Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet

Scores of hills dot the edges of many German cities, but these are not natural. They are known as Schuttberg, or “debris hill”.

Schuttbergs arose after the end of World War 2, and were created primarily from rubble generated by the destruction of German cities. Allied bombing during the six years of war laid to waste nearly every German city, town and village, destroying millions of homes, public buildings, schools, factories, as well as centuries-old cathedrals, mediaeval houses and other historic structures. It is estimated that the war produced over 400 million cubic meters of rubble that needed to be disposed before any reconstruction plan could be undertaken. This gave birth to rubble heaps, and nearly every city had one. But instead of letting them become an eye sore, the ingenious Germans planted them with greenery and integrated them into their urban landscape.


Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

Teufelsberg, with the abandoned NSA’s listening post. Photo: immodium/

Berlin, being the capital of Nazi Germany, was subjected to heavy bombing. Over three hundred bombing raids were conducted upon Berlin by the British and the Americans, and together they made a third of the city unlivable. Half of all houses were damaged and as much as 16 square kilometers of the city was simply rubble. These gave rise to several Schuttbergs, such as Teufelsberg, Oderbruchkippe, Insulaner and Großer and Kleiner Bunkerberg.

The Teufelsberg is the largest of Berlin’s rubble hills, standing at 115 meters tall. It was built out of approximately 26 million cubic meters of rubble, dumped on top of the Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer. The college was still under construction when the war ended, and the Allies at first tried to blow it up using explosives. But the structure was too solid, and it was decided that covering it with debris was easier. During the Cold War, a listening post was constructed at the peak of Teufelsberg for use by the United States and its allies. The station continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall.

Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

Photo: Christoph/Flickr

The Abandoned NSA Listening Station at Teufelsberg
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Augsburg was bombed twice—in 1942 and again in 1944.

From the earliest times, Augsburg was militarily important due to its strategic location. During the Second World War, Augsburg had several military industries including a U-boat diesel engine factory and a Messerschmitt factory. These factories became the targets of Allied bombing. The first raid was not able to inflict much damage upon Augsburg, but the second raid in 1944 left 85,000 homeless, and nearly a quarter of all homes were destroyed. The rubble was transported to the north of the city, and dumped to create a 55-meter-tall mountain.

Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

Augsburg garbage mountain. Photo: Neitram/Wikimedia Commons

Until the 1980s, the Augsburg-Nord landfill remained a neglected rubbish heap. But after an extensive renovation project, the Schuttberg was converted into recreational area hiking and a place to enjoy nature.


The city of Cologne was also heavily hit by Allied bombers. More than half of all the city’s houses and public buildings were totally destroyed, and nearly all of the others suffered partial damage. Only 300 houses had escaped unscathed.

As many as eleven rubble mountains were created in the Cologne city ​​area, of which Herkulesberg (“Mont Klamott”) is the largest with a height of 25 meters above its surrounding.

Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

Herkulesberg (center) between Colonius and KölnTurm at sunrise. Photo: Raimond Spekking/Wikimedia Commons


The hill Olympiaberg, around which the 1972 Summer Olympics were held, is also a rubble mountain. Another popular landmark in Munich is the 75-meter-tall Fröttmaninger Berg, which was until the 1970s a landfill of war rubble. It was gradually renatured and converted into a local recreation area. Since 1999, its top has been crowned with the Fröttmaning wind turbine, which can be seen from afar.

Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

Olympiaberg. Photo: Andreas Thum/Wikimedia Commons

Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

Luitpoldhügel. Photo: Oliver Raupach/Wikimedia Commons

In Luitpoldpark, a public park in the Schwabing-West borough of Munich, there is another rubble hill. In 1949, following the war, a cross was erected on top of the hill, with an inscription reading, “Pray for and remember all of those who died under the mountains of rubble”.

Related: Monte Testaccio: The 2,000-year-old Garbage Dump in Rome


Stuttgart’s most prominent hill, and the highest point of the city, the Birkenkopf, was once a rubble mountain.

Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

A huge rusty cross on the top of Birkenkopf. Photo: mezzotint/

During the war, nearly half of Stuttgart was destroyed by bombing. The city center was completely razed to the ground. Between 1953 and 1957, some 1.5 million cubic meters of rubble were cleared and moved to the hill, which raised the mountain by around 40 meters. The summit is still jagged with debris and there are many recognizable facades from ruined buildings. The locals call the Birkenkopf “Monte Scherbelino”, which means “Mount Shards”. One of the pieces of rubble has a plaque attached to it, which says: Dieser Berg nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg aufgetürmt aus den Trümmern der Stadt steht den Opfern zum Gedächtnis den Lebenden zur Mahnung, which translates as: “This mountain after World War II, piled up from the ruins of the city, stands as a memorial to the victims and a reminder to the living.”

Schuttberg: Germany’s Rubble Mountains | Amusing Planet Photography

Ruins still visible at the top of Birkenkopf. Photo: Alhoger84/

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