From manual manufacture in the 1890s to machine production. Marvel at all three eras of industrialization in the Brickworks Park. Exciting exhibitions at original sites on the topics of industrial culture and technology give an insight into the development of the brick industry in the region.
Can you imagine that this green landscape was once characterized by smoking chimneys, rattling light railways and steaming excavators?
In 1887 clay was "accidentally" found during the construction of a railway bridge. In just a few years, the region developed into the largest brickworks area in Europe. The various exhibitions in the brickworks park in the original buildings and factory halls tell the story from the early days of the 1890s to the closure of the last brickworks in 1990.
The expansion of the Havel waterway in the last century offered optimal conditions for the Zehdenick brickworks. Every brickworks had a works harbor or a sheet pile wall on the Havel. For more than a century, almost the entire brick production was transported by ship, which is why people still say “Berlin was built from a barge” to this day. The original Finow-Maßkahn is still in the museum harbor of the brickworks park and the museum ship Carola from Zehdenick is a prominent guest in Mildenberg during the "Märkisches Dampfspektakel" and "Fascination Technology".
Follow the saying "Berlin is built from the barge". You can see two exhibitions here: In the former firing canal you can find out why it is said that Berlin was built from the barge and how hard the work at the brickworks was. Through old documents and state-of-the-art technology, you can experience the history of the Zehdenick brick industry from 1890 to 1960 in fast motion.
With the invention of the ring kiln, it was possible to continuously and en masse produce the building material for the up-and-coming Berlin. The exhibition can be found on the burner stage of the ring kiln III.
On the former burner stage, everything revolves around the life of the Berlin master builder Friedrich Hoffmann and his groundbreaking invention. In 1858 he applied for a patent for the "ring oven". This started the industrialization of brick production. Get a taste of this groundbreaking invention!
Experience in a multimedia production how hard the work in the "state-owned enterprise" was in the days of the GDR.
There are also stories and anecdotes from former brick factory workers who leave lasting traces. In addition to sound and light installations, the tour of the exhibition offers a special highlight for young and old: walk through a firing channel of the ring kiln with a glowing brick in your hand. The color of the brick changes depending on the firing temperature.
Each brick factory had its own workshops for various tasks. Here, in the brick factory park, the "old workshops" consist of a blacksmith's shop, locksmith's shop and wheelwright's shop. What is special about the old workshops in the brickworks park is that almost all of the machines are driven by transmission. Thus, many machines could be driven by just one steam engine via belts and shafts.
In the old processing facility, the clay was mixed with additives and formed into a homogeneous mass. Bricks could then be painted from this mass. With 12 clay cutters (as the machines that mixed in the aggregates were called), the present preparation was absolutely the largest in the region. In the brochure “Streifzüge – Gründerzeit. How a brick is made..." you will find out everything you need to know about brick production and thus also about the "old processing".
At the time, in 1927, the Stackebrandt brickworks was the most modern brickworks in the region. The complete production of bricks - all under one roof. Preparation of the clay, shaping of the blanks, thermal drying and firing in the ring kiln.
Everything is driven by the steam engine, which is still working today and which you can admire during the daily guided tours.
During the boom, more than 5.000 people worked in the Zehdenick area. Migrant workers in particular represent the majority here. Learn more about the life of the brickmakers in this exhibition. Work isn't the only issue. The brickmakers could also celebrate, whether at the annual “Zieglerball” or in the old “Zieglerklause”. This exhibition is even located in a former brickwork barracks, where the workers used to live. In the exhibition "Zehdenicker Ziegeleirevier" the cultural history of the region is also vividly told.
In the Kugelmühle Gallery you can currently admire works of art by two regional artists.
The artist Uwe Handrick works with different materials. In addition to clay and wood, painting is also part of his portfolio. Some of his works are currently on display in the gallery. You can also visit the artist at his Kunsthof in Wandlitz, in the district of Barnim. You can find more information about the artist here here .
Ceramic artist Sabine Borns from Zehdenick is contributing some vessels and bowls to the exhibition. The artist, who has been living in Zehdenick since 2021, previously worked in Wandlitz in her own ceramics workshop. Until 2015 she worked as a freelance creative trainer in Berlin and learned the craft from master potter Armin Rieger. You can purchase their works in the museum shop of the Mildenberg brickworks park. You can find more information about the artist here here .