Travel Guide: The Museums of Berlin Offer Abundant Cultural Discovery

With astonishing choice of 175 museums, Berlin offers a cultural oasis in an urban jungle. The colourful palette of tastes is pretty surprising, depicting Berlin’s rich history. From computer games to the artistic collections, Berlin entices visitors to the museum world.

The famed Museum Island covers the five most important ones. The large panorama of topics flows from prehistory to modern art. It lies right in the historical centre and attracts millions of visitors every year. The architecture spells unveiled magic to its alluring charm.

The free museums are a bit rare to see, unlike in London. Several free museums can spoil your cultural urge, but the Berlin Museum Pass is the most convenient solution.

The Museum Island

The Museum Island is a complex of five museums lying on the river Spree in the historic heart of Berlin. It’s entitled as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, covering historical and art collections. The Museum Island belongs to the top museums in the world.

Picturesque location of the Museum Island at the river Spree
Picturesque location of Museum Island on the river Spree- Credit:

Probably the most famous is the Pergamon Museum, a marvellous archeological museum. The Altes Museum covers the panorama of classical artwork like ancient Greece and Rome. The Neues Museum depicts ancient Egyptian art. The Alte Nationalgalerie houses artistic pieces from the 19th century. The Bode Museum collects sculptures from the medieval times to the late 18th century.

The Museum Island was built from 1830 till 1930 by order of the Prussian kings. The Berlin Palace (former Royal Palace) is also nestled in the fabulous ambience of Museum Island. Today it houses the Humboldt Forum, which was opened in 2020. The James Simon Gallery was opened in 2019.

History of the Museum Island

The Old Museum framed the first signs of Museum Island with its opening in 1830. The idea of opening the historical artworks to everyone puts the seeds into this amazing site. The Lustgarten park near the Berlin Cathedral has a more attractive appearance. The educational ideas of the Enlightenment put the shine to birth of Museum Island. The first exhibition was held in 1797.

The Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed the plans which would host the first exhibits. At the end of the 1870, the today’s name Museum’s Island shaped the history. The central aim of the Museum Island by the Prussian King Frederick William IV was art and science. The German historian Peter-Klaus Schuster intended to design the Louvre on the Spree.

The bridge passages at the Museum promenade were destroyed due to World War II.

The Pergamon Museum

The Pergamon Museum was built from 1910 till 1930 and developed into the most visited museum in Berlin. It collects classical antic artwork, the Middle East Museum and the Islamic Art Museum. The Pergamon Altar is the most famous one where Gigantomachy becomes the central story. It depicts the battle between the Giants and the Olympian Gods.

The large three-wing building took the design by Alfred Messel. It was severely damaged during the Second World War. Some of the items are replaced in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

The Pergamon altar at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin
The Pergamon altar at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin- Credit:

The Middle East Museum glorifies the Ishtar Gate as one of the first examples of azulejo art. Market Gate Miletus is an impressive example of Roman architecture. It derives from the Greek city Miletus in today’s Turkey. The Mshatta Facade holds the rich stucco decor.

History Museums in Berlin

The rich history of Berlin bursts into the panorama of its museums. Not only the capital’s history, the choice conveys even ancient Egypt. The future visions and stories come live at Futurium, which is open in 2019. The art history will also spoil you on Museum Island. Berlin will unveil the hidden treasures for history buffs.

The German Historical Museum occupies the central place. Discovering German history in the European frame becomes eclectic in the beautiful Baroque house. The modern glass building houses temporary exhibitions.

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum is intertwined between a Baroque palace and a contemporary building in glass and metal. It tells stories about German-Jewish history. In the design of the architect Daniel Libeskind, it represents not only a building. The Jewish Museum was opened in 2001.

The aerial view of the Jewish Museum in Berlin which consists of the Baroque and glass building
The aerial view of the Jewish Museum in Berlin which consists of the Baroque and glass building- Credit:

The times from the Middle Age to the present day shine in an interactive way in the permanent exhibition. The design truly takes the visitors into the 3d experience between the sloping floors and angled walls. The installation Shalekhet (fallen leaves) represents the victims of war. More than 10 000 iron plates on the floor depict faces with open mouths.

The ANOHA children’s museum takes a special place in the former flower market hall. The starting point is the story from Noah’s Ark.

The ziggzagg corridors and angles in the Jewish Museum dwell in the world of artwork.

Stasi Museum

The Stasi Museum is a research and memorial centre dedicated to the secret police of the East Germany. The Ministry for the State Security is also known as Stasi. Erich Mielke, as the head of the Stasi from 1957 till 1989, is giving focus to the exhibition, especially his office rooms.

Located in Normannenstraße, you can discover how the Stasi operates, including the original technology. The Museum is not as much interactive as it requires patience.

From 1961, the Ministry of National Security took place in the building till 1989 when demonstrators arrived. Visitors can discover the prisoners’ van or hidden cameras.

Palace of Tears

The Palace of Tears depicts Berlin during the Cold War standing between the East and West Berlin. Many fearful farewells took place at this museum adjacent to the train station.

Art Museums in Berlin

The German capital bursts with cultural shine. All spheres of time come to the surface, starting from Museum Island. The masterpieces by Monet, Cezanne, Picasso or Matisse deserve their German perspective.

Museum Berggruen

Located adjacent to the Charlottenburg Palace, this gem of modern art lies on the western outskirts of Berlin. It was founded by the art collector Hanz Berggruen in 1996 as a gift to his hometown.

The artworks by Picasso, Klee, Matisse, Braque and Giacometti offer a stunning panorama of allure. „Picasso and his times“ is the core exhibition which occupies three floors. Collaborating with the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Berggruen initiated the idea.

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace allures the magic of rococo in its elegant shine. This magnificent palace is dedicated to Sophie Charlotte of Hannover, the first queen of Prussia.

It was her summer palace that opened its doors in 1699 as Lietzenburg Palace. Sophie Charlotte was an accomplished musician and lover of the arts. The Palace attracts numerous tourists in Charlottenburg near Berlin. It also shapes the artistic pearl in Berlin with its gardens.

The gardens of the Charlottenburg Palace near Berlin
The gardens of the Charlottenburg Palace near Berlin- Credit:

In the New Wing, the Golden Gallery gives place to the rococo ballroom. The marvellous collection of porcelain absorbs the magic of the place. The Baroque gardens took the design of Simeon Godeau who was inspired by Versailles. The Park enchants with its mausoleum, the Belvedere tea house and New Pavillon.

Old National Gallery

The Old National Gallery ornates the Museum Island as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built from 1862 to 1876 following the request of the Prussian king, Frederick William IV. It hosts the marvellous artworks of the 19th century. The names like Caspar David Friedrich, Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir have carved their traces here.

The donations of Johann Heinrich Wagener shaped the seeds of the Old National Gallery. The gracious design of the building belongs to Friedrich August Stüler. It truly resembles a Roman temple.

Classicism defines the design and the content of the building. The detailed works of Adolph Menzel fill the first floor and the second is dedicated to the Impressionists. The famous paintings by Monet, Renoir and Manet will glorify your visit.

The Romantic Goethe period shines on the third floor with the artworks of Caspar David Friedrich as the highlight.

Bode Museum

The Bode Museum, or formerly Kaiser-Friedrich Museum stands on the Museum Island. It was built from 1898 to 1904 in the Baroque style. Monbijou Bridge leads to this picturesque location and an impressive dome. The Bode Museum covers a large panorama of content including sculptures, coins and medals and Byzantine art.

The name came in 1956 due to the first curator, Wilhelm von Bode. He was the German art historian and museum curator.

The beautiful dome of the Bode Museum in Berlin enlightened at night-
The beautiful dome of the Bode Museum in Berlin enlightened at night- Credit:

The museum was closed from 1997 till 2006 due to repairs. The blend of art collections is the main idea of the museum.

The equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm von Branderburg decorates the entering dome. Two upper floors invite the magic within the marble floors and elegant ceilings. The artworks by Donatello and Tilman Riemenschneider allure the shine of the walls.

The largest collection of coins tells the stories from the past.

Quirky Museums of Berlin

Berlin is a city that sparkles the cultural shine and attracts to visit the places like the Museum Island. It also hides a bunch of unusual, quirky museums that scatter the invite.

I’ll emphasize several museums, but there are many others, like the Berlin Hemp Museum, Ramones Museum, the Museum of Extraordinary things. The Lipstick Museum sounds pretty attractive, just like the Museum of Letters. The Museum of Silence is an unusual wonder where peace gives the throne to the eternal questions.

DDR Museum

The DDR museum unveils the secrets of the former East Germany in a funny and abundant way. Nestled on the river Spree just across the Berlin cathedral, it’s one of the most popular museums in the city.

The DDR Museum celebrates the everyday life of people that differs from the rest of the world. Opened in 2006, it was awarded as the European Museum of the Year in 2008.

The DDR Museum in Berlin depicts the everyday life in the previous Deutschen Demokratischen Republik
The DDR Museum in Berlin depicts the everyday life in the previous Deutschen Demokratischen Republik- Credit:

DDR Museum holds the exhibits and installations where visitors can absorb all the senses. Three main topics are: public life, state and ideology and life in a tower block. The areas of the media, youth, fashion, literature, music come into focus.

Currywurst Museum

This museum celebrates Berlin’s most popular street food. From the moments when it was invented in the 1940s, it dives into the history of this lovely sausage. It’s also pretty interactive and fun to learn about the city’s iconic dish. Currywurst is definitely a part of Berlin’s food culture. It opened in 2009 upon the idea of Martin Löwer during his holiday trip in Jamaica. The currywurst itself was invented in 1949 by Herta Heuwer.

At the snack bar, you can try many varieties of currywurst. Served with curried sauce and chips, you can enjoy this dish on the sofa shaped like a giant sausage.

Computer Games Museum

Opened in 2011, this museum dwells in the cultural history of video games. The highlights are Poly-Play gambling machine, PainStation and more. Video gaming culture belongs to the modern ones.

With over 300 exhibits, you’ll absorb the origins of video games to its modern times. The largest panorama of computer games in Europe is here in the former Café Warschau.

Gas Lamp Open-Air Museum

The largest collection of lanterns in Europe shapes this unusual outdoor museum. Located in Tiergarten, the first days of the museum go back to 1978. The beginnings are accompanied with electric lamps that replace the gas lanterns.

The Gas Lamp Open-Air Museum in the popular Tiergarten, Berlin
The Gas Lamp Open-Air Museum in the popular Tiergarten, Berlin- Credit:

The popular park Tiergarten allures the relaxing atmosphere that evolved from the royal past. Blending with the lovely park, visitors almost don’t recognize the museum. That’s why it’s open all the time but the government is looking for the new location due to vandalism.

Some of the lanterns have rather quirky names, like” Wilmersdorf Widow” or “Copper’s Leg“.

Conclusion- Amazing Museums of Berlin

Berlin dwells in its turbulent past rich with cultural shine. Its museums are alone the reason to experience the authentic side of Berlin. The hidden treasures float on the surface to become magically visible attractions.

The picturesque location of Museum Island cherishes the elegant significance of museums. Where art blends with history, the hank of wisdom speaks to the world. The message of the prominent role comes with the artists that transformed the world.

Berlin sparkles with the magic that belongs to the museums. Almost 200 of them are worth exploring every day of the year. The Puppentheatre holds the exquisite world of the marionettes, some of them creepy but most are cute.

Did you know that Modellpark Berlin entices the miniature version of the best sights in Berlin?

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