Lovingly called a palace – “Schloss” in German – the late-classicist villa - built on the highest point of the Barnim Plateau – is only the second and thus one of the oldest buildings by architect Heino Schmieden (1835-1913). Schmieden and his well-known, but early deceased partner – Martin Gropius – design the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and many hospitals that were leading examples of European hospital architecture at the time. The Biesdorf ensemble of castle and park, with its villa and initial four acres of park, is built in 1867/1868 on behalf of the Baron of Rüxleben. Next to castles such as Schönhausen, Glienicke or Friedrichsfelde – just to name a few – it is a gem in Berlin’s memorial landscape that only has about 25 castles, manor houses and palaces left.
The garden architect of the first stage of the park is no-one less than Eduard Neide (1818-1883), the talented Lenné student and director of Berlin’s Tiergarten. Beginning in 1889, the Royal Garden Architect Albert Brodersen (1857-1930) redesigned the park after its expansion by almost 15 hectares. Werner Siemens has already acquired the grounds in 1887. After the death of Georg Wilhelm von Siemens' in 1919, the castle is divided into apartments, and even a police station is established in 1920. In 1927, the city of Berlin acquires the property and the related extensive tracts of land and opens it to the public.
After 1933, the local chapters of the NSDAP and the „Amt für Volkswohlfahrt“ move in. An air-raid shelter is created and in April 1945, the beautiful building is destroyed completely – probably due to arson by the Nazis; the roof and ceilings collapse, parts of the façade cave in. In 1946/47, the Red Army carries out temporarily repairs of the castle and installs a makeshift roof over the ground floor. At the same time, grave fields for officers, soldiers and civilian victims were laid out in the southern half of the palace park. This saved the old trees from being used as firewood. The graves were moved to the Soviet Cemetery of Honour in the Marzahn Park Cemetery in 1958.
Beginning in 1954, Schloss Biesdorf becomes a popular recreational site, 1959 a village club and later a district culture house (“Kreiskulturhaus“). A small stage is opened in the park in 1956. At the end of the 1970s, the grounds are finally placed under monument protection and conservation reconstruction begins in 1984 with the restoration of the Park, which was completed in 2016 with the reconstruction of the palace. Since then, the ensemble of palace and park has become a new landmark in Berlin's cultural landscape.
More information (in German) about the history of the castle can be found in the District Mayor Dagmar Pohle’s address for the event "150 years of Schloss Biesdorf" on May 11, 2018, and in the permanent exhibition in the castle.