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Historical Background

From a kitchen garden to our Botanic Garden

The pleasure and kitchen garden of the Berlin palace had become too small by 1679 and so the Great Elector Friedrich decided to enlarge his herb garden in the suburbs and to create a model agricultural garden. In 1718 Friedrich Wilhelm I, who was famous for his thriftiness, gave it away to the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Around 1819 the royal herbarium developed out of the extensive botanical research done by C.L. Willdenow. In 1879 the Botanical Museum was established to house and promote research on the continuously growing collection. When the city began encroaching, moving to the outskirts of Berlin again became inevitable and was completed under the direction of A. Engler onto a state potato farm in 1910. Today with 20,000 different species of plants on 43 hectares our Botanic Garden has become one of the largest and most diverse botanical gardens in the world.

Learn more about our history (in German).