Berlin, the German capital, is an international city. This is reflected in its culture. Whether it is in terms of food, street art or even museums, the city shines. Are you planning to spend a few days here? Would you like to know more about the main cultural places in the city?
In the following article, we propose to you a selection of the 10 main museums of Berlin. 10 interesting museums, not expensive, which allow you to learn more about the capital, about Germany, its history or about art in general.
If you want to know more about the city, we invite you to read our article about the best currywurst in Berlin.
What are the main museums in Berlin?
There are more than 175 museums in Berlin! So it was not an easy task to select the 10 most important ones. But don’t panic. We managed to do it, in the hope of helping you to see more clearly and to organize a stay which corresponds as well as possible to your expectations.
The Pergamonmuseum is one of the main museums in Berlin. Opened in 1930, the museum, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has three wings. You will find on site, old treasures and relics of ancient Rome and Greece, the Middle East etc..
Its star attraction? The altar of Pergamon. A true Greek masterpiece. However, be careful. It is one of the most visited museums in the city, you may have to queue a little before you can enter. But don’t worry, you won’t regret it.
2. Museum of Natural History
The Berlin Natural History Museum is not necessarily the most popular museum in Berlin, and that’s a shame.
Internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading institutions for biological and geological evolutionary research, the museum boasts an incredible (and frankly, the word is weak) collection of over 30 million artifacts related in some way to:
The masterpiece? The skeleton of a brachiosaurus over 13 meters high.
3. Jewish Museum of Berlin
Located in a rather surreal building, the Jewish Museum of Berlin tells the story of the Jewish populations that lived in Germany with, naturally, an entire section dedicated to Nazi Germany. This space is called the “Holocaust axis”.
Marked by a black door, this space is characterized by a dark tower, cold in appearance… Outside, the Shalekhet installation is characterized by the installation of 10,000 iron squares engraved with faces. These represent the victims of the Second World War.
4. GDR Museum
The GDR Museum is located in front of the great Berlin Cathedral. In other words, even if you do it on purpose, it is impossible to miss it.
This museum is fascinating because it offers you the possibility to get an idea (stuck to reality) of what life was like at the time of the German Democratic Republic. A real plunge in time.
The museum is divided into three parts:
- Life in a building: you will learn about the way East Germans lived, in private;
- State and ideology: you will discover how the police and the government imposed the communist ideology on the locals;
- Public life: border control, work, family, education or even book time, you will discover here how the East Germans lived in community!
Does the future make you fear the worst? Do you dream of knowing what the future holds for you? Then head to Futurium. This Berlin museum opened in 2019, right next to the main train station.
On site, the exhibits try to provide an element of answer to a question that torments us all: how will the world be in 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years?
Whether it is about climate, work or family, this museum has the merit to make you think about all your actions… For a bright future? At least that’s what we hope!
6. Museum of the Stasi
After the museum about the GDR, the museum about the Stasi, the former secret police of the communist regime which was in charge in the East of Berlin and elsewhere. The museum is located in a rather peculiar place, quite dilapidated.
This place is the very place where Erich Mielke, minister of security of the GDR from 1957 until the fall of the Berlin Wall, organized surveillance and torture (both physical and psychological) of millions of individuals. This is a reminder of the constant fear with which the inhabitants lived on a daily basis.
7. Berlinische Galerie
The Berlinische Galerie is a museum dedicated to the creativity of Berliners. It opened its doors for the very first time in 1975. Today, this renowned cultural institution has thousands of works ranging from modern art to photography.
It is recommended that you visit on the first Monday of the month (if you have the opportunity). Indeed, tickets are offered at a reduced price for those over 18 years old. Admission is always free for young people who are not yet of age.
8. Design Panoptikum
The Design Panoptikum is a museum where imagination reigns supreme. At the same time creepy, unusual and playful, this museum proposes to discover many unusual objects, like gas masks or funny medical devices (which do not exist anymore, fortunately). More than 1000 pieces are listed in this funny place which is adapted to the whole family!
9. East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is one of the most popular museums in Berlin. Its name alone sounds obvious. What makes it special? It showcases the most beautiful works painted on parts of the old Berlin Wall.
An open-air gallery, to be visited especially when the weather is nice. One of the most famous works is Dmitri Vrubel’s brotherly kiss, another is Birgit Kinder’s Trabant car crossing the wall.
In Neukölln, a neighborhood better known for its trendy bars than for its art venues, the KINDL is an off-the-beaten-path museum that is worth a visit. A museum that stands out from the others, notably because it has no permanent exhibition.
In fact, several times a year, the KINDL honors different artists, in order to discover new worlds. Really exciting.
What to remember about the museums of Berlin
Naturally, this selection had to be made at the expense of other places at least as important culturally speaking, such as the Sammlung Boros, the Martin-Graupius-Bau, the König Gallerie or Charlottenburg.
So don’t hesitate to find out more about it, or you might miss out on a place you really want to discover. For the others, don’t hesitate to have a look at our article on the must-see places in Berlin!