the KaDeWe —
history of our store
What started out as an adventurous idea by the Berlin merchant Adolf Jandorf, surpassed all expectations when the KaDeWe was opened on the 27th of March 1907: The Kaufhaus des Westens, KaDeWe in short, presented customers with an array of desirable goods from around the world at the traffic junction Wittenbergplatz – including a multitude of products that was rare or entirely unknown to the German customers. The fashion assortment presented creations from the latest Paris fashion shows, and exotic south sea fruits could be admired in the food department. Moreover, the warehouse offered exclusive services, for example a library and almost two dozen elevators. Enthusiasts of architecture were impressed with the opulent window frontage, light-flooded halls and wood-panelled walls in the restrooms. The Tauentzien quickly evolved into one of the busiest boulevards in the city.
The Hertie-Group,which took over the KaDeWe in the 1920s was disowned in 1933 by the NS regime. During WW2 a US American airplane crashed into the roof and caused a major fire. The reconstruction took almost a year and a half. In 1956 the reconstruction of all even floors was completed.
In the 1960s the KaDeWe lost a majority of it’s employees and loyal customers after the Berlin Wall was built. Over time it returned to its former glory nonetheless. The sales area was expanded to 44.000 square meters during the reconstruction by 1978, and established the KaDeWe as one of the most prominent sites of Berlin. After the fall of the wall in November 1989 over 200.000 guests a day visited the department store regularly – the highest number of visitors in history.
Today, the KaDeWe is an international department store which offers international designer goods and exclusive brands on more than 60.000 square meters. Products and services represent the idea to turn a shopping day into an experience.
From 10 am when the original iron gate built in 1907 is sunk into the ground, the store welcomes over 50.000 customers daily. In the Christmas season the number can go up to 100.000. Since 2016 the interior is being reconstructed under the management of architect Rem Kohlhaas and his office OMA in a multi-year project. In the process it will be separated into four different quadrants, which will be furnished by renowned designers. Once again the KaDeWe meets the current demands to continue to satisfy it’s customers requirements and to stay as versatile as the city of Berlin.
Beginning of the multi-year conversion following plans created by architect Rem Koolhaas; revealing the new window front and the new entrance; opening of the first two new quadrants Women’s Fashion in the second floor, furnished by designer India Mahdavi as well as Men’s Accessories on the 1st floor, furnished by Storage Milano.
The Central Group / La Rinascente takes over the majority of shares of The KaDeWe Group with 50.1 percent
Signa Holding GmbH acquires majority shares of the Karstadt Premium GmbH; the associated stores are renamed to »The KaDeWe Group«
Re-opening of the expanded luxury boulevard and the extended beauty department on the ground floor, as well as the Accesssories Department »The Loft« on the third floor; reconstruction and reopening of the “Home & Living” area on the 4th floor
Takeover of the Karstadt Group by Nicolas Berggruen Holdings GmbH; further development of the Premium GmbH with KaDeWe, Alsterhaus and Oberpollinger
Merger of all Karstadt department stores, KaDeWe, Alsterhaus and Oberpollinger, as Karstadt Premium GmbH
Presentation of international fashion brands on 20.000 square meters
Reconstruction and opening of the luxury boulevard and the beauty department on the ground floor
Takeover of the Hertie Group by the Karstadt Group
Construction of the glass roof with integrated restaurant on the 7th floor; Enlargement to 60.000 square meters
Highest visitor turnout after the fall of the Berlin wall
Reconstruction and enlargement to 44.000 square meters
Completion of reconstruction of all seven floors; Opening of the gourmet floor
Reopening of the first two floors with 180,000 Berlin guests
Beginning of reconstruction under the management of the architect Hans Soll
Destruction by a plane crash with subsequent major fire
Expropriation of the Hertie Group
Expansion to seven floors following plans by architect Johann Emil Schaudt and Harald Ströming
Takeover by the Hertie Group
The Tauentzienstraße becomes one of the most famous shopping boulevards in the city
Opening of the Kaufhaus des Westens, KaDeWe in short, with five floors and 24.000 square meters
Adolf Jandorf commissions the architect Johann Emil Schaudt with the construction of a department store