A stone’s throw from Berlin’s friendliest hostel, The Berlin Victory Column – Siegessäule in German – is one of the most iconic statues in Berlin. And besides the photogenic appearance of this 67 meter obelisk, its history, meaning and current use is quite interesting as well. Let’s dive into a brief history of this bronze goddess.
A monument of triple victory
German architect Heinrich Strack designed the Berlin Victory Column as an impressive monument to celebrate Prussia’s victory on Denmark in 1864. But by the time the Siegessäule was finished in 1873, the Prussians had two other victories to celebrate as well. The French and Austrians had both been defeated. So they added the golden goddess Victoria statue, designed by Friedrich Drake, on top for extra elevation and pride. Fun detail is that Drake based the statue’s face on the likes of his daughter’s face.
The original location of the Victory Column at Platz der Republik, at the end of Siegesallee (Victory Avenue). But in 1939, as part of a grand plans to redesign Berlin as capital of the German Reich, the Nazis relocated the column to its current location. The column would be on a crucial intersection of Berlin in the middle of Tiergarten Park.
Column design details
Rodolfo Vantini and his Torre Faro in Brescia’s cemetery inspired Heinrich Strack to design the column. The 67 meter high Berlin Victory Column consists of four sandstone blocks and four rings. The nazis added golden ornaments and a fourth ring when they relocated the column.
Contemporary use and celebrations
Today, the Victory Column is a major tourist attraction. You can buy a ticket to climb up to its 51 meter high platform that offers a magnificent view over Berlin. Nowadays it also acts as a modern gathering place for contemporary celebrations like Berlin gay pride. U2 even featured the golden statue in their music video Stay (Faraway, So Close).
Presidential candidate Barack Obama chose the Berlin Victory Column as location for his speech in July 2008. Rather than choosing the Brandenburger Gate like his predecessors, he found the Siegessäule the better landmark to suit his words. He got the rock star welcome treatment by the German public. Over 200,000 people came to listen to Obama’s message for peace.
Berlin Victory Column facts
How many steps are there in the Victory Column?
282 steps in total, 8 floors of on average 35 steps each. So step it up! Great for a morning workout.
When was the Victory Column built?
The builders completed the Victory Column in 1873.
Where is the Victory Column located?
The Berlin Victory Coumn is located at Großer Stern, 10557 Berlin.
original picture by Vollformat Berlin