Nothing is known about the original foundation of Dahlem in Berlin's Zehlendorf district. The first evidence of occupation (broken pieces of earthenware) dates from the 13th C. The name appears as "Dalm" in Charles IV's Land Register of 1375, and is next mentioned in a tax register of 1450 as a fief held by Otto von Milow. In 1483 the property passed into the hands of the von Spil family, who lived there for 200 years. In 1665 it was sold for 3,300 thalers to Georg Adam von Pfuhl and in 1671 it was acquired by the Willmerstorff family. Cuno Hans vom Willmerstorff became the first administrative head of the Teltow district. The settlement was then increased in size and the present mansion-house built. From 1804 it belonged to Grand Chancellor Beyme, whose heirs sold it to the provincial treasurer.In 1901 the estates were divided into a country-house with land and areas used by scientific institutes, with the idyllic village center around the church of St Anne duly preserved. Today, Dahlem plays an important role as the site of the Free University, some of the institutes of the Technical University, the Max- Planck Company and the Dahlem Museums.Dahlem Dorf Underground Station east of the estate was constructed in 1913 at the suggestion of Kaiser William II in the form of a Lower Saxon half-timbered house with a thatched roof.
The Dahlem Museums are composed of three different museums. These include the Museum of Ethnography, the Museums of Indian, Islamic and East Asian Art, and the Picture Gallery.
Villa Quarter and Scientific Institute
At the northwest corner of the Dahlem district in Berlin lies the once charming Breitenbachplatz, now spoiled by the motorway that cuts through it. The U-Bahn runs from here through the pleasantly lawned villa-quarter of Dahlem to the Scientific Institutes and Collections. Taking the U-Bahn from Breitenbachplatz station the traveler goes to the BESSY electronic ring storage system (Lentzallee 100) conceived by Gerd Hänska in 1982 and also the building of the Max-Planck- Institute of Educational Research erected by Hermann Fehling and Daniel Gogel in 1974. The 1920s red-brick buildings a few yards away in Albrecht-Thaer-Weg house the Agricultural and Horticultural Institute of the Technical University. Lentzallee leads into "Wild Boar Square" (Platz am Wilden Eber), which gets its name from the bronze statue of a boar standing here.
The present mansion-house in Berlin's Dahlem area was built by Cuno Hans von Willmerstorff in 1680. Having withstood all the troubles of subsequent centuries it now houses the Institute of Veterinary Medicine of the Free University of Berlin. The main facade of the Baroque house faces the courtyard and is noted for its triangular gable with the arms of the Willmerstorff family. Inside is a small museum providing information on the history of the estate. The former Gothic chapel on the ground floor has a splendid starry vault. Various events are held all the year round on the theme of "Rural Life in Berlin."
Secret State Archives
The State Archives in Berlin's Dahlem area include an important collection of records and documents, beginning with those from the Holy Roman Empire in Germany and going up to the dissolution of the state of Prussia. It contains provincial archives relating to the Brandenburg Marches, 50,000 historical charts and plans, a special library of Prussian history with some 80,000 volumes as well as collections of documents and decorations, coats-of-arms and seals from the eastern part of Germany (including items from the former Königsberg Prussian State Archives).
Address: Archivstrasse 12-14, D-14195 Berlin, Germany
The old Dahlem village church, dedicated to St Anne, stands near Dahlem House. The church, built of brick, dates from about 1220 and the Late Gothic chancel is 15th C.The Baroque pulpit and gallery were added in 1679. There is a very fine carved wooden altar.From 1832-92 the church tower served as a relay station on the first optical telegraph line between Berlin and Koblenz.
Nuclear Fission Plaque
Set on the old Kaiser Wilhelm Institute is a plaque commemorating the firing of the neutrons that signaled the discovery of nuclear fission.