Enlarge photo: Idealstreckennetz der 20 grünen Hauptwege, Stand 2020
Image: Heiko Pieles

The success of the 20 Green Walks in Berlin project has only been possible thanks to many people’s involvement and commitment. This overview presents the key stages in the 20 Green Walks in Berlin project.


Defining the ideal routes
Berlin’s Landscape Programme of 1994 (Berliner Landschaftsprogramm von 1994) envisaged a closely-knit network of green corridors to enhance the use of recreational green spaces and parks by connecting them both with one another and large residential areas. The programme also saw these green corridors as creating an attractive network of walks and cycle paths. The connecting routes were termed “ideal routes”. Taken together with parks and other recreational areas, these “ideal routes” form the “Berlin system of open spaces (Berliner Freiraumsystem)” in the city’s overall landscape planning.


“A Plan for 20 Green Walks in Berlin”
This project set out to research and define the planning for the 20 Green Walks in Berlin, at that time largely unspecified, making it viable and giving it a visible profile. In the face of Berlin‘s financial situation, over 100 voluntary walkers tested the network to find the gaps still existing in the individual routes; suggestions were collected on how to overcome the gaps or create appropriate temporary detours. The project was organised together with administrative bodies and private initiatives. The idea for the project came from Eva-Maria Epple who, within her local Agenda 21 activities, had long been interested in the available international experience of successfully realising “slow green walks” – for example, in New York.


Die erste digitale Wanderkarte
The first digital map of walks For the first time, the 20 Green Walks in Berlin network as accessible at that time, together with any temporary detours on the routes, became available through the internet via the FIS Broker, Berlin’s main portal application for online access to maps, plans and other geodata. The digitalised map created by the Senate Department for Urban Development’s landscape planning staff was based on the reports of the volunteer walkers.


Mutual Cooperation Agreement
On 20 March 2006, it became official: a cooperation agreement to prepare and implement the 20 Green Walks in Berlin was signed between BUND Berlin e.V. and FUSS e.V. Berlin, two not-for-profit organisations, and the State of Berlin, represented by Division I E of the Senate Department for Urban Development. The cooperation partners sought to establish, as soon as possible, a functioning and accessible recreational network of 20 Green Walks in Berlin connecting local authority and publicly accessible green and open spaces in the city.


Strolling along the urban River Spree
A flyer entitled “Flanieren entlang der Stadtspree – Einer von 20 grünen Hauptwegen lädt ein” (Strolling along the urban River Spree – Discover one of 20 Green Walks in Berlin) was published by Directorate I, Senate Department for Urban Development. The free leaflet traced the course of the Spree between Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg) and the bay “Rummelsburger Bucht”, presenting over 50 interesting locations along the route which have played or would play a key role in Berlin’s development.


The first analogue map for walkers
On the initiative of Berlin’s piekart Press, a public-private partnership was formed in late 2007 between the publisher, nature conservancy organisations and the Senate Department for Urban Development to launch the first general map for walkers in bookshops in 2008. As early as May 2008, the jointly produced general map entitled “Flanieren – Spazieren – Wandern” (Strolling – Walking – Hiking) was available in nearly all Berlin bookstores as well as in outlets with a wide range of newspapers and magazines.


Berlin’s Green Belt” leaflet
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Senate Department for Urban Development presented its leaflet “Grünes Band Berlin” (Berlin’s Green Belt). The leaflet, inspired by the European Green Belt, focused on those stretches of still largely untouched countryside along the course of the former Wall. The route presented, covering the northern section along the inner-city Wall, is also part of the 20 Green Walks in Berlin network.


Signage along the routes
The Senate Department for Urban Development developed a unified and affordable waymarker system, taking into account both the short direction signs on the Barnim Villages Walk as well as the standard German national waymarkers for main walking routes. In response to the level of general interest, the not-for-profit Berliner Wanderverband e.V. hiking association offered to take on the supervision and maintenance of the routes already initially signed for the first time. To formalise this arrangement, a binding sponsorship agreement was signed on 15 March 2010. In addition, the not-for-profit Kompetenzzentrum für Ingenieurbiologie e.V. organisation agreed, as part of district-related projects, to provide the initial signage for the entire network of walks in Berlin. This arrangement was formalised under a framework agreement signed on 15 March 2010.