The Pfaueninsel is located in the Berlin district of Wannsee and about 15 minutes from our company headquarters. Together with the castles and parks of Sanssouci in Potsdam, it is on the list of UNESCO as a world cultural heritage, because it is closely connected with important events and persons of Brandenburg-Prussian history.
Contrary to what you might think, the island was known as Peacock Island long before peacocks settled here. In the second half of the 16th century, Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg (the Great Elector) used the island primarily for a profitable rabbit breeding, which gave it the unofficial name Kabinchenwerder.
It was not until the end of the 17th century that Frederick William II, the nephew and successor of Frederick the Great, moved the first peacocks from Gut Sacrow to the island. His son Frederick William III continued his project and brought over 800 exotic animals to the island until 1832. His son Frederick William IV did not share his father’s passion and so a large part of the animal stock was transferred to the Berlin Zoological Society in 1842. This laid the foundation for the Berlin Zoological Garden, which opened its doors in 1844 as the first zoo in Germany.
In the following decades, the island was rarely used and the funds required for care were cut further and further. After the First World War, the island was supposed to be used primarily for commercial purposes. However, on the basis of a study by Wolfgang Stichel on the flora and fauna worthy of protection, the Peacock Island was granted the status of a nature reserve in 1924.
The appearance of the island has hardly changed in the last decades. The care and conservation is based on the flowering period around 1835 and there are currently between 35 and 100 free-range peacocks on the island. Including a white albino peacock.
Today the island is a very popular excursion destination and can only be reached by a small ferry. Here is a small video of our visit to Peacock Island in summer 2018.