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Allegedly, the chances of getting a flat in Pankow are much higher if you have a child. The borough has been transformed into a family paradise. The number of under tens living there has been growing continuously since 2001. Perhaps this is why Pankow, with 389,976 inhabitants, is Berlin’s most populous borough. Whatever the reason, Pankow is also attractive to EU citizens, particularly  Prenzlauer Berg, where they represent 9% of its population. People from Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom alone account for 4.5%.

Pankow comprises the districts of Pankow, Prenzlauer Berg and Weißensee. In GDR times, the borough was highly favoured by the city’s political, intellectual and artistic elites.

Who governs?

Pankow’s young and old have been under the care of the SPD (Social Democrats) since 2006. Matthias Köhne is the mayor. The last elections yielded 17 seats for the SPD, 13 for the Greens, 11 for the Left Party, 8 for the CDU (Christian Democrats) and 6 for the Pirates.

On 18 September 2016, all EU-citizens have the opportunity to vote for the district assembly. You can find out here what it is all about and how it works in six different languages.

A date

On 9 November 1989 at 23:30, Harald Jäger, head of the checkpoint on Bornholmer Straße, gave an order to allow people leave East Berlin for West Berlin. His act is seen as the first break in the Berlin Wall.

A song

Sonderzug nach Pankow ” (Special Train to Pankow), was written by Udo Lindenberg after GDR authorities forbade him from organising a concert in East Berlin. The lyrics accuse Erich Honecker, first secretary of the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany), of being a hypocrite for secretly listening to western radio stations.

An attraction

Schloss Schönhausen has seen it all. From 1740 to 1790, it was the summer residence of Elisabeth Christine, Queen of Prussia. During the Third Reich, it was a repository for “degenerate art”. In the early years of the GDR, it was the residence of Wilhelm Pieck, the country’s only president. After the GDR ended this office, the palace became a guesthouse for VIP guests of the GDR, including Ho-Chi-Minh, Fidel Castro and Michail Gorbatschow.

An unusual attraction

The Duncker-Club doesn’t really grab your attention. Well concealed on the grounds of a secondary school, this old building has been a dance club for over 25 years. From 1983 to 1989, it hosted a GDR youth club that organised punk concerts in defiance of the GDR’s cultural guidelines. Rock is still a staple of its musical diet today.


Which is your favourite place in Pankow? What could the borough do better, how should it change? Your comments are part of the political discussion leading up to the BVV (local) election!

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