Berlin is home to more than 170 museums and galleries, many of them housing the finest and most important art collections in the world. If you want to treat yourself to a day of culture in the German capital, check out this overview of the best museums in Berlin, from historical exhibitions, to modern art collections.
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Museum Island in Berlin’s historic heart is home to five world-class museums. This unique ensemble of historic buildings, all built under different Prussian kings, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit some of the best art collections in Germany, covering everything from the famous bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti to European paintings from the 19th century.
Jewish Museum in Berlin
Berlin’s Jewish Museum chronicles Jewish history and culture in Germany from the Middle Ages to present-day. The extensive exhibition is housed in a showstopper of a building designed by Daniel Libeskind. The striking architecture is defined by a bold zigzag design with underground tunnels connecting the three wings, irregularly shaped windows, and ‘voids’ of empty spaces stretching the full height of the building. A visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin leaves a lasting impression on its visitors.
Berlin's New National Gallery at Potsdamer Platz is dedicated to international art from the 20th century. Set in a modern building, which is nicknamed “the temple of light and glass” and was designed by Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe, the museum is home to masterpieces by Munch, Kirchner, Picasso, Klee, Feininger, Dix, Kokoschka, and Richter.
The Picture Gallery at Postdamer Platz holds one of the world’s finest collections of European art from the 13th to the 18th century. Among the almost 3000 paintings you’ll find masterworks by Bruegel, Dürer, Raffael, Tizian, Vermeer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Rubens.
Museum für Fotografie
The Museum of Photography covers photography from the 19th to the 21st century in a neoclassical building from the 1900s. The museum is also home to the Helmut Newton Foundation, which was established in 2003. Berlin’s Museum of Photography celebrates Newton’s oeuvre with a series of temporary exhibitions, as well as an exhibit that displays the artist’s personal items.
Deutsches Historisches Museum
A must-see for history lovers is the German Historical Museum (DHM), housed in one of the oldest and most majestic buildings on the boulevard Unter den Linden. The museum gives you an overview of Germany’s 2000-year old history all the way to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Don’t miss the newly built wing of the German History museum, a modern hall designed by I.M Pei that features a spiral staircase made of glass.
Berlin's Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design is home to the world’s largest Bauhaus collection, offering an in-depth introduction to the German avant-garde school and its impact on design, art, and architecture around the world. The museum has its home in a building designed by Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school, and shows a fascinating collection crafted by Bauhaus teachers and students, from ceramics, furniture, and sculpture, to weaving, printing, and bookbinding.
The Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin is set-up in a former train station from 1874. This museum is dedicated to contemporary art from the second half of the 20th century onwards. Painting, sculptures, graphics, photography, video, and installation by international artists like Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys, Jeff Koons, and Pipilotti Rist are on display.
Berlin's Museum of Prints and Drawings houses one of the most important graphic art collections in the world. More than 500,000 prints and 110,000 drawings, watercolors, and oil sketches from every epoch are presented, among them masterpieces by Botticelli, Dürer, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Warhol.
True to its name, the Berlinische Gallery is devoted to Berlin art from 1870 to today; The museum gives fascinating insights into the last centuries of the German capital, including secessionists and Dada, New Objectivity and expressionism, Berlin during the Nazi regime, East- and West-Berlin, and the art scene of Berlin today.