as donations for the conservation of Berlin's gas lamps.

Collection of Petition Signatures and subsequent official hand over

Unterschriftensammlung der Petition vonApril bis September 2012

photo: Bertold Kujath

From April to September 2012 citizens were able to sign a petition against the imminent dismantling of gas street lamps. This petition asked Berlin's Senate for a moratorium on the dismantling.

In the meantime, the action group Gaslicht ist Berlin sought to create a 'master plan' working together with experts in the areas of culture, gaslight technology, industrial history, and monument conservation.

Offizielle Übergabe der Petitionsunterschriften am 16.01.2013

photo: Paul Harrison

This master plan was to develop scenarios how gas street lamps of all types can be preserved, at least in selected areas. Subsequently, the master plan was to replace the Senate's current plan for Berlin's gas street lamps.

On 16 January 2013, we handed the petition for the preservation of Berlin's gas lamps, signed by 20,759 citizens, to Secretary of State Dr. Meng on behalf of Berlin's Mayor.



Human chain

Menschenkette um das Amtsgericht Charlottenburg mit Klaus-Dieter Gröhler, zur Rettung der Gaslaternen

photo: Bertold Kujath

On Saturday, 17 November 2012 a rally for the preservation of gas street lamps took place in front of the Charlottenburg District Court House. Subsequently, the approx. 500 participants created a human chain around the court house.


Charity event for the preservation of Berlin's gaslight

Benefizveranstaltung zur Erhaltung der Gasbeleuchtung: Protestabend von und mit Ilja Richter gegen den Gaslaternenabriss zugunsten von Denk mal an Berlin e. V. und Gaslich-Kultur e. V.

photo: Bertold Kujath

On 20 October 2012, a 'charity & protest' event initiated by Ilja Richter took place in the theatre Komödie am Kurfürstendamm. The proceeds were donated to save Berlin's gaslights.


Press statement:

High quality entertainment against poor gaslight policy

Gaslight is expensive. However, the Berlin Senate's light policy is cheap. Too bad that the Berlin State Monument Authority (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin) had such a complex workload they forgot to preserve the historic gaslights!


Resident petition for the preservation of Berlin's gas street lighting

On 25 October 2012 the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district council confirmed the resident petition for the preservation of Berlin's gaslights in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district.

See the resolution

Europa Nostra appeals to Berlin's Mayor

Friday, 17 February 2012

"Dear Mr. Mayor,

the NGO Denk mal an Berlin e.V. and the citizens' initiative Gaslicht Kultur e.V. have informed us of the planned elimination of Berlin's gas street lighting."


Powerd by e-pixler