Anhalter Station Revisited

TU Darmstadt and Deutsches Technikmuseum bring Berlin architectural icon to life virtually


In a joint project, the Department of Digital Design at TU Darmstadt and the German Museum of Technology have developed an immersive 360-degree tour of the historic Anhalter Bahnhof – a Berlin icon. The project is part of the “dive in. Program for Digital Interactions” of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in the NEUSTART KULTUR program.

Virtual reconstruction of the Anhalter Bahnhof in Berlin.

Anhalter Bahnhof is a symbol of the metropolis of Berlin, of economic and technical progress, but also of flight into exile and deportation from one's homeland. The 360-degree project “Anhalter Bahnhof Revisited” by the TU Darmstadt and the German Museum of Technology in Berlin brings the now almost vanished site to new life. The application invites users to rediscover the architecture of the historic station building and the stories associated with it in a virtual reconstruction.

Formerly the largest train station on the continent

Today, very little of Anhalter Bahnhof and its tracks can be found in the city. What is known above all is the portico, the large entrance portal, of Anhalter Bahnhof, which has been preserved to this day, as well as the S-Bahn station. When it was inaugurated in 1880, Anhalter was the largest train station in continental Europe and an internationally acclaimed sensation. As Berlin's gateway to the south, connections led from the Anhalter to Munich, Budapest, Vienna and even across the Alps to Rome and Naples. The Anhalter was the starting point for vacation and business trips, but also for escaping into exile from persecution by the National Socialists as well as for the deportation from their homeland of well over 9,000 Jewish people to concentration camps. Destroyed in the Second World War, shut down in 1952 and demolished in 1959, Anhalter Bahnhof still marks an important place in Berlin's urban memory. With the planned new construction of the Exilmuseum around the Portikus on Askanischer Platz, it will receive new attention in the future.

Detailed reconstruction

The detailed reconstruction can be accessed via the website It shows the magnificent architecture of the station: from the ornate terracottas on the façade to the glittering chandeliers in the vestibule and the entrance to the Excelsior Tunnel, once the longest hotel tunnel in the world. The trains and steam locomotives, track landscapes and signals that so characterize the station have also been faithfully recreated. Users can select various locations within the station and explore the historic building independently.

Historical personalities and their stories of the “Anhalter

Anhalter Bahnhof was a mobility hub and the gateway to modern Berlin. All classes of society met here, from princes to baggage porters. In artfully designed story panoramas, historical personalities such as Erich Kästner, Gabriele Tergit and Josef Tal await the users to tell them their very own stories of the ”Anhalter“. The station's architect Franz Schwechten and stationmaster Berthold Bäckmann are also part of ”Anhalter Bahnhof Revisited“. Users can be inspired by the architecture, the atmosphere and the stories and immerse themselves in the hustle and bustle of Anhalter Bahnhof.

Anhalter Bahnhof as a living museum

Steles at Anhalter Bahnhof allow direct access via QR code to the 360-degree panoramas and the various locations in the historic station. Where today there is a soccer field and the Tempodrom, ”Anhalter Bahnhof Revisited" opens a gateway to a bygone era when Berlin looked very different. The station becomes a living museum, full of stories, photos, videos and historical documents. The direct comparison between modern Berlin and the historic train station makes processes of change in the urban space clear and fascinating.

The users experience the change in mobility at first hand. The once great importance of the railroad, which can be seen in the architecture of magnificent station buildings, is the focus here. The link to the present is obvious: rail transport is currently gaining in importance again with a view to sustainability and climate protection.

Deutsches Technikmuseum/mho

Cooperation between TU Darmstadt and the German Museum of Technology

“Anhalter Bahnhof Revisited” is a cooperation project of the Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin and the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Department of Digital Design. C4 Berlin and “Berlinologist” Michael Bienert were commissioned to develop the application and design the story elements. In addition, the Berlin Center for Industrial Culture (bzi) and the Exilmuseum Foundation were won over for cooperation and consultation.