Dreams of luxury on eight floors, an haute mix of classy tradition and the latest fashion – Kaufhaus des Westens, or in its broadly used abbreviation: KaDeWe, is Germany’s most renowned department store. You can breath the air of glamour while passing through a world of high-class fashion, stylish home furnishing, and fine foods here. Follow us to Schöneberg’s Wittenbergplatz and enter legendary KaDeWe with us!
Everything the spoilt heart desires
More than 60,000 square meters of sales floor and a wide range of premium products make KaDeWe a store of superlatives. The spacious two-storey entrance hall guides the way to the newest fashion trends of all major designers and high-class brands, as well as jewellery and exclusive perfumes. Upmarket home furnishing, home textiles, and china – even select toys for children can be found here. Excellent customer service comes first: individual beauty consulting or bespoke tailoring are just some of the many services offered to those, who can afford it. Because KaDeWe is all about the cream of the crop, and that comes at a price, of course. Even if you don’t hold a platinum mastercard it’s worth strolling through the floors full of high-class products though: there’s always a sale of some kind with a chance for a real bargain, and the atmosphere alone is worth the visit.
What is absolutely unique is the huge deli department on the 6th floor – actually the grandest in all of Europe. Here you can obtain extraordinary fine foods and specialities from all around the globe. Gourmets and chefs who are looking for something special won’t find a better shop in Berlin. And if all those delicacies lead to a rumble of the stomach, go and check out the real highlight on the top floor (in the true sense of the word): LeBuffet is a glass-panelled panorama restaurant offering fine dining and a marvelous view over West Berlin. Some 30 deli bars throughout the whole store offer delicious gnashs, too; not to mention the four champagne bars and a confectionary café on the deli floor.
A chequered history
KaDeWe looks back on a rich history of more than 100 years. It was first opened in 1907, at a time when ever new, bigger, and more exclusive stores were built. This very consumption temple was aimed at “the exacting demands of the upper ten thousand, the upper one thousand, the uppermost five hundred”, as a contemporary magazine put it. Before, the neighborhood between Charlottenburg and Schöneberg was basically a residential area only, but the opening of the luxurious store changed everything: Boutiques, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs opened, turning the formerly quiet streets into popular boulevards. Thus it was due to KaDeWe that the area surrounding Kurfürstendamm, now called the City West, became a fancy cosmopolitan neighborhood in the first place. There were some dark chapter, too, though: After the Nazis seized power in 1933 the Jewish owners were violently expropriated, the store “Aryanized”. When an aerial bomb hit the building in 1943 it burnt out almost completely. It took until the late 70s for Kaufhaus des Westens to be fully restored and filled with high-class products again.
New plans and a shiny future
More recently, KaDeWe has been facing some difficult times again. Lacking economic efficiency, impending insolvency, and figures in the red led to a repeated change of ownership. The future of Berlin’s classiest department store was anything but certain. There are numerous new investors new and the current owner has announced to completely rebuild and re-invent Kaufhaus des Westens in collaboration with star architect Rem Koolhaas until 2020. The store will then contain four thematic departments, a rooftop terrace with open-air area, as well as a range of event locations. This way, KaDeWe hopes to set new trends in the time of online shops and giant malls. During renovation the store will remain open and customers will not be affected by the construction works.
The opening hours of KaDeWe are Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm, with Friday open through 9 pm and Saturdays starting half an hour earlier. Occasionally there is Sunday shopping, too. You can find Kaufhaus des Westens on Tauentzienstraße in Schöneberg, right next to subway station Wittenbergplatz. From Industriepalast Hostel it is just a 15 minute subway ride.
Need some more shopping recommendations for Berlin? How about the city’s best malls? On our blog you can always find the newest trends and many tips regarding shopping and style in the German capital.
Enjoy a classy afternoon at KaDeWe,
(Picture: © Beek100, wikipedia.org, 2013)
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.