What is an example of gas lighting

Gaslight Culture e.V.




Our events in summer 2021

Whether in a double-decker bus, on a bike or on foot ...

... Berlin's gas lanterns will again be represented at three top-class cultural events in 2021:

Gas light tour on foot:
IMT summer walks
(canceled due to the nightly curfew!)
Gas light tour in the double-decker bus:
40th Long Night of the Museums
(canceled due to the corona pandemic!)
Gas light tour by bike:
Open Monument Day 2021

We will inform you here or on request (contact details below) in a timely manner whether we can offer online or even our proven face-to-face events according to the then applicable corona measures.

Our tour offer is also popular for company club or family celebrations or as touristic tours for small and large groups. Booking inquiries at berlin [at] gaslicht-kultur.de or on the telephone number 0179/81 06 747.
Candelabra in Charlottenburg © Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.

Around half of all gas lamps in existence worldwide are in the streets of Berlin. Many areas of the urban area are completely flooded with the gold-yellow light of the gas lanterns. Gas lanterns are silent witnesses of the eventful history of Berlin. They have survived both the good and the bad times unscathed. Maybe that's why gas lighting is an integral part of Berlin's identity. Due to its uniqueness, the Berlin gas street lighting has become an unofficial landmark of the city.
There are still around 25,000 gas lanterns in Berlin (2021), their technical condition - apart from unnecessary maintenance defects - is perfect. Long-time Berliners, who often associate many personal memories with gas lighting, like to refer to it as "their" gas lighting. You can find out which different types of gas lanterns can still be found in the streets of Berlin today in our gas lanterns section.


Suspension lamp in Grunewald © Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.

A major Berlin daily newspaper once described it like this: "Gas lanterns - Berlin's sparkling treasures of the night!" And anyone who has ever consciously walked through a street completely lit with gas light knows what is meant by that. The light quality of gas light, which no electric lamp can even come close to, creates that certain something in gas-lit neighborhoods. Gas light is nature, it has a relaxing effect and creates atmosphere. And you can feel that when you stroll through the streets in the evening under gas light, linger under gas light in one of the many street cafes or live with gas lanterns in front of the front door. Immerse yourself in the world of this unique light! Whether on Kreuzberger Chamissoplatz, Charlottenburger Sophie-Charlotten-Straße, in Spandau's old town or in other of the around 2000 Berlin streets and squares with gas lighting: the feel-good factor is guaranteed! You can also experience this lighting culture that is typical of Berlin on our guided gas light tours, which we offer as a bus tour, a bicycle tour or a city walk. You can find out more about this in our Sightseeing section.


Top lamp in Kreuzberg © Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.

The dismantling of the historic Berlin gas lighting began in the summer of 2012 with the gas row lights, which have now almost completely disappeared from the cityscape. The dismantling of the other types of luminaires has also been in progress since 2014. Initially mainly replaced by expensive LED imitations, contrary to earlier promises, standard electric lights are increasingly being used. Please also read our News section. In the past there was a political consensus to keep Berlin's gas street lighting. At the beginning of the 90s, with the help of Gaslicht-Kultur e.V. (at that time "Gaslichtinitiative Berlin") in the House of Representatives, a resolution was passed that laid down the preservation of Berlin's gas lighting. Since the privatization of Berlin's street lighting, it is no longer about aspects of maintaining the cityscape or cultural-historical issues. Street lights should only be lucrative. Thanks to our many years of commitment and with the support of many other, also international cultural associations, we were initially able to put 3,300 gas lanterns (7.5% of the stock from 2012) under protection in important monument areas. Together with the State Monuments Office, we defined these protected areas and later mapped them. The future will show how long this protection status will last. Because there is great pressure from investors to tear down these areas as well.


Wall arm in Spandau © Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.

There is no doubt that Berlin's gas street lighting, with its worldwide uniqueness, is worth protecting. However, there are usually only categories of monument protection for individual buildings, but not for large-scale lighting ensembles. Also, monument protection usually only protects the external shape, not the lighting medium itself - and thus also not its industrial or technical-historical aspect. In this respect, placing larger gas light areas under protection in Berlin, but also in Dresden and Düsseldorf, is an important milestone. We are committed to classifying gas lanterns and their unmistakable light as a cultural and historical heritage. Berlin's gas street lighting must also not be viewed solely from the perspective of costs. Because that doesn't even come close to their real value. We are working on enforcing this point of view among lighting planners and politicians. However, we can only achieve this through a broad social and political consensus. If you want to support us in any way, if you have suggestions or criticism or if you just want further information on this topic, please contact us.


Electric model light © Gaslicht-Kultur e.V.

You are now probably wondering what this photo of a poorly maintained lantern is doing on our website - especially since it is an electric street lamp. Unsightly electric lanterns are unfortunately not uncommon, because electric lanterns usually deteriorate much faster than gas lanterns. Here you can see, for example, the pollution of an electric lamp by dead insects, hundreds of which are attracted by the artificial light every night. Electric lanterns are veritable insect killers, much to the detriment of animals such as songbirds, whose food is based on insects. This problem does not exist with gas lanterns, because their light has no UV components in the spectrum and is simply not perceived by most insects. The color rendering of gas light is unsurpassed. The so-called sodium vapor lamp shown here, for example, has a color rendering index of at best 65 percent, whereas a gas lantern has a color rendering index of 100 percent. Gas lanterns reproduce colors as true to the original as natural daylight! Read many more arguments in favor of gas light in our facts and figures section.