A visit to Berlin is a visit to the history of the last two centuries. From the great era of excavation in Egypt and Persia to the Great Wars of the 20th Century and the Cold War, Berlin has everything you need to go deep into history. Check out a list of museums to go when visiting the city.
1. Topography of Terror
Built in the ruins of the former headquarters of the Gestapo, the repressive police of the Third Reich, Topography of Terror tells all the details of the rise, domination, and fall of Nazism in Germany. There you find the complete story, with the newspapers published at the time, the list of orders issued against the Jews and the total control of German society by the Nazis. The construction, a huge shed, gives the climate of oppression that was then and makes the visit an intimate immersion on the dark side of German history. Book at least 3 hours for the visit.
2. The Museum Island
Located in the heart of Berlin, very close to Alexanderplatz, Museum Island is a complex that contains the 5 main museums of the city: the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode-Museum and the Pergamonmuseum. Then the choice is yours because everything depends on your will.
In the Neues Museum you find the bust of Nefertiti, an Egyptian queen, in the Alte Nationalgalerie exhibits collections of Impressionism, Romanticism, Neoclassicism, Biedermeier and early Modernism. In the Bode-Museum there is Byzantine Art, in addition to a large collection of coins. The Pergamonmuseum houses a magnificent collection highlighting ancient structures exhibited in original size as the Altar of Pergamon – the entrance to a temple of ancient Greek, with its staircases, columns and sculptures, which gave its name to the museum; The Miletus Market Gate, a Roman building from the 2nd Century in the city of Miletus; The Gate of Ishtar, the eighth gate that gave access to the city of Babylon; The facade of Mshatta, which was part of the Qasr Mshatta palace in Jordan.
The Altes Museum displays a collection of antiquities from Greece and Rome. An excellent option is to use the “Museum Pass Berlin”, which is a ticket valid for 3 consecutive days and gives access to more than 60 museums. In addition to the five museums on Museum Island, it includes, among others, the Berlin Jewish Museum, the Berlin Natural History Museum and the German Museum of Technology.
3. German Historical Museum
The German Historical Museum is the perfect place to discover exactly why Germany is Germany. Narrating the entire history of the Germanic people until their union in the 19th Century, going through the turbulences of the 20th Century and the present day. A real dip in the way of being German.
4. German Museum of Technology Berlin (Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin)
The German Museum of Technology was founded in 1982, and features a large collection of historical technical artifacts and is the perfect place to take children. The museum’s main emphasis is on rail transport but also exhibits various kinds of industrial technology. Maritime exhibitions and also the aviation showrooms are a spectacle. Among the relics is the large aircraft section, which houses the only existing Messerschmitt Bf-110 and Junkers Ju-87 “Stuka”, a Flak cannon (anti-aircraft gun) and a V-1 flying bomb.
5. Palace of Tears
Want to find out what life in divided Germany was like in the Cold War? A visit to Palace of Tears can give you an idea. The name is due to the fact that there the border enters the two Germanies and many tears were shed in the farewell of loved ones. The permanent exhibition “Border Experiences. Everyday Life in a Divided Germany”, in fact, presents all the tension of an era that shook the world.
6. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Neo-Romanesque church today is the symbol of the reconstruction, reconciliation, and peace that Berliners wanted after World War II. Built in 1891 by the German Emperor, it was partially destroyed in 1943 during the Allied air raids. Rebuilt in 1959, in its main nave, there are blocks of glass that emit an intense blue light, which induces to meditation and calm. There is also a memorial that reminds visitors of all the horrors of war.
7. Jewish Museum
From the horrors of the persecution in the city to the Holocaust of the final Nazi solution, The Jewish Museum in Berlin chronicles all the suffering the Jews faced in Germany during the time the Nazis were in charge. There you can get out of the macro and discover the small details of the daily lives of families that have been devastated and massacred. A real memorial to avoid forgetting.
8. Museum fur Naturkunde (Natural History Museum)
The Berlin Natural History Museum is one of the most important in the world. His collection of animals is really impressive, ranging from dinosaurs to giant sloth and megalodon, a shark at least 3 times larger than the great white shark. It is also an ideal museum to take children. Book at least 4 hours to be able to visit all the museums, including the temporary exhibitions.
9. Stasi Museum
The Stasi was the dreaded secret police of East Germany. In their old prison, located in the periphery of Berlin, much suffered in the hands of government officials. Today the site has been transformed into a museum, where you can learn about the conditions of life of the prisoners, as well as all the tactics of the Stasi’s intelligence against its enemies. A special highlight for the section of disguises used by the East German spies to go to neighboring West Germany. On Wednesdays, it is possible to schedule a guided tour with ex-prisoners.
10. Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design (Bauhaus Archiv Museum fur Gestaltung)
The Bauhaus was one of the most influential architecture schools of the 20th century. Before being persecuted and dismantled by the Nazis, the Bauhaus had a brief period in Berlin. There, in the old school, today there is a museum that houses the great design creations performed by names like Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Georg Muche. In fact, going to Bauhaus Archiv is a unique experience to be a part of design history.
Updated: March 14, 2017