Nature’s Lawnmowers

Once Site of Historic Airlift, Berlin's Tempelhof Airport Being Put Out to Pasture

Tempelhofer Feld
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Berlin’s massive Tempelhof Freiheit park has become immensely popular since opening in 2010. But the fate of former airport has proven contentious, as residents of the German capital voted in a referendum in spring 2014 to limit its development.

  • Facts


    • Tempelhof Airport was once the world’s largest building before being superseded the U.S. Pentagon
    • The airport played a key role in the Berlin Airlift, which thwarted Soviet attempts to starve out West Berlin.
    • The last flight from Tempelhof was in 2008. Berliners now love the park’s wide-open spaces.
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At the high of the Berlin Airlift back in 1948, U.S. and British cargo planes landed minutes apart to keep the western half of the city alive amid a Soviet blockade. Now nearly seven decades later, the former airfield in the heart of the reunited German capital could soon become home to herds of wild horses and cattle.

The quirky proposal is part of serious deliberations on how best to care for the massive 303 hectare green space.

Closed as an active airport in 2008, Tempelhof was reopened as a vast park in 2010. Amid initial skepticism, Berliners soon flocked to its wide-open places to picnic and fly kites, as well as skating and bike riding on the old tarmac.

“We are discussing using grazing animals to control the meadows at Tempelhof,” said park manager Michael Krebs, noting the environmental impact would need to be assessed before any final decision.

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