It is hypothesized that allergens are at the borderline of self and non-self and, through as yet elusive circumstances, mount a Th2 response for allergic sensitization. The major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 is considered the prototype for the PR-10 protein family causing respiratory allergy. Here, we give structural evidence that Bet v 1 is a lipocalin-like protein with a striking structural resemblance to human lipocalin 2. Lipocalin 2 is highly expressed in the lung where it exerts immunoregulatory functions dependent on being loaded with siderophore-bound iron (holo-form) or not (apo-form). We demonstrate that similar to lipocalin 2, Bet v 1 is capable of binding iron via catechol-based siderophores. Thereby, calculated Kd values of 66 nm surpassed affinities to known ligands nearly by a power of 10. Moreover, we give functional evidence of the immunomodulatory capacity of Bet v 1 being dependent on its iron-loaded state. When incubated to human immune cells, only the apo-form of Bet v 1, but not the holo-form, was able to promote Th2 cells secreting IL13. These results provide for the first time a functional understanding on the allergenicity of Bet v 1 and a basis for future allergen immunotherapies counteracting Th2 immune responses on a molecular basis.