Kaufhaus des Westens in Berlin
The Kaufhaus des Westens (English "Department Store of the West", usually abbreviated to KaDeWe) is a department store in Berlin. With over 60,000 square metres of selling space and more than 380,000 articles available, it is the second largest department store in Europe; trumped only by Harrods in London. It attracts 40,000 to 50,000 visitors every day.
The store is located on Tauentzienstraße, a major shopping street, between Wittenbergplatz and Breitscheidplatz, near the center of the former West Berlin. It is technically in the extreme northwest of the neighbourhood of Schöneberg.
The store was originally founded in 1905 by Adolf Jandorf, who persuaded the famous architect Emil Schaudt to build his store. It opened on March 27, 1907 with an area of 24,000 sq-m.
In 1927, ownership changed to the Hertie company owned by Hermann Tietz. The Hertie Company was responsible for modernizing and expanding the store. They had the ambition to add two new floors but because of the Nazi rise to power in the 1930s their plans came to a sudden halt. The Hertie Company was mainly Jewish owned and because of the Nazis' race laws they were prevented from maintaining their ownership. During World War II Allied bombing ruined most of the store. One bomber was shot down and crashed into the store in 1943. Most of the store was gutted, which caused its closure. The re-opening of the first two floors was celebrated in 1950. Full reconstruction of all seven floors was finished by 1956. Once completed it became a beacon of hope for Berliners. "KaDeWe" soon became a symbol of the regained economic power of West Germany during the Wirtschaftswunder economic boom, as well as emblematic of the material prosperity of West Berlin versus that of the East.<ref name="City" />
Between 1976-1978 the store's floor space was expanded from 24,000 sq-m to 44,000 sq-m. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, KaDeWe recorded a record-breaking number of people going through the store. By 1996, with a further floor and restaurant added to the store, the sales area had expanded to 60,000 sq-m.<ref name="City" />
In 1994, the KarstadtQuelle AG corporation acquired Hertie and with it KaDeWe. Most of the floors were renovated between 2004 and 2007 in preparation for the store's one hundredth anniversary.
KaDeWe has seven floors, each one focussed on a different type of merchandise.
The 1st floor is all Beauty Accessories. Some of the services offered include beauty salons as well as nail and foot spas. "Luxury Boulevard" is also situated here, with Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci, Chanel, Bulgari, Cartier and Montblanc stores.
The 2nd floor is Men's Apparel. Most of the clothing on this floor is designer made.
The 3rd floor is devoted to Women's Fashion.
The 4th floor contains more variety. Part of the floor is children's wear. Another portion of the floor is devoted to lingerie, and yet another to health products.
The 5th floor contains interior and design items, as well as the in-house Wedding and Gift Registry services.
The 6th floor is arts, entertainment, electronics, toys, office supplies, and souvenirs.
The 7th and 8th floors (added in the early 1990s) are entirely devoted to food, and advertisements tout the place as having two football fields of food. The 7th floor is called delicatessen and is famous for its wide variety of food and beverages.
The top floor includes a Winter Garden with a restaurant surrounded by an all windowed wall offering a view over the Wittenbergplatz.
- Antonia Meiners: 100 Jahre KaDeWe. Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlin 2007, 168 p., 80 colour photos, 80 b&w photos, clothbound, , summary in german
- Nils Busch-Petersen: Adolf Jandorf – Vom Volkswarenhaus zum KaDeWe, Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin 2007, 80 p.,
- KaDeWe - Kaufhaus des Westens in Berlin, (English) and Official Video, (English) or Our store
- Europe's Biggest Department Store featuring history of KaDeWe, berlin-life.com
- „Seventh Heaven“, Christophorus, No. 326, The Porsche Magazine, June/July 2007, p. 66 - 74.
- „Not heaven, but not hell either“, signandsight.com, December 22, 2005 by Roger Boyes
- Fare Of The Country; In One Berlin Store, Food Without End, New York Times, March 10, 1991