Dinosaurs in the aquarium (Public Understanding of Science)

When the new Berlin Aquarium opened on 18 August 1913, it had an important task to fulfill: emphasizing that the Berlin Zoo, of which it was part, was still a force to be reckoned with among zoological gardens—both as a public attraction and a scientific institution. Rather surprisingly, none of its fish, amphibian, and reptilian denizens could be seen on the outside of the aquarium building. Instead, both the side facing the zoo and the one facing the street showed depictions of prehistoric life—in mosaics, reliefs, and sculpture. On the zoo side, a colossal statue of the dinosaur Iguanodon formed an impressive entrance piece. These images served two goals: to exploit the public’s fascination with prehistoric life and also to connect such fascination with the science of past life.

Read more at Public Understanding of Science.

Photo: Ger Dijkstra

The Lost Termini of Berlin, Part 2. Potsdamer Bahnhof: Three for the Price of One

Diplomatic hotspot, cultural hub, war-torn battleground, cold war wasteland and revived urban center, the Potsdamer Bahnhof in Berlin has seen it all. Although it generally isn’t perceived as Berlin’s most important pre-war station, in a way it was. Continue reading The Lost Termini of Berlin, Part 2. Potsdamer Bahnhof: Three for the Price of One

The Lost Termini of Berlin, Part 1. A City to Arrive in

Note: this post remains a work in progress as I work on the other chapters. Feel free to comment directly, or get in touch via e-mail if you feel it could be improved.

Many who arrive in Berlin will do so by train. Thanks to Germany’s excellent railroad infrastructure, the journey is usually comfortable and quick, and drops you off right in the centre of the German capital. Granted, Hauptbahnhof is rather cramped for the amount of traffic it receives and it’s not fully hooked up to the subway station yet (a situation which is going to change quickly), but it takes only minimal effort to get wherever you need to go – even if that destination lies outside of the city. Continue reading The Lost Termini of Berlin, Part 1. A City to Arrive in