The federal capital of Berlin is well-known for many things far beyond the national borders, especially for the multi-faceted world famous museums of Berlin, which have developed an international reputation. Over 175 Berlin museums give visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in history and art from all over the world, and represent the knowledge of mankind. World-famous art treasures, such as the bust of Queen Nefertiti at the New Museum or the Pergamon Altar at the Pergamon Museum, attract thousands of visitors each year.
Outstanding museums of Berlin
We have chosen some of the most significant museums and exhibitions, which will give your travel programme of a city trip to Berlin a special touch.
Art museums in Berlin – The museums on the Museum Island (Museumsinsel) (UNESCO World Heritage)
Framed by the Spree River and the Kupfergraben, the Museum Island is located in the city centre of Berlin and therefore the centerpiece of the world of museums in Berlin. The world wide unique monumental structure, with its five temple-like buildings, holds remarkable treasures from 6,000 years of human history and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999. The Old Museum, which is located nearby the Lustgarten, was built in 1830 and the New Museum was constructed between 1843 and 1855. At the end of the 19th century the construction works were continued, followed by the Bode Museum as well as the current Pergamon Museum, which was constructed in 1907.
The Pergamon Museum
At the beginning of the 20th century the Pergamon Museum was created as the last of the five exhibition buildings on the Museum Island, and houses the Collection of Classical Antiquities with the halls of antique architecture and the museums section of ancient sculptures, the Museum of the Ancient Near East and the Museum of Islamic Art. Impressive reconstructions of archaeological singularities, such as the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate in-cluding the Processional Way of Babylon, or the Mshatta Facade, have made the Pergamon Museum famous throughout the world and it soon became the crowd puller of the Berlin State Museums.
The New Museum
The New Museum presents its visitors the history of art, museums and technology of the 19th century. It combines in terms of time and space interrelated exhibits out of three collections: the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, the Museum of Pre- and Early History and the Collection of Classical Antiquities. Visitors and those who are interested in arts get the opportunity to trace the development of prehistoric and protohistoric cultures in detail, spanning from the Middle East to the Atlantic, from North Africa to Scandinavia.
The Bode Museum
The Bode Museum (Bodemuseum): When the former Kaiser Friedrich Museum opened in October 1904, paintings and sculptures, which were considered the “high arts” at the time, were presented for the very first time side by side and of equal importance. The manner of staging and presentation also differed radically from that of traditional museums. Contrary to the original idea, the building mainly houses the Sculpture Collection and the Museum of Byzantine Art. The Collection of Coins, which presents the metallic chronicle of human history, can also be exhibited at the Bode Museum.
The Ancient National Gallery
The Ancient National Gallery: The idea of creating a "sanctuary for art and science" in the heart of Berlin, just in between the City Palace, the cathedral and the university, dates back to the time of Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Also the basic architectural idea for today’s Ancient National Gallery – an ancient temple-like building sitting enthroned on a pedestal – came from the king himself. The museum is considered as an extensive art collection from the era between the French Revolution and the World War I., the Classicism and the Secessions.
The Old Museum
Since 1904, the Old Museum has been housing a world-famous collection of Greek art: the Collection of Classical Antiquities. This listed historical building is one of the most important buildings of Classicism and is considered as the high point of Friedrich Schinkel’s architectural life. The monumental arrangements of eighteen Ionic columns, the extensive atrium, the rotunda – an explicit reference to the Roman Pantheon – as well as the staircase are architectural elements which, up to now, were provided for royal residences only.
Kulturforum at the Potsdamer Platz
The Kulturforum, near the Potsdamer Platz, represents with its museums, libraries and concert halls a place of art, culture and research, which is due to its enormous and exceptional variety. This is where the cultural centre of West Berlin was meant to establish itself as a counterpart to the Museum Island, after World War II. and the division of the city into West and East.
This situation changed after the German reunification. Through the consolidation of the Berlin State Museums in the eastern and western parts of the city, the Art Gallery, the Gallery of Prints, the Art Library as well as some special exhibition halls were built. Temporary special exhibitions to main themes of the European art and cultural history make the Cultural Forum a very attractive place for many visitors.
For your group trip to Germany we would be pleased to organise a customised city trip programme to Berlin - Please feel free to contact us! Furthermore, we are happy to arrange sightseeing tours and guided museum tours for your trip through Berlin too.
In the new museum of Berlin © AugustusTours
Ancient National Gallery © Jana Reuther
New National Gallery; © Berlin Partner GmbH-Scholvien