This canal is called the Neukölln Ship Canal (Neuköllner Schiffahrtskanal). As the name implies, it runs through Neukölln, which is one of the twelve boroughs or districts of Berlin. From the end of the Second World War in 1945 until German reunification in 1990, Neukölln was part of the American sector of West Berlin.

My first contact with Neukölln was a number of years ago when some colleagues and I went to the Neukölln Adult Education Center (Volkshochschule) to meet up with their IT department, since they were using a database application that we were preparing to introduce in Frankfurt. We were there for several days and learned a lot about the software, but we didn’t see much of Neukölln since we were staying at a hotel in a different part of the city.

Neukölln courthouse and city hall

One of my sons lived in Neukölln from 2009 to 2019, and he says the district is changing rapidly. It was known in past decades mainly as a ‘problem’ area, with poverty, unemployment and a large percentage of immigrants and ‘people with a migrant background’, as the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants are known in Germany.

But now Neukölln (at least its northern end) is becoming a popular neighborhood for students and people in creative professions, in other words gentrification is setting in. New bars, cafés and boutiques seem to open every week, and the pre-existing pizza and döner shops are upgrading to appeal to the new clientele.

One reason for this change is no doubt the closing of the nearby Tempelhof Airport. Now that there is no more noise and pollution from the airplanes, people have started to realize that Neukölln is a quite attractive district after all.

Café Zimt + Mehl

This “Cinnamon and Flour Café” is a popular meeting place in Neukölln, especially in the summer months when they have a terrace with 150 places overlooking the Neukölln Ship Canal. It is possible to reserve a table on the terrace for up to fifteen people.

After placing your order at the counter (which might well involve some waiting in line at noon or on weekends), you are given a wireless buzzer which you take to your table. When your order is ready, your buzzer will buzz and you can go back to the counter to pick up your food.

In the café

Breakfast is served all day (always a good sign!) and they have a breakfast menu with ten different options. After looking around at what people were eating, I chose the so-called “Mini-Breakfast” which was huge and cost all of € 4.60 — about half of what a similar breakfast would have cost in a café in Frankfurt.

We had breakfast there twice during my stay, and were very satisfied both times, not only with the food but also with the friendly atmosphere.

Wildenbruchplatz in Neukölln

Wildenbruchplatz, across from the café, has in recent years been developed into an attractive park. In former times, it was more like an untended vacant lot, full of weeds and rubble.

My photos in this post are from 2016. I revised the text in 2020.

See more posts on Berlin, Germany.

3 thoughts on “Neukölln”

  1. Dear Don, Nice post! The Zimt & Mehl Café is still one of our favourites in Neukölln despite lots of competition popping up due to gentrification. Thanks for featuring sunny Wildenbruchplatz, too! Love, Yannik & Alina

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