Apparently there are over 170 museums and galleries in Berlin, from the UNESCO listed Museumsinsel to the quirky Lipstick Museum. You are truly spoilt for choice whether your interests lie in the history of the city or further beyond. A number of museums explore various aspects of the capital’s turbulent past. The archaeological museums in Berlin are tourist attractions in their own right. These include collections of curiosities amassed by the House of Hohenzollern, as well as artefacts recovered by German archaeologists working at some of the most important archaeology sites around the world. Art lovers are similarly well catered for. Some of the finest collections of images and objects from Byzantine times to the present are on show in historic and quirky art galleries.
The information on this page was last checked and/or updated on 9 September 2020.
NS Zwangsarbeit Dokumentationszentrum
Ends 31 January 2021
On display are over 300 objects excavated by archaeologists at sites of former Nazi internment camps in the Berlin-Brandenburg area. These provide a different insight into life and survival, and also death in these camps.
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Built in the 1820s, the ‘Old Museum’ was the first of the five museums on Museumsinsel. Still today it is considered one of the most important Neoclassical buildings in Berlin. A fitting context for the state’s Collection of Classical Antiquities, which includes numerous Greek, Etruscan and Roman objects ranging from the 10th century BC to the 3rd century AD. Also on display are some 1,300 antique coins from the Numismatic Collection.
Opened in 1904 this the fourth of the five museums on Museumsinsel was intended to display the state’s collection of ‘Old Masters’ and Christian era sculptures. It was damaged during the 1940s and was extensively reconstructed and refurbished, then renamed and reopened in 2005. Today exhibits include the Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art, and over 4,000 coins and medallions from the Numismatic Collection.
The Bode Museum is currently closed, visit the museum online.
The ‘New Museum’ was completed in 1855 but was badly damaged during World War II. After extensive refurbishment that makes a feature of the traces of past damage it was reopened in 2009. The museum houses three major collections: the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, the Museum for Prehistory and Early History, and the Collection of Classical Antiquities. One of the most celebrated pieces is the bust of Nefertiti.
Built to house the Pergamon Altar, this was the last of the five museums to be built on Museums Island. Other highlights include the Ishtar Gate and the Market Gate of Miletus. Currently being refurbished to add a fourth wing, parts of the museum will be closed until at least 2023. The museum displays objects from the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East, and the Museum of Islamic Art.
The Pergamon Museum is currently closed.
The ‘Old National Gallery’ displays artworks from the 19th century period of art history. From early Neoclassical and Romantic periods to the Impressionists, with pieces by Friedrich and Liebermann, to Monet and Manet. The third museum to be constructed on Museums Island, the Alte Nationalgalerie was opened on 22 March 1878 – Kaiser Wilhelm I’s birthday. The design was inspired by ancient, raised Greek and Roman temples.
With over 2,000 original works by Salvador Dalí in some 450 exhibits, the museum is a wonderful place to explore the range of his creative output. Besides a collection of paintings, for which the artists is well known, other pieces include sketches, etchings, wood carvings, sculptures, texts and film scenes. The exhibition is a permanent one, made up of a number of works on loan from private owners.
The Gemäldegalerie, literally the Picture Gallery, has one of the world’s largest collections of paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries. On display are 1,400 works by some of Europe’s greatest painters, including Rembrandt and Botticelli, Holbein and Vermeer. Founded in 1830 and originally displayed in what is today the Altes Museum on Museumsinsel, the collection is currently located in the Kulturforum.
Built at the end of the 1870s in the neo-Renaissance style, Gropius Bau has been described as one of Germany’s most beautiful historic buildings. The building suffered considerable damage during World War II and has been extensively renovated. Today, this is one of the leading exhibition venues in Europe. The gallery is host to temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and archaeology.
On of the best known and visited museums in the US, the Met holds some of the finest collections of art. These come from nearly every corner of the world and nearly every time period, including several period interiors that range from early Rome to modern America. Thursday 27 and Friday 28 August are preview days for the exhibition 1870 – 2020: the Making of the Met, members only.
Given its role in both developing and collecting modern and contemporary art, MoMA is often said to be the world’s most influential museum of modern art. In the 1930s it was the first museum in Manhattan to exhibit European modernism, exhibiting works on loan by Van Gogh, Gauguin and others. Now with over 15,000 pieces, MoMA is thought to have the best collection of modern Western masterpieces in the world.
From 1933 to 1945 the building at 8 Prinz-Albrecht street became the headquarters of the Secret State Police Office. From here the crimes of the Nazis across Europe during World War II were planned. It was bombed several times during Allies air raids, and totally destroyed by 1956. Remnants of the cellars, ‘house prison’ and a section of the Berlin Wall make up an extensive outdoor and indoor history museum. FREE ENTRY to all.
Opened in 2013, at the Trabi Museum you will learn everything you wanted to know about this iconic East German car. Fifteen models display the vehicle’s versatility, including military jeeps and police cars, and the very rare camping Trabant. A film showing interviews with fans and engineers give a more personal perspective as to why the Trabant from Zwickau in Saxon, was such a sort after car.