On October 3rd in 1969, the Berlin TV Tower was ceremonially inaugurated in Berlin Mitte at the Alexanderplatz in the presence of Walter Ulbricht and other high-rank politicians of the SED party. At the same time the television broadcaster Deutscher Fernsehfunk started its emission and the era of color television in the GDR had begun. The construction works for the pompous building started on August 4th in 1965 and lasted for about 4 years. Prior to the construction there were constant internal discussions about the exact place and appearance of the tower. After agreement, the then-president of the Deutsche Bauakademie (German Construction Academy) Gerhard Kosel was instructed by the SED leadership with the overall instruction of the project.
The narrowing tower chute was realized by using the technique of climbing formwork. The construction of the tower was carried out rather quickly; on October 4th in 1966 the benchmark of 100 meters was reached, the final height was reached on June 16th, 1967. For the nearly 249 meter high tower a total of 8000 cubic meters of concrete were used. Following this construction step, the prominent ball-shaped part was mounted by adding a total of 240 single segments together. The stainless steel which was used for the exterior of the ball was imported from Western Germany. The last segment of the ball was attached on October 7th, 1968, the 19th birthday of the republic.
In the time during October 2nd and 30th the tip of the tower was mounted along with the entire antenna structure. The completion of the interior was carried out as a following step and lasted for about a year. The total costs for the project added up to more than 132 million Mark. The building therefore ended up to be more than four times as expensive as originally planned.
After the ceremonial inauguration on October 3rd, the tower was opened for the audience on the 20th anniversary of the founding of the GDR (October 7th, 1969). The central newspaper “Neues Deutschland” wrote the following on October 3rd: “The tower - a masterpiece” as well as “The teletower is the new landmark of our thriving city, announcing the economical potential of our state of workers and farmers. An engineering marvel as a project of the Deutsche Post, constructed by scientists, technicians and workers of our country. More than 300 companies worked together in fruitful socialist teamwork. …”. In the following years, the tower with its popular observation deck and Telecafe turned into a well visited tourist attraction. The four millionth visitor was greeted already after three years.
Since its completion, the TV Tower has been put on the market in many ways. I have chosen two especially beautiful objects from our collection for you. One of them is a brazen pencil groove for writing desks which shows the entire tower along with the corresponding pavilion. Furthermore I would also shortly like to describe a large pen as a classical souvenir. The end of the pen contains a transparent window holding a small model of the tower made out of plastic and painted in silver. Behind it one can read the inscription “Radio- and TV Tower Berlin / Capital of the GDR / Opened October 1969 207 meter high Telecafe.”
Today, the Berlin TV Tower is considered as one of the national symbols of reunited Germany and with its 368 meters it is the highest building in the country. Compared to buildings in other European countries it it’s the fourth highest. The popularity among visitors is still unbroken. The tower is visited by more than one million guests per year and is therefore one of the ten most popular sights in all of Germany.