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Humboldt statues in Berlin

Protective cover removed from monuments

SCHOLPP plays a part in a special, high-profile mission: protecting two of Berlin’s monuments. Statues of the Humboldt brothers stand in front of the university named after them in the German capital. Both statutes – one of Alexander von Humboldt to the right of the entrance to the Humboldt University of Berlin and one of Wilhelm von Humboldt to the left – are made from Carrara marble. To protect the high-quality Italian stone from snow and frost, a steel housing is placed over these protected monuments each autumn. Each spring, SCHOLPP helps to remove the famous brothers’ winter “coats”.

In April, the two 2.50-metre-high statues, each on a 3.20-metre-high plinth, were revealed once more. Both the housings are made from three sections that are firmly bolted together. These sections were made from steel many years ago by a metalworking workshop on behalf of the Humboldt University of Berlin and are reused each year. April was the fourth time that SCHOLPP has helped to uncover the statues. The team worked from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. to remove around 1.5 tonnes of steel measuring 3.20 (W) x 3.20 (L) x 4.15 (H) metres from around the delicate monuments using a mobile crane with a man basket.

During the removal, the area around the statues had to be closed off. This was no mean feat as they are located on one of Berlin’s busiest boulevards, Unter den Linden. The Humboldt University of Berlin has to obtain all the necessary official permits long before the day of removal, a process that can take up to three months. The pedestrian zone is also closed off while the cover sections are installed and removed. But since many spectators tend to gather to watch the team at work, the utmost care and diligence has to be exercised. A special permit was also required to transport the sections to the storage facility due to the extremely wide and high load.

Thanks to the SCHOLPP team’s expertise and skilful touch, the Humboldt brothers are once more free to watch over the students streaming into the university.

In brief:

Uncovering of monuments and removal of steel sections

Equipment used:

Tractor unit with 60-tonne trailer-crane, mobile crane with man basket

Unique factors:

Special permits for road closure during dismantling and the redirection of traffic during transport; special care required due to the delicate material

Do you have a question about this project? Then we’d like to hear from you. Here you can contact the SCHOLPP specialists.