Berlin is easily one of my all-time favourite cities to visit, with so much to see and do that even a month-long stay isn’t enough for me! And you can see why when you read this post on 25 museums in Berlin – just visiting museums alone will keep you busy for a long time, and that’s before you enjoy all the other great stuff that Berlin has to offer!
The museums in Berlin vary widely, although my favourites definitely include those connected to relatively recent history – the Berlin Wall and the Cold War era. But it’s not just a cliché to say that in Berlin there is a museum to suit everybody’s interests – and these 25 are just a taste, as there are close to 200 museums in the German capital.
Easily one of Berlin’s most impressive museums, the Pergamon Museum is on the Museuminsel (Museum Island), and is an amazing collection of artefacts from the ancient world. It includes life-size reconstructions of ancient buildings like the Pergamon Altar, with as much as possible recreated from the real remains.
Ishtar Gate by Heatheronhertravels
Haus am Checkpoint Charlie
On my first visit to Berlin in 1990, I was lucky enough to experience the reunification of east and west – since then, the stories of those who tried to escape across the wall before the Wall fell in 1989 have been particularly fascinating to me (although some are very sad). The Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum is the best place to hear stories and see artefacts related to Berlin Wall escape attempts, and a whole lot more.
Haus am Checkpoint Charlie exhibit by Olivier Bruchez
Museum of Photography
Berlin’s Museum of Photography (Museum fuer Fotografie) has photography exhibits ranging through the 19th to 21st centuries and it includes a special exhibit on Helmut Newton.
Museum of Photography by hiddedevries
Käthe Kollwitz Gallery
One of the lesser known museums in Berlin is the Käthe Kollwitz Gallery, in Charlottenburg. It’s a great collection of artworks by Käthe Kollwitz, the famous Berlin artist. Be warned, though, that most of her work is fairly dark – it’s not somewhere to go for an uplifting experience.
Käthe Kollwitz works by Lindsay Sydenham
One of the finest museums I’ve ever visited is the Jewish Museum in Berlin. It doesn’t (despite what you’d expect, given the location) focus heavily on the Holocaust, but instead gives a broad historical perspective on Jewish culture and history across the centuries. Having said that, the chilling “Memory Void”, part of the amazing Libeskind design of the building, certainly reminds you of the Holocaust atrocities.
Memory Void in the Jewish Museum by Amanda Kendle
Berlin’s oldest museum has the very logical name of Old Museum (or Altes Museum) and even the building itself is important – one of the finest neoclassical buildings in Europe. The Old Museum includes a vast collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.
Altes Museum by jacqueline.poggi
Not so high on the tourist list, but worth a visit, is the Hemp Museum (in German, Hanf Museum). It’s eye-opening to see the many different applications and uses of hemp, and the museum focuses on aspects such as agricultural, manufacturing and industrial uses.
Hemp Museum by Lars Born
One of the Berlin museums I remember well from my first visit as a teenager is the Egyptian Museum. It’s got a huge collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts – the bust of Queen Nefertiti being its most famous item, I guess.
Nefertiti in Berlin’s Egyptian Museum by Claudio_deste
The Story of Berlin
The Story of Berlin is a particularly impressive interactive history museum – light and sound shows abound and you even get to visit an underground bomb shelter in hourly tours. It’s a history museum for those that think history can be boring (although when a city has a history as fascinating as Berlin this barely seems necessary!).
Story of Berlin museum by Ayaa
Topography of Terror
The Topography of Terror is fascinating (but yes, sometimes terrifying) and is built on the former location of the SS and Gestapo headquarters, as well as offering open air tours and exhibits. The displays explain much of the history of the operations of the Gestapo and SS during the Third Reich.
Topography of Terror by boutmet
Museum of Modern Art
The Berlinische Galerie (or Museum of Modern Art) moved relatively recently to a new location near the Jewish Museum so its vast collections can now be better displayed. It has artworks essentially from Berlin from 1870 to modern times but also has an international focus; all kinds of artworks including painting, sculpture, photography and multimedia are included.
Berlinische Galerie by mompl
German Museum of Technology
The Deutsches Technik Museum Berlin (German Museum of Technology) is full of interesting gadgets and scientific explanations and has full-size aeroplanes and ships as well.
Aeroplanes in Museum of Technology by Backi0584
The DDR Museum is a private museum which only opened in 2006 and tries to give visitors a hands-on experience of what life was like during DDR times – for example, demonstrating the kinds of listening devices that were used. You can even have a simulated ride in a Trabi!
DDR-style living room in DDR Museum by J@ck!
Museum of Natural History
The Museum fuer Naturkunde or Museum of Natural History is another good Berlin day out, especially with kids in tow. Its most well-known exhibit is a 12-metre high dinosaur.
Museum of Natural History Berlin by Christiane Necker
Museum of Design
The Museum of Design or Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin has a huge collection of sculptures, ceramics and other artworks by artists like Klee and Kandinsky who fled Germany as the Nazis came to power.
Bauhaus Archiv by gennie catastrophe
The Stasi Museum is located in the actual previous Stasi headquarters, and is now basically a repository for all things related to the East German period. The central exhibit is the former office of the head of the Stasi and there is also a research facility.
Stasi Museum exhibits by melomania-music notes
Given Berlin’s prominent Pride parade history (and in fact Wikipedia calls Berlin “the leading gay city in Europe”) then it’s no surprise that there’s an excellent museum, the Schwules Museum (Gay Museum), dedicated to the history and culture of the gay community.
Schwules Museum via Wikimedia Commons
A relative newcomer to Berlin, but one that I am putting high on my list for my next visit, is the Currywurst Museum! If you’re not in the know, Currywurst is a common (tasty!) snack bought on German streets, consisting of a chopped-up sausage smothered in a special curry sauce.
Currywurst Museum by quinet
Berlin Wall Monument
The Gendenkstaette Berliner Mauer or the Berlin Wall Monument is not a museum in a traditional sense but it’s an amazing stretch of the remains of the Berlin Wall on Bernauerstrasse and the monument includes a Documentation Centre about the history of the Wall.
Berlin Wall Documentation Centre by PAVDW
Old National Gallery
Art-lovers should spare a few hours for a look around the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery). It’s located on the Museuminsel (Museum Island) and includes works from German artists from many periods including neoclassical, romantic, impressionist and early modernist.
Old National Gallery by quinet
The popularity of the Kennedy family on Berlin – starting with JFK’s famous line, “Ich bin ein Berliner” – is reflected in the Kennedys Museum. It opened just a few years ago next to the Brandenburg Gate and includes a huge collection of photos and collectable objects related to the Kennedy family.
Kennedys Museum by potsdam
Berlin Film Museum
This museum (locally known as the Deutsche Kinemathek) for German film and television covers a good history of German cinema and includes artefacts like original scripts, props and costumes, from pre-Nazi times all the way through to modern German productions. It’s housed in the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz.
Kinemathek by OTA Apartments
You may not expect to find a museum in Berlin dedicated to the Ramones – yes, the band – but there is! It started out as one fan’s private collection of Ramones memorabilia but when his collection got too large he had to open a museum to house it all.
Ramones Museum by paxpuig
One of Berlin’s lesser-known museums is the Sugar Museum (Zucker Museum). It’s more than a hundred years old and has displays showing pretty much anything you can imagine related to sugar – unfortunately the descriptions are all in German but apparently there is an English-language brochure available. They even have a replica Brandenburg Gate made out of sugar!
Sugar-Brandenburg Gate via Wikicommons
German Historical Museum
The Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) is on the lovely Unter den Linden street and was set up in the 1980s with a lot of support from then chancellor Helmut Kohl. It’s a vast collection of some half a million objects which help illustrate the history of Germany.
German Historical Museum by martin2606
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