At the site of today's Raschplatz, a large, walled-in complex of buildings was erected between 1865 and 1875 and housed Hannover's royal penitentiary until 1963. The compound dominated the "Oststadt", the quarter behind the station, and made a sinister impression on visitors.
The fact that convicted criminals were guillotined in the prison yard in plain view of the people living in the surrounding houses did not enhance the gloom-laden atmosphere of the area. This is why, from 1937 on, the executions were carried out in Wolfenbüttel.
Cheap housing for the poor
In the mid-1960s, the prison was torn down and the Raschplatz quarter was redesigned. However, this did not result in a rapid upswing of the area. Until the 1970s, it was marked by poverty with a population of students, older people, families with many children and immigrant workers in need of affordable housing. Poverty encouraged crime: a criminal drug scene established itself at the Raschplatz, giving it the nickname "Haschplatz".
From humble to hip
The construction of the underground railway and the Niki-de-Saint-Phalle shopping arcade (then Passerelle) in the 1970s finally lead to an upgrading of Raschplatz and Oststadt. The square behind the station was redesigned and connected to the pedestrian shopping zone of the Lister Meile. The direct connection with the city and an extensive redevelopment of residential and commercial buildings attracted the more affluent citizens. Today, the Oststadt is one of the most popular residential areas in Hannover, and the Raschplatz has become a nightlife hotspot with discos, restaurants, bars and cinemas.