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The Evangelisches Johannesstift on the edge of Spandauer Forst, where foxes and wild boar roam at night, is one of the largest welfare institutions of the Lutheran church in Berlin and looks back on a long tradition.

During Germany’s industrial revolution in the 19th century, the social problems of the poor were worsening. Concerned by this, the Protestant theologian Johann Hinrich Wichern developed his “Home Mission” scheme. In Hamburg and Berlin he opened care homes for children and young people, including the Johannesstift, whose original site was in Moabit.

With its red clinker brick buildings dotted around the church, the Johannesstift seems like a small village of its own, with a grocery and book shop, a hairdresser, a restaurant and a garden centre. The institution itself is open to visitors and organises tours of the site, the church and the tower. You can also explore the park-like grounds on your own, and there are two playgrounds for children.

Nice and quiet at weekends, it’s well worth a detour on the way back from a bicycle tour or a walk through Spandauer Forst before returning to the hurly-burly of Spandau city centre.

At a glance

Schönwalder Allee 26, 13587 Berlin

  • Flea market, harvest festival and Christmas festivities 
  • Open church every sunday from 1 to 5 pm
  • Café Gartenlaube offers cake, snacks and drinks (from monday to friday)

www.evangelisches-johannesstift.de

Around the corner

Spandauer Forst

Spandauer Forst

The city’s green lungs in the north

Eiskeller Radweg

Eiskeller

West Berlin exclave, today a perfect place for a break

Buergerablage

Bathing spots

For a refreshing splash in the Havel