• Aerial view of the Technology Park Humboldthain. Left foreground - the site of the former Nixdorf computer factory.

    Tradition meets innovation

The Technology Park Humboldthain (TPH) in Wedding represents the heyday of Berlin’s industrial history, but also stands for successful synergies between science and business. 150 companies are based at the location today. In close cooperation with researchers, they develop and produce application-oriented technical products and solutions for tomorrow. The TPH is one of 11 Berlin future locations (“Zukunftsorte”). One that is growing and also developing structurally.

This location breathes history, or better said: Industrial history. At the end of the 19th century, AEG settled on the site of today’s Technology Park Humboldthain in what is now Wedding. In the course of the industrialisation and electrification of Berlin and the world, the company quickly grew into a large corporation. In the imposing factory buildings of AEG south of the Volkspark Humboldthain, the company produced electric motors, transformers, electric trains, but also household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, irons and hair dryers, which were exported all over the world. In 1983, AEG closed the location. The Technology Park Humboldthain (TPH) was built on the site. Today, the approximately 25 hectare area is still a place of innovations “Made in Berlin”.

“The location clearly stands for technology – in the sense of highly specialised devices and products,” explains Lutz Keßels, CEO of the Technologie-Park Humboldthain e. V.: The business network, founded in 2012, has set itself the goal of strengthening and vitalising the historically grown business and science location. Many of the 150 companies based at the TPH are among the members. These include the medical technology company SPECS Surface Nano Analysis as well as the automotive supplier Pierburg or Novozymes Berlin, world market leader for biosolutions. The content orientation at the THP is wide-ranging. In addition to companies from the fields of electronics, optics and microsystems technology, energy, building and environmental technologies, biotechnology and life sciences, production and automation technology as well as automotive, many companies from the field of information and communication technologies have settled here – as well as representatives of the media and creative industries, above all Deutsche Welle.

A productive mix of science, business and education

A significant and at the same time mature location advantage of the TPH is the close connection with science and research. “Industry, science and research work together synergistically here. Ideas are developed directly into prototypes and ideally are also produced,” says Lutz Keßels. The exchange between industry and research is direct and close by at the TPH, because the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM) conducts research here on site on the connection of microelectronic and microsystem components and overall systems. The Technische Universität Berlin with the Institute for Civil Engineering and around 20 departments is also based at the TPH. The main research areas of the university at the location: Automotive and transportation systems, civil engineering, building physics and construction, biotechnology and food chemistry. And since the TU Berlin, together with the State of Berlin, founded the “BIG” as Germany’s first innovation and start-up centre in the former AEG appliance factory on Ackerstrasse in the early 1980s, numerous start-ups have also grown at the TPH. One of the first: AVM, the inventors of the FRITZ! Box. “There is a creative mix here with young people being trained at the site. This ambience is predestined for spin-offs with forward-looking, market-oriented products and solutions,” says Keßels.

“Quartier Am Humboldthain” – a completely new urban district

The industrial and scientific area, which stretches between Ackerstrasse in the west and Brunnenstrasse in the east, borders on Volkspark Humboldthain to the north and Voltastrasse to the south, has, however, historically grown to include the production-characteristic isolation from the outside world. The public rarely makes visits there. Events such as the annual Long Night of Science, which also takes place here, are exceptions. That is about to change. In the north-eastern area of the TPH, on the site of the former Nixdorf Computer Factory, the “Quartier Am Humboldthain” (QAH) is to be built as a “new urban city district” – and with a floor area of around 234,000 square metres it will expand the TPH.

“There will be no residential units at the TPH in the future, because the urban development guidelines of the State of Berlin for the area are still geared towards keeping industrial jobs in the city in order to reduce commuter traffic and minimise CO2 emissions,” explains Keßels, who is also the Managing director of the development company Quartier Am Humboldthain GmbH. However, a stronger integration of the future location into the urban environment is planned. “In the run-up, we held several expert and citizen dialogues with politicians and administrators, local stakeholders and citizens. Stronger networking with the outside world was one of the ideas and wishes expressed at the time.” Around 40 per cent of the new space is to be reserved for production-oriented activities and 55 per cent for commercial use in the future. About 5 per cent will be available for culture, gastronomy and other leisure activities. “It is important to us that most of the space can be used flexibly – for offices as well as for laboratories.”

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