Like many other European cities, Berlin has a crazy number of museums. Which one should you visit ? It depends on your taste and budget of course ! The Unseco listed site of the Museum Island in Berlin Mitte is great spot for getting your daily dose of culture.
The Museumsinsel Berlin is a complex of 5 different museums housing the Berlin State Museum unique collections of European and Mediterranean art and cultural artefacts. The island is located in the middle of the city, in Berlin Mitte, on the 800-years-old site of Berlin’s founding.
If you’re wondering if it is really worth it to visit, what you can expect to see inside, here is a complete guide with all the practical informations you need to plan your visit.
* By the way, the 1st picture on top of the post is the Berliner Dom, located on the Museum Island, right next to the Neues Museum.
1. The Bode Museum
Conceived between 1887 and 1904 by Wilhelm van Bode, art connoisseur and collections curator at the time, the Bode Museum hosted the collections of the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings) and sculptures of the Christian period. The museum was heavily damaged during World War II, it was reconstructed in 1946, then again in 1986 and refurbished from 1998 to 2005.
The Bode Museum displays :
- The Sculpture Collection : one of the largest collections of sculptures worldwide, with artworks from the early Middle Ages to the late 18th century from Donatello and Bernini amongst others.
- European paintings
- The Museum of Byzantine Art : important collection of Late Antique and Byzantine art stretching ranging from the 3rd to the 15th century.
- The Numismatic Collection : important collection of coins and medallions from the 7th c. BC to the present day.
What I loved about the Bode Museum : The magnificent interiors that are worth taking a look in themselves and the stunning staircase that made me think of the Titanic !
2. The Alte Nationalgalerie
Built between 1867 and 1876, the Alte Nationalgalerie displays around 1800 paintings and 1500 sculptures from the 19th century. The collections of artworks range from Neoclassicism and Romanticism to the great European movements of Impressionism and Symbolism.
The Alte Nationalgalerie displays :
- The “Age of Goethe” collection on the 3rd floor : one of the highlights of our visit was the Caspar David Friedrich room where we spent a long time getting lost in his intense sceneries.
- Collection of Impressionist painting : including paintings by Manet and Monet
- European sculptures and paintings : with works by John Constable, Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school
What I loved about the Alte Nationalgalerie : The Caspar David Friedrich exhibition room, he is one of my favourite painters and I spent a long time gazing at his masterpieces !
3. The Pergamonmuseum
The Pergamon Museum is currently undergoing extensive renovation, the hall with the Pergamon Altar is closed until 2019 as part of the refurbishment program started in 2014. The South Wing with the Ishtar Gate, the Procesional Way, and the Market Gate of Miletus, as well as the collection of Islamic Arts, will remain open.
The Pergamon Museum displays :
- The Collection of Classical Antiquities : one of the greatest collections of Greek and Roman art in the world, which displays the Market Gate of Miletus (ca 100 AD), a unique example of Roman architecture.
- Collection of Ancient Near East : artefacts from ancient Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia.
- Collection of Islamic Art : masterpieces of Muslim cultures from the 7th to the 19th century like the facade of the caliph’s palace Mshatta.
What I loved about the Pergamon Museum : More than a museum I felt like walking through an architectural reconstitution of the Near & Middle East monuments, a great experience !
4. The Neues Museum (The New Museum)
Built between 1843 and 1855, the Neues Museum is considered a landmark in 19th c. museum architecture and a monument for 19th c. art history. The Neues Museum has a unique way to present its exhibitions from three separate collection as they are displayed by theme and location.
The Neues Museum displays :
- The Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection : with, for instance, the famous head of Nefertiti (which is not allowed to be photographed).
- Collection of Prehistory and Early History
- The Antique Collection of the Berlin State Museum
What I loved about the Neues Museum : the museography is designed like an antique building, the walls are made of briques and the central atrium is a perfect reconsitution of an antique interior. It makes the experience of going back in time even more real.
5. The Altes Museum (Old Museum)
Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Altes Museum, created from 1823 to 1830, is among the most important examples of Neoclassical architecture. The wide atrium with 18 ionic columns is reminiscent of Greek temple architecture. The inscription above the portico reads “Friedrich Wilhelm III founded this museum in 1828 for the study of all antiquities and the free arts”. Today the museum houses the Collection of Classical Antiquities, which features its permanent exhibition on the art and culture of the Greeks, Etruscan and Romans.
The Altes Museum displays :
- Art of ancient Greece from the 10th to the 1st century BC (main floor) : displaying stone sculptures & vases.
- Art and culture of the Roman and the Etruscans Imperial Period (upper floor) : the largest collection outside of Italy.
What I loved about the Altes Museum : the Rotunda, the breathtaking room on the ground floor (of which I don’t have a picture unfortunately because the museum was closing…)
We want to thank the Berlin Tourism Board for providing us 2 Berlin Welcome Cards and enabling us to enjoy this amazing city.