Berlin, The Heart of Europe
Museums that will blow your mind
Maria De Jesus | November 29, 2018
Berlin is recognized as a world city of culture and creative industries. Numerous cultural institutions, many of which enjoy international reputation are representing the diverse heritage of the city. Many young people, cultural entrepreneurs and international artists continue to settle in the city. Berlin has established itself as a popular entertainment center in Europe.
Berlin is one of the most multi-cultural cities in all of Europe. With a population of 3.5 million people, 470,000 of its residents are residents with foreign passports. As the former capital city of the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and East Germany, this city is bursting with culture and history. In the city of Berlin alone, there are 175 museums. Berlin is said to have more museums than rainy days. If the museums aren’t for you, there’s plenty of history to be seen outside of the museums.
Here are some Museums in Berlin that will make you interested to learn history!
- Neues Museum
Over the last decade the Neues Museum, a bombed-out ruin since 1945, has been repaired and rebuilt by British starchitect David Chipperfield. His recreation is a striking building which can be read like a book, telling – through its original walls, surviving textural details, all-but-lost classical frescos and soaring new spaces – the story of man’s ability to create, destroy and preserve. It is the perfect museum for Berlin. The collection, which includes a Neanderthal skull, the bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti and Heinrich Schliemann’s Trojan antiquities, isn’t half bad either.
- Museum Berggruen
Heinz Berggruen bought his first painting in 1940 for $100 – a watercolour by Paul Klee. Half a century later, he gave to Berlin the bulk of his fabulous collection, then valued at $450m and including 165 masterpieces by Braque, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti. This intimate gallery, situated opposite the Schloss Charlottenburg, also has more than 100 works by Picasso from early student sketches to the blue and rose period through his cubist years and up to the year before his death in April 1973. Guided tours for children are offered on most Saturdays (paper and crayons provided).
- Allied Museum
At the end of the second world war, the victorious Allies divided Berlin into four sectors. Stalin’s secret intention was to draw Berlin – and then the whole of Germany – into the Communist orbit. In 1948 he blockaded the city as a means of driving the Americans out of Europe, but the Allies retaliated by launching the Berlin airlift to sustain its freedom. The cold war heated up and in 1961 the Soviets built the Wall to completely encircle the western sectors. The Allied Museum tells the story of those years. Displays include the guardhouse from Checkpoint Charlie, an RAF Hastings, as well as a section of the Berlin spy tunnel, the largest ever SIS/CIA operation.
- Käthe Kollwitz Museum
Of all Berlin’s artists, no one captured the pain suffered in and exported from this place more than Käthe Kollwitz. The intense intimacy of her work revealed residents’ hopes and horrors, as well as the unspoken pains of the poor, in images and forms which – 60 years after her death – still appear to burst from the artist’s heart. This privately owned museum, just off the Ku’damm, includes hundreds of her finest drawings, etchings and sculptures. A passageway connects the museum to the neighbouring Literaturhaus, with one of the city’s most civilised cafes.
- Bauhaus Archives – Museum of Design
Berlin has long been a capital of creativity but unlike London, Paris and New York the radiance of its arts shines brightest against the darkness in its past. The city is the spiritual home of the Bauhaus, the most influential school of architecture, design and art in the 20th century. Its Archive – or Museum of Design – houses a sensational collection of sculptures, ceramics, furniture and architectural models by Walter Gropius, Moholy-Nagy, Klee, Kandinsky and the many others who – with the Nazis’ rise to power – fled Germany and carried modernism to the New World. A free guided tour runs every Sunday at 3pm.
- New Museum
Built in the 19th century by one of Berlin’s most famous and prolific architects, Friedrich August Stüler, the New Museum (“Neues Museum”) was all but destroyed during WW2. It remained a bombed out ruin for years under GDR rule, before being restored and reopened by British architect David Chipperfield in 1999. The new building, made from recycled bricks and retaining some original elements, is an exquisite mix of old and new, or in Chipperfield’s words: “The contemporary reflects the lost, but without imitating it.”
Inside the stunning building you’ll find a vast collection of Egyptian art and classical antiquities, plus one of the city’s most famous artefacts: the bust of Nefertiti. Created in 1345 B.C, it’s one of the most copied pieces of Egyptian art ever and truly is a thing of beauty.
- Berlin Wall Memorial
If you really want to understand the Berlin Wall, skip the crowds at the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie and head to this moving and totally free museum just north of the centre. The museum explains how and why the wall came about, with footage of its construction. A viewing platform allows you to see a section of the wall as it was, complete with death strip and watchtowers, whilst plaques at ground level mark the many escape tunnels dug by desperate East Germans, with information about how many people died or escaped there.
This is one of the most moving museums in Berlin, and really helps those who didn’t experience the horror first hand understand the impact of the Berlin Wall on ordinary people’s lives.
- Natural History Museum
When is a museum more than a museum? Well, when that museum is also a research facility, dedicated to the study of life and planet Earth, meaning a constantly evolving collection as new and important discoveries are made. The collection consists of over 30 million items and counting – more are being added as you read this – covering zoology, palaeontology, geology and mineralogy. That means there are bugs and rocks and snails and lizards and fossils and fishes, birds, mammals, snakes, frogs, plants, meteorites, you name it…
Leave a Reply