Berlin City Guide > Berlin Museums
Berlin is well known as a capital heaped with culture, but did you know that the city has over 200 museums? Museum-hopping is not only an incredibly enjoyable way of seeing the city, but it will also give you a unique insight into Germany’s distinctive cultural past. With so many to choose from, however, how do you know where to begin?
Best for German art
The Hamburger Bahnhof gallery, based in an old railway station, houses some of the world’s best known modern art works. The exhibitions here offer a unique insight into how art, culture and indeed life in Germany has evolved since the mid 1900s. You’ll find pieces by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as whole floor dedicated to eccentric performance artists and art theorist, Joseph Beuys.
Best for German design
The Bauhaus Archives at the Museum of Design on Klingelhöferstrasse celebrates the city’s positioning as one of the world’s most innovative design centres. Here you’ll see architectural models, sculpture, furniture and much more from some of Germany’s great design thinkers including Walter Gropius and Kandinsky.
Best for experiencing Germany’s communist past
Visitors to the unique DDR Museum on the River Spree are taken back in time, to experience what life was like in East Germany under communist rule. Very hands-on and brilliantly executed, this interactive museum is a stark reminder of a not so distant past. Located on the River Spree.
Best for classical art and antiquities
Five of Berlin’s top museums are found on Museum Island right in the center of the city. The Bode, the Pergamon, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Altes Museum all offer unique collections not found anywhere else. One highlight is the Egyptian collection (Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, see photo above) in the Neues Museum, but each one of Museum Island’s exhibitions is well worth a visit.
Best for understanding the war
The impact of the Second World War has had a huge effect on the collective psyche of Germany, and there are many excellent museums in Berlin dedicated to remembering and learning from the tragedies. These include the impressive Holocaust Memorial (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; be sure also to see the underground exhibit there) and the very moving War Memorial sculpture. The Jewish Museum in Lindenstrasse not only examines the extermination of the Jews in World War II, but celebrates Jewish German culture from the 1800s right up to the present day.
Best for getting to grips with Berlin’s favorite food
If you’re looking for some light relief, it doesn’t come much lighter than the playful Currywurst Museum. The curried sausage is something of a Berlin delicacy, and you’ll even get a taste of one thrown in with the ticket price. Delicious.
Of course, this list only scratches the surface of the many, many museums and galleries in Berlin. Indeed, a number of holiday companies offer travelers looking for a European break organized Berlin trips that provide comprehensive museum tours. Passes are available that provide entry to around 50 of the museums for three days, so if you are a dedicated culture vulture then these could be good options. Whether you do a whistle stop tour or spend a long time in a chosen few, there’s no better way to explore Germany’s culture, past and present than through its many museums.
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AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Berlin at a Glance – An overview of what to see and do
- Berlin City Guide – Berlin and Potsdam
- Public Transport in Germany – Getting around locally via S-Bahn, U-Bahn, bus, and tram
- The East Side Gallery in Berlin (The Berlin Wall)
- Boulevard der Stars – Berlin’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Potsdam and Sanssouci, near Berlin – both historic and scenic.
- City Guides: Germany – More cities
- Hotels and B&Bs
- Driving in Europe – Tips for driving in Germany and Europe
- Air Travel – Flying to, from or in Germany
- Rail Travel in Germany
- Travel and Tourism – Travel-related information for Germany, Austria, Switzerland
- Notable People – Bios of notable people from the German-speaking world
ON THE WEB
- Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Official Berlin museums website, in English and German
- berlin.de – Official site
- BVG – Berlin’s public transportation agency (maps, schedules)
- Berlin Museums and Institutions – Official museum site in English
- Berlin Airports – Arrivals/departures, info, etc.
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