During the Cold War, the Bahnhof Zoo Station—officially Bahnhof Berlin Zoologischer Garten Station—served as one of the main transportation hubs of West Berlin. At this point several U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines of city public transport intersected. The station also served as a starting point for long-distance trains, and the city’s biggest bus terminal is located nearby.
The station’s pop-culture prominence started in the 1970s when the area around the station become a gathering place for teenage drug addicts and prostitutes. Drug abuse, especially heroin addiction was rampant among the youth in West Berlin at a time. This problem came into the focus of public attention with the publication of the book Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (We, Children from Zoo Station). The book is based on the true story of Christiane F. a 14-year-old drug addict and prostitute who hung around the Bahnhof Zoo.
The youth culture which spawned the likes of Christiane F. and other child drug addicts and prostitutes was intimately intertwined with rock music, especially the music of David Bowie and Iggy Pop. West Berlin was already for some time a place of gathering of prominent rock musicians, ad artists. Bowie’s famous Berlin trilogy was also created at the same period. David Bowie, Christiane’s favorite author, contributed the soundtrack for the movie version of the book.
The station’s notoriety quickly spread, resulting in numerous references in songs by many bands and artists including U2, Alphaville, Nina Hagen, and Scorpions. Zoo station and the idea of living in a zoo become a symbol of West Berlin, since West Berlin was surrounded by the wall, much like a zoo. Coincidentally, this station is currently served by the U2 metro line.
Know Before You Go
Serviced by U2, U9, S5, S7, S75 and S9 lines.