Kaiser Bill’s Berlin

In November 1918, Germany’s last Kaiser - Wilhelm II - was not only reviled across Europe as the main instigator of World War One - he had also thoroughly outstayed his welcome in his home town of Berlin. As he went off into exile in Holland, the people of the city, war-weary and hungry, were all too glad to see the back of the weltfremd Kaiser.

Yet in recent decades, historical research has begun to take a more sympathetic view of the notoriously bumptious, autocratic ruler, gradually dissolving the long-held conviction that he alone was responsible for WWI.

This two-hour, three-km walk through ‘Wilhelmine Berlin’ - created especially for the centenary of WWI - looks afresh at Wilhelm II’s thirty-year reign and his fascinating legacy on the city in terms of culture, politics, science and architecture. Cutting right through the heart of the city, taking in the Berliner Dom, Unter den Linden and the Reichstag, it also provides a wonderful foundation for understanding the contemporary city.

About The Tour Leader

Robin Oomkes studied Maritime History at Leiden University in his native Netherlands. He has lived in the USA, UK, Germany and Belgium, and is currently enjoying a sabbatical leave in Berlin, as a trailing spouse of his diplomat partner. His main interests are the history of Wilhelmine Germany and the GDR, transportation (cycling, cars, trains, planes, boats…), and photography. He speaks Dutch, English, German and French, and loves hiking, singing, and touring Europe by camper van. He’s sold on Slow Travel but very much tempted by German fast food. He blogs over at www.deademperorssociety.com.


€20 per person for 2-3 hours. Private tours and groups can be arranged in advance.

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  1. David Volpe says:

    my parents took the tour with Robin – they had a great time and were extremely impressed by his knowledge of the city and its history. I’d recommend this tour to anyone interested in the history of Berlin between the first and second World War.

  2. Meghan Keast says:

    We are just back from an impressive tour with Robin. His rich knowledge of history made for an outstanding tour. This tour is a great way to wrap your head around the complex history of Berlin as seen through one pivotal man, Kaiser Wilhelm II. I highly suggest this tour, it’s a great way to see the important sites in Berlin and understand their significance. Great if you are a first time visitor, or like me a three year resident.

  3. Mikael Suomela says:

    We liked the tour a lot! The route was very well thought out and Robin had a nice way of telling the Wilhelmine stories via the buildings and sites we visited. Berlin has so many layers of history, Robin very nicely led us thru the Wilhelmine era, at the same time adding stories from the later eras. Highly recommended!

  4. Emily Rogers says:

    We have just returned from a fantastic walking tour, robin is very knowledgable and holds the attention of the group well. Very interesting and very willing to be flexible with the route to incorporate any requests of locations. Thoroughly enjoyed this tour and would recomend it to anyone with an interest in both the cultural and political influences of Wilhelm via the architecture of the city.

  5. Stephen Rogers says:

    An outstanding tour and a really insightful introduction to the City. I thoroughly recommend this walk with Robin.

  6. Tracy says:

    My husband, myself and our two daughters (20 and 22) took the Kaiser Bill tour with Robin our first day in Berlin and it was a fantastic introduction to the city. Robin is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his subject; we found ourselves spouting the information we learned from him throughout our stay.
    Thank you Robin, the girls were dubious about walking for 2 hours, but it was so interesting, they didnt mind a bit!

  7. Sophie says:

    A solid introduction to Wilhelm II and his imperial city. Thank you Robin for a truly enjoyable tour!

  8. Sue says:

    This review is long over-due. We took the tour 2 months ago on an early day in our Berlin stay. What we found is that the tour stayed with us and continued to guide our remaining time in that wonderful city. Now, months later, we still talk about that tour and continue to find new meanings in it.

    With thanks to you, Robin, for helping us better understand this world (who KNEW that the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s 9th remains separated from its siblings…)

    Thank you, Robin –

  9. Shelagh & Nick says:

    An enjoyable and informative tour. Robin’s intelligent and engaging approach reveals the histories behind some of some of Berlin’s iconic buildings. Along the way he raises some interesting questions about what should be and can be restored and preserved from Berlin’s Imperial, Fascist and Communist past.
    Two hours very well spent.

  10. Janey Lawry-White says:

    We (my husband, daughter and I) took the tour with Robin today and it was a fascinating 3 hours. (It took longer than the scheduled 2 hours because we asked so many questions, nearly all of which Robin could answer in detail.) Robin has huge knowledge about Kaiser Bill and about many other aspects of Berlin’s and Germany’s history. It was a wonderful way to learn about the history of this city and has been the highlight of a lovely weekend here. We would thoroughly recommend the tour to anyone who is in the city. Thanks so much.

  11. Charis Lawry-White says:

    This was a outstanding tour! Thank you very much Robin! The combination of your encyclopaedic knowledge and your relaxed and personable character made this experience extremely enjoyable. I will definitely be looking out for your next one and would recommend it to locals, tourists, anyone.

    Many thanks again!

  12. charlie says:

    wonderful historical tour with Robin this morning. He really knows his stuff. Great introduction to the background history of the many famous buildings that comprise some of the must-see architecture in Berlin. Great way to start a visit here. Thank you!

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