Museum Island

Berlin, Germany
Kirker Holidays

Berlin has over 200 museums, galleries and archives, offering the visitor one of the most significant and diverse collections in the world. The greatest concentration is the compact collection of museums on the Museumsinsel (Museum Island). Dating from 1830 onwards, this collection of museums and galleries was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Designed by Ludwig Hoffmann and Alfred Messel, and since 2019 accessed through the new James-Simon-Galerie, the Pergamonmuseum is a relatively new museum, opening only in 1930. However, its relative modernity belies the rich collection of antiquities housed within. The museum takes its name from the Pergamon Altar which takes pride of place in the main hall. There are three separate independent collections on display; the Museum of Classical Antiquities (housing Greek and Roman artefacts), the Museum of Near Eastern Antiquities and the Museum of Islamic Art. The latter collection bears testament to the result of intensive excavations carried out during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by German archaeologists. The Pergamonmuseum is currently closed for a long-term renovation.

The first venue to go up on Museum Island, the Altes Museum is a fine example of Neoclassical architecture overlooking the lawn by the Cathedral, which houses a collection of Classical Antiquities with works of Greek, Roman and Etruscan art. Completed in 1855 by Friedrich August Stüler, and heavily damaged in the war, the Neues Museum wasn’t properly renovated until the 1980’s, then again in the early 2000’s. It houses the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, and the Museum of Prehistory and Early History.

The Bode-Museum was designed by Ernst Eberhard von Ihne to fit into the wedge-shaped northern end of Museum Island. It offers the visitor an eclectic mix of painting, sculptures, ceramics and coins and is worth visiting for the wonderful collection of Byzantine art alone.

The Alte (‘old’) Nationalgalerie was originally home to the modern art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the Second World War the collection was split up, but the older paintings are now housed here and include works by Max Liebermann, Arnold Bocklin and Wilhelm Leibl. There is also a selection of works by the French impressionists and the Nazarene Brotherhood, as well as many sculptures.

Most of the museums are open year-round, 10:00-18:00 and until 20:00 on Thursdays. Most are closed on Mondays.

All Kirker clients staying in Berlin will receive a Berlin Museum Pass, valid for 72 hours, with their final travel documents. The pass entitles you to free entrance to over 30 museums including the unique collection of five museums on Berlin’s ‘Museuminsel’ (see below) and the Gemäldegalerie.


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