It is very difficult for you to come to the capital of Germany and not spend at least one afternoon on the Museum Island in Berlin. Because it is in the heart of the city (between Alexanderplatz and Brandenburg Tor), because it is aesthetically attractive and because it is surely the most hardcore agglomeration of museums in the world.
And when we say hardcore we mean old-fashioned museums, of those with rancid ancestry, created on the basis of “scientific looting” and with the look of an antiques store. From the good ones. Although, of course, they have adapted to the times…
It is not easy to clarify in such an artistic tidal wave, among architectural moles, collections, exhibitions, schedules, rates, temporary closures … We will try to make you see the panorama of the Berlin museums clearer.
TRAVELLER TIP: There are not only museums on the Museum Island in Berlin: you will also find the Cathedral (the Dom) and the Lustgarden (the only thing left of the Royal Palace of Berlin)
What are we talking about here?
Basically, we are talking about the northern part of the Spree River island located in Mitte (the rest of the island is called Fischerinsel). It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, but the museum obsession in the place goes back a long way…
The genesis of the Museum Island in Berlin began at the beginning of the 19th century with the collection of antiquities of the Prussian kings. The first building dates back to 1823 and the most recent to 2016 and there are plans to expand even further!
Managed by the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz since 1918, today we have five great museums to visit… Well, six… Actually it’s eight… Well, we had better go by sections.
YOU CANNOT MISS THIS: To be perfectly up to date with all the temporary exhibitions and other activities, programme changes or any other novelty, you can consult the official website of the Museum Island
What we can find on the Museum Island in Berlin
When we talk about museums in Berlin, and more specifically in Museum Island, we are referring to these five:
- Altes Museum. The oldest, designed by Schinkel in 1830, opposite Lustgarden. Dedicated to Greek, Etruscan (the largest outside Italy) and Roman cultures. Archaeological pieces, sculpture and many coins. Find out more.
- Neues Museum. Relatively new; dates from 1859. This “extension” houses two very distinct parts: Egyptian pieces and papyri (yes, Nefertiti is here) and a good part of the impressive Prussian royal collection, with the most varied elements. Find out more.
- Alte National Gallery. It looks like a classical Greek temple. Inside, a large art gallery that collects works from the French Revolution to the First World War: impressionists, realists, romantics … The sculptures are in the church of Friedrichswerder. Find out more.
- Bode-Museum. In the northern corner of the island, with its unmistakable brown dome, it houses a diverse mix of Byzantine art, Italian and German sculpture (from the Middle Ages to the 18th century), the largest numismatic collection in the world and pictorial works borrowed from the Gemaldë Gallery. Find out more.
- Pergamon Museum. Between Bode and the previous ones is the biggest, the most visited, the most famous. Famous for its icons of ancient architecture: the Ishtar Gate, the Aleppo Hall and, of course, the Pergamon Altar. Find out more.
OUR ADVICE: The Pergamon Museum is under renovation, so you won’t be able to see everything. In any case, as it is beyond the reach of the average traveller, we would recommend Das Panorama, a more instructive and entertaining light edition. Right in front.
But there are other fundamental related spaces on the island (more or less):
- James-Simon-Galerie. Little did this Jewish patron imagine that his name would be given to this Chipperfield building inaugurated in 2016. It is the visitor centre of the complex. The heart. You will certainly visit.
- Kolonnadehof.This column courtyard was designed by the original architect of the first museum, but did not see the light until 2010. A geometric garden full of sculptures and researches from the last 250 years.
- On the other side of the river… Currently, they are of less interest to you, but in front of the Bode (above the former Friedrich Engels barracks) it is in Archäologisches Zentrum (an associated archaeological research centre) and soon you will find the Patios of the Museum.
And are there no free museums in Berlin?
Of course there are and a good handful; we have counted 33. Although many of the free museums in Berlin have to do with the everlasting theme of World War II, there is everything. Our personal selection:
- Museum der Stille. The Museum of Silence is the extravagant spectacle of the Russian painter Nikolai Makarov seeking the introspection of the observer. A floor painted in very silent red. Linienstrasse 154A.
- Panel Museumwohnung: Do you know what the Ostalgie is? You will find out after visiting the WBS-70, a typical GDR prefabricated apartment in Hellersdorfer Straße 179. Welcome to 1986. The opening hours are very short (Sunday from 2pm to 4pm), but you can arrange a visit.
- Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien. If you like contemporary art and don’t know which museums to see in Berlin, go to this one, you’ll be amazed. Social and cultural interchange, activities and more in a former religious hospital on Mariannenplatz 2.
The Museum Island in Berlin is no joke, as you can see. I’m sure you’ll want to comment on something: don’t be shy, leave us your ideas at the end of this article.
And I’m sure you still have a few doubts about your trip hanging around in your head. Contact us and we will try to help you with that. And if you want us to help you organise your trip, call us on 922 15 12 51 or send us an e-mail to email@example.com.
Especialista en escapadas
Viajar, compartir, aprovechar cada minuto. El tiempo vuela, y la vida está esperando a ser vivida con la energía y la pasión que merece.
Por esto, me esfuerzo en aprovechar cada oportunidad haciéndole una trampa al calendario y encontrando la forma de llenar mi vida de las mil aventuras que aún están por llegar.
Quédate y déjame enseñarte los trucos que sólo una experta viajera sabe.
Specialist in escapades
Travel, share, take advantage of every minute. Time flies, and life is waiting to be lived with the energy and passion it deserves.
For this, I strive to take advantage of every opportunity by making a trap of the calendar and finding a way to fill my life with the thousand adventures that are still to arrive.
Stay and let me show you the tricks that only an expert traveler knows