On 2 September 1873 the Berlin Victory Column was opened to the public with an imperial inauguration ceremony. It was the first national monument to the German Empire, created two years earlier in 1871. Proposals for a monument had already been developed in 1864 following the defeat of Denmark by Prussian and Austrian troops on behalf of the German Federation. The Danish monarchy had been forced to hand over the territories of Schleswig and Holstein to the Federation.
Only two years later, military action seemed the only solution to resolve the struggle for political supremacy between Prussia and its former ally Austria: on 3 July 1866 Prussia defeated the Habsburg powers in the Battle of Sardowa (known today as Hradec Králové) in Bohemia.
The German Federation was dissolved and Prussia became a major power in Europe at the head of the new North German Federation. France declared war on this new political rival on 19 July 1870. An alliance between the North German Federation and the southern German states of Bavaria, Baden and Wuerttemberg defeated the forces of the Second French Empire on 2 September 1870 at the battle of Sedan. Prussia had become the leading political and military power in Europe.
On 18 January 1871, in the mirrored hall of the Palace of Versailles, the princes of the German States recognised the Prussian king, Wilhelm Ist, as the German Emperor. The Victory Column tells the story of the founding of the Empire from 1864 to 1871 in bronze reliefs and mosaic pictures. The column has a height of sixty meters and offers a unique panoramic view of Berlin old and new.
Strasse des 17 Juni / Grosser Stern
+49 (0) 30 / 3912961
April to October
daily 09.30 – 18.30 hrs
November to March
daily 9.30 – 17.30 hrs
(closed 24 December)
Exhibition about the history of this and other national monuments and city landmarks, Guidebook in English and German, Viktoria Café and Beer Garden next to the monument