The Museum Island, one of the cultural centres in Berlin at the north of an island in the Spree, is home to five museums: Pergamon Museum, Bode-Museum, Altes and Neues Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie. Therefore, she is one of the most important museum complexes in the world. Archaeological collections and the art of the 19th century are predominantly shown. Due to the catastrophic destructions during the Second World War the museums are undergoing extensive restoration until today which are supposed to lead them back to old beauty and significance.
The three-winged Pergamon Museum is home to the collection of antiques (Antikensammlung), the front Asiatic museum (Vorderasiatisches Museum) and the museum for Islamist art (Museum für Islamische Kunst). Between 1910 and 1930 the museum was constructed according to the plans of Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann. The reason for this was the by Carl Human discovered Pergamon Altar which counts as one of the highlights to this day. Other important exhibits include the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ischtar Gate with the Processional street of Babylon and the façade of Mschatta.
The construction of the renaissance museum, designed by Eberhard von Ihne, started in 1897 and ended in 1904. At first paintings and sculptures, the so called “High Arts”, were exhibited. Today the Bode-Museum is still the home of an impressive collection of sculptures besides the museum for Byzantine Art and the Coin Collection.
The origin of this museum can be attributed to the idea of King Frederick William IV who had the idea that there should be a “Sanctuary for art and science” in the middle of Berlin. The building was planned by Friedrich August Stüler, however, it was finished by Johann Heinrich Strack in 1876. Today it displays the work of the Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Biedermeier, Impressionism and beginning Modernism.
Like the Alte Nationalgalerie the later king Frederick William IV influenced the planning of the Altes Museum. He gave sketches to Karl Friedrich Schinkel which the architect used partially as templates. Result is one of the most important buildings of classicism, which was constructed between 1825 and 1830. The permanent collection of antiques shows the art and culture of the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans. The ancient objects of the coin collection complete the insight into the antiquity.
The Neues Museum was planned by Friedrich August Stüler and constructed between 1843 and 1855. It allows the visitor to understand the pre- and early-historic cultures by connecting exhibits of the Egyptian Museum and the Papyrus Collection, the museum for pre- and early-history and the collection of antiques. Highlight of the tour are amongst other things the bust of Nefertiti and objects from Priam’s treasure.
7000 historic exhibits give an insight into approximately 1500 years of German history until the ending of the 20th century in the permanent exhibition of the Deutsches Historisches Museum. The political history is the main focus, however, there are regular references to the daily life of various different social groups.
Zeughaus und Ausstellungshalle
Do you want to wallow in Ostalgie (nostalgia for the socio-political infrastructure of the former GDR), hear more about how your parents lived or find out more about how the other side of Germany lived? In the DDR-Museum you learn of and experience in an interactive way how the inhabitants of the GDR used to live.
Arrival Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1 | 10178 Berlin (down the stairs to the bank of the Spree)
Checkpoint Charlie is probably the most famous border crossing-point which used to connect eastern and western Berlin. This is where the Wall-Museum opened in 1963 which gives you an insight into the history of the divided city, the building of the wall, but also into the worldwide, violence-free fight for human rights. Especially un- and successful escape attempts and objects such as for escape refurbed cars, a mini submarine and a hot-air balloon are in the focus.
In less than 10 minutes on foot from the hotel you can reach the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Memorial Berliner Wall). Originally a part of the border strip this place serves as a central memorial of the German partition. Here you are told the dramatic occurrences of the German partition on the basis of traces.
Where can you report better about history than where it happened? The terrain became well-known as “Topographie des Terrors” (Topography of Terror) in the Niederkirchnerstraße where the history of this place is reported until this day. Between 1933 and 1945 the Reich Security Main Office, SS High Command and the Security Service of the SS High Command was located here. Those were the most important institutions of the National Socialist terror apparatus from where the crimes during the NS time were run.
The Museum für Naturkunde / Natural History Museum is the home of the world’s largest dinosaur skeleton, a Brachiosaurus brancai, and is one of the largest museums of natural history in Germany. Only 4 minutes walk from Boutique Hotel i31. Evolution’s impact and work is displayed here in a very interesting way. In doing so you can experience vividly the creation of the cosmos and Earth, the life and death of the dinosaur and the creation and migration of the continents. The museum tells you about Vulcans and meteorite impacts up to the mechanisms and phenomena which produce the diversity of life and species.
The Hamburger Bahnhof is just a 12-minute walk from the Boutique Hotel i31. The Museum for Contemporary Art houses masterpieces on around 10,000 square meters. The Hamburger Bahnhof shows art pieces of Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys etc.
Close to the main train station and only 20 minutes from Boutique Hotel i31 a new museum has opened. Futurium hosts a museum of the future with vivid scenarios, a laboratory of the future in which visitors can make their own explorations and a forum of the future for dialogue between players from different spheres.
Arrival Alexanderufer 2 | 10117 Berlin
The Gemäldegalerie near Potsdamer Platz houses 3,000 masterpieces of old European painting from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Masterpieces from van Eyck, Bruegel, Dürer, Raffael, Tizian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Giotto and Botticelli can be seen here.
The Jewish Museum is located in Kreuzberg, not far from Checkpoint Charlie. The permanent exhibition gives visitors an overview of 1,700 years of German-Jewish history. The museum consists of an old building and a zigzag-shaped new building by the famous architect Daniel Libeskind.
Jüdisches Museum Berlin
The Museum of Photography is located opposite the Zoologischer Garten train station in Berlin's Charlottenburg district. The main attraction of the museum is the collection of the Helmut Newton Foundation, which the Berlin-born photographer founded himself. The Photography Collection has 650 square meters of exhibition space for the presentation of all forms of photography from the 19th to the 21st centuries.
Arrival Jebensstraße 2 | 10623 Berlin
The C/O Berlin Foundation in the Amerika Haus shows changing exhibitions by famous photographers from all over the world, for example Annie Leibovitz, Stephen Shore, Nan Goldin, Anton Corbijn, Peter Lindbergh and Sebastião Salgado. The museum is located directly at the Zoologischer Garten station in Berlin-Charlottenburg.
The Berlinische Galerie collects art created in Berlin from 1870 to now. The collection area includes works of the Dada movement. Diverse special exhibitions from classic modern to contemporary art take place here. The main characteristic of the museum is its interdisciplinarity. The Berlinische Galerie exhibits fine arts, photography, architecture and also the graphic collection.