"Beating swords into ploughshares" - exactly what's going on in Jüterbog

Jüterbog is a city of 13,000 inhabitants located to the south of Berlin. It made an important decision when the last of the CIS-troops (former Soviet Army) withdrew from the city: our history as a military location is over! Jüterbog's city limits enclose some 10,500 hectares of military grounds, 571 hectares of which are built on. The training grounds, firing ranges and barracks in the city are now being converted to non-military uses. Thus, an old expression is gaining new meaning: what is involved is a "conversion" project in the sense of a "return" to the original, or to put it more eloquently, the "beating of swords into ploughshares".

Practically no other city had as many military installation is imposed on it by the Prussian metropolis Berlin as Jüterbog. Nowadays, many of the military buildings are important historical monuments and are listed. The Jüterbog II city walk presents one such military complex.

Jüterbog II consists of a former field artillery school and a foot soldier artillery school. The structure of a typical barracks town of the German imperial era (Kaiserzeit) has been preserved here. It is characterised by its location on the outskirts of the city close to the military training grounds, it includes residential buildings, administrative and supply facilities and hygiene and sanitary facilities which were very modern for its time. With the introduction of a mandatory draft in the years 1813 to 1820, the Prussian state also compiled "Guidelines for the construction and fitting of new barracks". These guidelines stated, for example, that not more than eight soldiers should share one room. The design of the barracks was supposed to take rigorous hygiene standards into account as well as the prevailing wind, orientation and noise protection. Separate catering units were also to be provided. Saving money and enabling rapid mobilization also played an important role.

The barracks of the German imperial era contained accommodation for the men which was usually designed in the form of solid four-storey buildings. The officer's houses, the supply and administrative buildings were usually separate from the soldiers' quarters. The supply of tap water and connection to the sewage system was considered at an early stage in the planning process to reduce the risk of infection in the mass accommodation.