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Spandau (German: [ˈʃpandaʊ̯] (audio speaker iconlisten)) is the westernmost of the 12 boroughs (Bezirke) of Berlin, situated at the confluence of the Havel and Spree rivers and extending along the western bank of the Havel. It is the smallest borough by population, but the fourth largest by land area.

Old town of Spandau
Old town of Spandau
Coat of arms of Spandau
Location of Spandau in Berlin
Berlin Bezirk Spandau (labeled).svg
Spandau is located in Germany
Spandau is located in Berlin
Coordinates: 52°33′N 13°12′E / 52.550°N 13.200°E / 52.550; 13.200Coordinates: 52°33′N 13°12′E / 52.550°N 13.200°E / 52.550; 13.200
Subdivisions9 localities
 • MayorHelmut Kleebank (SPD)
 • Total91.91 km2 (35.49 sq mi)
 • Total245,527
 • Density2,700/km2 (6,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Vehicle registrationB Edit this at Wikidata


Modern industries in Spandau include metalworking, and chemical and electrical factories. BMW Motorrad's Spandau factory made all BMW's motorcycles from 1969 until final assembly plants were added in Rayong, Thailand in 2000, and Manaus, Brazil in 2016.[2][3][4]

Rathaus Spandau, Spandau's seat of government, was built in 1913. Other landmarks include the Renaissance-era Spandau Citadel, the 1848 St. Marien am Behnitz Catholic church designed by August Soller, and Spandau arsenal. That arsenal's Spandau machine gun inspired the slang Spandau Ballet to describe dying soldiers on barbed wire during the First World War, and later was applied to the appearance of Nazi war criminals hanged at Spandau Prison.[citation needed] In 1979, the English New Romantic band Spandau Ballet again re-purposed the term for its name.


The history of Spandau begins in the 7th century or 8th century, when the Slav Heveller first settled in the area and later built a fortress there. It was conquered in 928 by the German King Henry I, but returned to Slavic rule after the rebellion of 983.

In 1156, the Ascanian Earl Albrecht von Ballenstedt ("Albrecht the Bear") took possession of the region. 1197 marked the first mention as Spandowe in a deed of Otto II, Margrave of Brandenburg – thus forty years earlier than the Cölln part of medieval Berlin. Spandau was given city rights in 1232.

Old Town and Saint Nikolai Church

During Ascanian rule the construction of Spandau Citadel began, which was completed between 1559 and 1594 by Joachim II of Brandenburg. In 1558 the village of Gatow became part of Spandau. In 1634, during the Thirty Years' War, Spandau was surrendered to the Swedes.

In 1806, after the Battle of Jena and Auerstedt, French troops under Napoleon took possession of the city and stayed there until 1807. In 1812, Napoleon returned, and the Citadel was besieged the following year by Prussian and Russian troops.

From 1849 the poet and revolutionary Gottfried Kinkel was an inmate of Spandau town prison, until he was freed by his friend Carl Schurz in the night of 6 November 1850.

Before World War I, Spandau was a seat of large government cannon foundries, factories for making gunpowder and other munitions of war, making it a centre of the arms industry in the German Empire. It was also a garrison town with numerous barracks, home of the 5th Guard Infantry Brigade and the 5th Guard Foot Regiment of the German Army. In 1920, Spandau (whose name had been changed from Spandow in 1878) was incorporated into Greater Berlin as a borough.

After World War II, it was part of the British sector of West Berlin. Spandau Prison, which had been rebuilt in 1876, was used to house Nazi war criminals given custodial sentences at the Nuremberg Trials. After the death of Spandau Prison's last inmate, Rudolf Hess, it was completely demolished by the Allied powers and later replaced by a shopping mall.[5]

Gatow airfield, in the south of the district, was used by the Royal Air Force during the post-war Allied occupation, most notably during the Berlin Airlift. Since 1995 the airfield has been the Gatow Museum of Military History.


Outside Berlin, Spandau borders the districts (Kreis) of Oberhavel to the north, and Havelland to the west, and the city of Potsdam, Brandenburg, to the southwest. Within Berlin, it borders the boroughs of Steglitz-Zehlendorf to the south, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf to the east, and Reinickendorf to the northeast. Its land area of 91.91 km2 (35.49 sq mi) is the fourth-largest of the twelve boroughs.


Subdivisions of Spandau

Spandau Borough is divided into nine quarters (Ortsteile):


As of 2010, Spandau had a population of 223,962, the smallest of the twelve boroughs of Berlin. 62,000 of those were migrants or other non-ethnic Germans, comprising 27% of Spandau's population.[6]

Percentage of people with migration background[6]
Germans without migration background/Ethnic Germans 165,000 (73%)
Germans with migration background or foreign citizens 62,000 (27%)
Middle Eastern origin (Turkey, Arab League, Iran etc.) 20,400 (9%)
(non-German) EU-European migration background (esp. Poles, Romanians etc.) 13,600 (6%)
African background/Afro-Germans (Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon etc.) 7,000 (3%)
Others (East Asians, Russians, Serbs etc.) 20,400 (9%)


Borough council seats

At the 2021 elections for the parliament of the borough (Bezirksverordnetenversammlung), the following parties were elected:

Notable peopleEdit

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Spandau is twinned with:[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Einwohnerinnen und Einwohner im Land Berlin am 31. Dezember 2020" (PDF). Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg. February 2021.
  2. ^ "my FB Title". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  3. ^ Henry, Ian (6 January 2015). "BMW: Global growth". Automotive Manufacturing Solutions. Ultima Media. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  4. ^ "BMW Motorrad expands production network with its own manufacturing site in Brazil. [press release]". BMW Group. 4 April 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  5. ^ Goda, Norman J. W. (2006). Tales from Spandau. University of Florida. ISBN 978-0-521-86720-7.
  6. ^ a b "Melderechtlich registrierte Einwohner im Land Berlin" (PDF). 31 December 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften des Bezirks Spandau". (in German). Berlin. Retrieved 8 February 2021.

Further readingEdit

  • Zeller, Frederic (1989). When Time Ran Out: Coming of Age in the Third Reich. London: W H Allen. ISBN 0-491-03614-0.

External linksEdit