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Yorckbrücken (1875–1940)

Under the Open Sky Big City Life

In 1877, the population of Berlin surpassed one million. By the early 1910s, more than two million people lived in the capital of the German empire. The associated rapid increase in the volume of passenger traffic and the growing demand for freight transport had already necessitated a massive expansion of the railway network in the middle of the nineteenth century – with enormous consequences for urban development. This is particularly evident on Yorckstraße, which connects Schöneberg and Kreuzberg.

Numerous rail bridges were built here in an attempt to resolve the traffic chaos; they still span the street today. Until the 1880s, this was the meeting point for road and rail traffic leaving the city from the nearby Anhalter freight station or heading south from the Potsdamer Bahnhof railway terminus. After the nationalisation of the railway companies, the track level was raised, with the railway lines moved to the bridges so that road traffic could pass underneath. By the 1930s there had been 45 bridges built in this way, including one on the Wannsee railway line (now the S1 line), which can be seen in Heckel’s etching from 1912. The high number of bridges with densely packed rows of tall houses in between may have made an impression on the artist, who had only been living in Berlin for a year at the time.

Valentina Bay

Explore Berlin through the Eyes of the Brücke Artists
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