chapter  12
18 Pages

Entrepreneurial heritage-making in post-Wall Berlin

The case of New Potsdamer Platz
WithSybille Frank

This chapter looks at the rapid transformation of Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz from a no man’s land situated at the Berlin Wall into a new centre of the reunified city. While the piecemeal sale of Potsdamer Platz to international enterprises such as DaimlerChrysler and the Sony Corporation provoked controversial discussions in the early 1990s, the fact that several monuments and other relics from the conflict-laden history of Potsdamer Platz were part of the sales has hardly garnered any attention. This chapter investigates the public and private players involved in the politics of urban development and heritage-making at New Potsdamer Platz. It traces how discourses and material symbols were combined to support the transformation of selected aspects of the past into heritage while obliterating other remnants. The chapter ends with an imaginary walk across New Potsdamer Platz to show how heritage is mediated by built form and to demonstrate that it is indeed the present that is commemorated there.