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Best Museums in Berlin

Berlin has around 200 museums. Because of its history and being a big tourist destination, they run the gauntlet of high end traditional museums and galleries from: informative and entertainment focused niche museums. You can learn all there is to know about Nefertiti and the currywurst — all from just a couple of museum trips.

Museum Island is the most obvious and central place to head to if you’re looking for a cultural experience as it contains 5 key Berlin museums all in one location. If you want to visit all of these you’d still need a day to really soak everything in. If you’re not looking for an immersion experience, then there are many other large and small museums and galleries dotted around the city.

In a way the museums that focus on Germany (and Berlin’s) 20th century history are the most interesting, especially if you know little about Berlin. You can spend a few hours in a museum exploring the, frankly, fascinating history of Berlin… then take a walk and you’re in history — at least walking among the many landmarks you just learned about. You get a sense too that the many museums documenting the past, help Germans come to terms with it, and put the darker aspects to rest.

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Top Museums in Berlin, Germany

  • Museum für Naturkunde (Museum for Natural History) contains over 30 million paleontological, zoological, and mineralogical objects and is famous for having the largest mounted dinosaur in the world, as well as a beautifully preserved Archaeopteryx (the earliest known bird).
  • For 40 years East Germany developed its own idiosyncratic culture in parallel to West Germany. Derided by many, it ceased to exist and virtually vanished overnight with reunification. Here in the DDR Museum you’ll see some of the products of the DDR, learn about East German nudists and see a real Trabant up close.
  • The Neues Museum is one of several on Museum Island. It is most famous for its Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and the bust of Nefertiti, the Egyptian queen. There’s also exhibits on pre-history and many artefacts from classical antiquity.
  • Germany has a long Jewish history, dating back 2 millennia, and the Berlin Jewish Museum celebrates this. So you will find exhibits beginning with the first medieval settlements along the Rhine. Of course there are chilling stories of the Nazi era, but the museum also focuses on the future, with workshops, and special shows for both adults and children.
  • The Allied Museum tells the story of how Berlin was divided up by the victors after WW2. Included in its open-air are a guardhouse from Checkpoint Charlie, a DDR watchtower and an aircraft used in the Berlin Airlift.
  • The Alte Nationalgalerie is on Museum Island and part of the Berlin National Gallery. Inside are works of the Neoclassical and Romantic period, French Impressionism and early Modernism.
  • The Berlin Wall Memorial is an open air exhibition at the site of the real wall on Bernauer Strasse (which witnessed some early escapes as people jumped from windows and leapt across barbed wire to escape). In memory of a divided city and those who lost their lives trying to escape.
  • The Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology) is pretty reasonable cost wise to visit and is a favorite with men and children (full of planes, trains and automobiles). There are also exhibits on many types of technological innovation.
  • The Currywurst Museum is dedicated to everything you need to know about Berlin’s favourite sausage! It’s something that most tourists try, just like walking through the Brandenburger Tor or visiting the Reichstag, so why shouldn’t it have its own museum? Probably not for vegetarians.
  • Pergamon Museum is another Museum Island favourite. It was the first museum in the world dedicated to archaeology and is the most visited art museum in Germany. Contained within there’s an antiquity collection, Middle East museum, and museum of Islamic art.

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Top 3 Museums in Berlin, Germany

  • The DDR Museum aims to give a real glimpse into life behind the curtain for ordinary East Germans. There are highly interactive exhibits you can open doors, pull out drawers and push buttons in order to view objects. What was it like to queue for food? What was a society of full employment like?
  • You don’t get to see a dinosaur skeleton every day, so a visit to the Berlin Museum for Natural History is worth it just for that. But there’s a lot more to delve into here. There are exhibits which cover the origins of the solar system and how life on our planet developed. The exhibits are as breath-taking as the history contained in them
  • Berlin’s Neues Museum is a real museum. Meaning it has really old things that you can look at. The building itself is also a part of history being completed in 1855. It was extensively damaged in WW2 but has been renovated several times since, the most recent being in 2009.