Berlin museums

Berlin museums

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With its scores of museums and art galleries displaying everything from Babylonian relics to the latest video installations, Berlin covers almost every kind of art imaginable. We provide you with an overview of the most important current exhibitions

Altes Museum
Bodestraße 1-3 (entrance from Lustgarten)
10178 Berlin
Tel: 030 20 90 52 44
www.smpk.de/ant/e/s.html
Open: Tues to Sun 10am - 6pm
U-Bahn/S-Bahn Friedrichstrasse, S-Bahn Hackescher Markt

If you like Greek urns, you'll love the Altes Museum. Here you'll find a large part of the Berlin State Museums' collection of antiquities (the rest is in the Pergamon), which seems to consist largely of urns. Other non-urn highlights include beautiful Scythian gold and mysterious Cycladic figurines. The upper floor of this imposing 19th century neo-classical building (designed by Schinkel) hosts temporary exhibitions.

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Alte Nationalgalerie
Bodestrasse 1-3
10178 Berlin
Tel: 030 20 90 58 01
www.smb.spk-berlin.de/ang/e/s.html
Open: Tues to Sun 10am - 6pm, Thurs 10am - 10pm
U-Bahn/S-Bahn Friedrichstrasse, S-Bahn Hackescher Markt

The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) is home to one of the largest collections of 19th century sculptures and paintings in Germany, displayed to perfection in the newly-reopened 19th century building. Highlights include the Caspar David Friedrich room with its eerie moonlit landscapes, and the Impressionist collection.

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Bauhaus-Archiv
Klingelhöferstraße 14
10785 Berlin (Tiergarten)
Open daily (except Tuesday) 10am - 5pm

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Deutsche Guggenheim
Unter den Linden 13-15
10117 Berlin
Tel: 030 20 20 93 0
www.deutsche-bank-kunst.com/guggenheim/e/
Open: Mon to Sun 11am - 8 pm, Thurs 11am - 10pm
S-Bahn Unter den Linden, Friedrichstraße

A joint venture between the Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Deutsche Guggenheim is a small gallery space which features exhibitions (often specially commissioned) by internationally-acclaimed contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Dan Flavin or Bill Viola. As the museum is closed in the couple of weeks between exhibitions, it's best to check that there is actually something on before making the trip. Go on Mondays when entrance is free, otherwise you might feel that you aren't getting your money's worth (first-time visitors may find themselves looking for the rest of the gallery, only to find there isn't any). The shop is good for quirky Berlin souvenirs such as models of the TV Tower.

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Deutsches Historisches Museum
Unter den Linden 2
10117 Berlin
Tel: 030 20 30 40
www.dhm.de
Open: Mon to Sun 10am – 6pm
S-Bahn Hackescher Markt, Friedrichstraße

The German Historical Museum is still being renovated and the permanent exhibition in the Zeughaus is not scheduled to open until the end of 2004. In the meantime there are temporary exhibitions in the highly-acclaimed exhibition hall designed by the architect I.M. Pei (address: Hinter dem Gießhaus 3).

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Ethnological Museum
Lansstr. 8
Berlin-Dahlem
Tel: 030 830 14 38
Open: Tue to Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat, Sun 11am - 6pm
U-Bahn Dahlem Dorf

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Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery)
Stauffenbergstraße 40
10785 Berlin
Tel: 030 26 62 951
www.smb.spk-berlin.de/gg/e/s.html
Open: Tues to Sun 10am - 6pm, Thurs 10am - 10pm
U-Bahn/S-Bahn Potsdamer Platz

One of the most important museums in Berlin, the Gemäldegalerie has one of the world's finest collections of early European art. Among the big names you can find here are Bruegel, Dürer, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Vermeer and Rembrandt (the octagonal Rembrandt room is one of the museum's highlights). There is also a 'digital gallery' where interactive PCs let you find out more about the museum's collection.

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Hamburger Bahnhof (Museum für Gegenwart)

Hamburger Bahnhoff

 


Invalidenstraße 50-51
10557 Berlin
Tel: 030 39 78 34 11
Open: Tues to Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat, Sun 11am – 6pm
www.hamburgerbahnhof.de
www.smb.spk-berlin.de/hbf
S-Bahn Hauptbahnhof (Lehrter Stadtbahnhof)

 

Housed in an imposing former railway station, the grandly-named Museum for the Present has a permanent collection featuring works from artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Joseph Beuys (whose installations occupy the whole ground floor of one wing). The museum also plays host to temporary exhibitions like the Saatchi show 'Sensation'; in contrast to the furore it inspired in New York, the unflappable Berliners took it in their stride.

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Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum)
Lindenstraße 9-14
10969 Berlin
Tel: 030 25 99 33 00
Open: Mon 10am - 10pm (last entry 9pm), Tues to Sun 10am - 8pm (last entry 7pm)
www.jmberlin.de
U-Bahn Hallesches Tor

Unquestionably one of the most interesting buildings in Berlin, the Jewish Museum is worth seeing simply for Daniel Libeskind's breathtaking architecture. This extraordinary building, with its unforgiving angles, disjointed spaces and stark concrete, has a tendency to overwhelm the exhibits within its walls. Which is not to say that the exhibitions are not interesting; on the contrary, the permanent exhibition 'Two Millenia of German Jewish History' is fascinating and often very moving (although its cuddlier aspects - like play areas for the kids - are oddly incongruous with the subject matter) and the temporary exhibitions are creative and well-designed.

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The Kennedys
Pariser Platz 4a (near Brandenburg Gate)
Berlin-Mitte
Open daily 10am - 6pm
S-Bahn Unter der Linden

A new museum dedicated to the Kennedy family, whose most famous son, John F. Kennedy made an equally famous visit to Berlin during the Cold War and uttered those immortal words "Ich bin ein Berliner."

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Martin-Gropius-Bau
Niederkirchnerstraße 7 / corner Stresemannstr. 110
10963 Berlin
Tel: 030 25 48 61 12
www.gropiusbau.de
Open: Wed to Mon 10am – 8pm
U-Bahn/S-Bahn Potsdamer Platz, S-Bahn Anhalter Bahnhof

Designed by the architect Martin Gropius (great-uncle of Walter Gropius) in 1877, this magnificient neo-Renaissance museum was originally built as a museum of arts and crafts. Restored in the 1990s after WW2 bomb damage, the Martin-Gropius-Bau is now run by the Berliner Festspiele on behalf of the federal state, and hosts large-scale international exhibitions.

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Museum für Indische Kunst
Lansstraße 8
Berlin-Dahlem
U-Bhf. Dahlem Dorf

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Neue Nationalgalerie
Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin
Tel: 030 26 62 65 1
www.smb.spk-berlin.de/nng
Open: Tues, Wed, Sun 10am - 6pm, Thurs to Sat 10am - 10pm
U-Bahn and S-Bahn station Potsdamer Platz

A huge glass cube designed by Mies van der Rohe, the New National Gallery is a landmark in the Potsdamer Platz area. The focus here is on 20th century art, and the permanent collection includes works by Munch, Dali, Miro and Picasso, as well as pre-war German artists such as Paul Klee, Otto Dix, and Ernst Kirchner, whose famous 'Potsdamer Platz' is practically the logo of the gallery. The museum also hosts the international touring shows when they come to town—if it's a big-name retrospective, you'll find it here. It's currently hosting the biggest of big-ticket shows, the MoMA.

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Pergamonmuseum
Am Kupfergraben
10178 Berlin
Tel: 030 20 90 55 66 / 030 20 90 55 77
www.smb.spk-berlin.de/ant/s.html
Open: Tues to Sun 10am - 6pm, Thurs 10am - 10pm
S-Bahn Hackescher Markt, Friedrichstraße

One of the most important and popular of Berlin's museums, the Pergamon is either (depending on your politics) a fine collection of antiquities or a massive homage to imperialistic theft. The sheer scale of exhibits such as the Pergamon Altar or the Isthar Gate, both transplanted wholesale from the Near East, may make left-wing Europeans cringe with colonial guilt. The crowd-pulling set pieces are an unintentionally post-modern mixture of original and replica, although these nuances are possibly lost on the hordes of tourists who wander dutifully round the place. When you get tired of the masses, sneak away upstairs to the fascinating Islamic museum with its subtler delights, such as the 18th century Islamic world map and the carving-lined Aleppo Room.

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