German Garden Colonies

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Germany has tons of great paths making exercise easy to come by. If you’ve walked/biked along any path in Germany you’ve surely seen some garden colonies. Perhaps you didn’t know what they were, but you’ve seen them! At first glance they might look like slums or communities for garden gnomes. Those peculiar settlements of tiny little houses with allotment gardens, known as the "Schrebergarten," are a typically German phenomenon.

While "urban gardening" has recently become very a trend worldwide, it has been part of the German culture dating back to the 19th century.

"When the allotment gardens were initially created, they aimed to combat extreme poverty and malnutrition for urban families, but gardeners are now rediscovering the joys of digging the earth and making a statement against consumerism by growing their own vegetables.."

When the allotment gardens were initially created, they aimed to combat extreme poverty and malnutrition for urban families, but gardeners are now rediscovering the joys of digging the earth and making a statement against consumerism by growing their own vegetables. During World Wars I and II, the food produced in those gardens became essential for many families' survival.

The allotments are not easy to come by with over 12,000 people on waiting lists! This video explains the Germans love their garden colonies!

Today the garden colonies provide more than just gardening; many Germans who do not spend spring-fall traveling are content with leisure time spent in the colonies. Many have fest tables, fire pits, barbecue grills, and a shady place to relax. The colonies are also a place to bond with other gardeners and to socialize.


The garden colonies we've come across in Barvaria definitely do not look like "slums"; they are very well manicured with well trimmed hedges creating natural fences between the allotments. While most gardens are probably still dedicated to produce, we have seen some with gorgeous flowers and even greenhouses for tropical plants.


I wonder if there's any governing agency that actually inspects what everyone is growing! :)