Beauty Galore in Berlin: The Channels of New Venice

Usually, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Not in Berlin’s New Venice area though. Here, the beauty is obvious to absolutely everyone.

Berlin, May 3rd, 2020, updated May 25th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — How did they do it? In New Venice, located in the eastern outskirts of Berlin, they must have brought in all the beauty in bags or boxes. O.k., they may not have St. Mark’s Basilica or the Ponte di Rialto, but it does not matter. The Canale Grande is there, at least in a way, and truckloads of other canals.

A boat for the price of a mid-sized BMW is waiting in the water. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Machine on the Move

So much quietude in Berlin? Well, yes. Laughing children can be heard in the distance, the thunderstorm that just passed says goodbye with some rumble, and once in a while an aircraft roars off to London, Madrid or Sofia from nearby BER Airport in Schönefeld.

There is a lot to see in New Venice – or ‘Neu-Venedig’. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Something is humming in the distance. After some thorough research, the surprising result is in. No, it was not an over-sized bumblebee that created this sound, but a robot lawnmower. In a perfectly trimmed garden on the side of one of the canals, a middle-aged man in a well-ironed shirt watches the machine doing its rounds.

They brought in all this beauty in bags. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Place for GDR Functionaries

Instead of just standing there, he could have operated a conventional lawnmower for half the price. But the future has arrived in this neighborhood. This is where high-ranking officials of the communist GDR, a former country in which some individuals were far more equal than most others, had their weekend houses. It is still a rather posh place and the perfect location for a nice walk on a Saturday afternoon.

If this isn’t Canale Grande, what is? Photo: Imanuel Marcus

New Venice is located in Berlin’s Rahnsdorf district. From Kreuzberg or Neukölln, it takes about 40 minutes to get there by car, or an hour by bicycle. Both the Müggelsee and the Dämeritzsee, two nice lakes, are close by. The Müggelspree, a river that connects them, is in walking distance.

All those bridges were refurbished in 1992, shortly after the reunification. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Former Knight’s Estate

Cute ducks can be watched here. They seem to be having conversations about this human with a camera who approaches them. “This guy is definitely going too far. Does he want us to be his dinner?” Yes. Well, actually no. Not after observing these adorable creatures for 10 minutes.

All properties have access to water. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

One hundred and thirty years ago, in 1890, a knight’s estate was sold to the town of Köpenick, which became part of Berlin in 1920. The area included a swamp that was supposed to be turned into something more useful. Once the canals had been built, this spot was called New Cameroon. But, hey, canals? Venice? So the area was renamed.

These ducks are discussing something at the Müggelspree. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Bargain Properties

When communism collapsed, and the GDR ceased to exist, West Germans purchased properties there. Lucky them, because some supposedly paid bargain prices. Looking at those elegant houses and boats all over the place, and at the canals and duckies, was a nice experience. New Venice can be found here (Google Maps link).

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