With its long history, Berlin has an array of fascinating museums that cater to both broad interests and specialty niches. The UNESCO-heritage-listed Berlin Museum Island is a great starting point to explore the wonders of the museum and the city's culture.
Museum Island has 5 museums in total that boast everything from art and cultural exhibits to oddities, so here's all you need to know to visit Museum Island and make the most of your time there.
Museum Island history
The 1st museum on Museum Island was the Altes Museum built in 1830, which was designed to offer collections of renowned art and important historical artefacts to the public. The rest of the museums were completed in 1930.
Over time, the collections of these museums became a source of national pride and knowledge. Though much of the island was damaged during WWII and the Neues Museum was in ruins, reconstruction began under East German rule, and the full renovation master plan came after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1999. The island was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, and a promenade was proposed to connect the buildings, entrance, cafes and the gardens of the Alte Nationalgalerie.
The Alte Nationalgalerie is a historic art museum with thousands of paintings and sculptures from the 19th century. The collections span the important movements in Europe, including romanticism and impressionism. Some of the museum's highlights include the impressionist painting collection with masterpieces by Monet, European sculptures and paintings by artists like Gustave Courbet and the Age of Goethe collection.
The Altes Museum
The Altes Museum was created during the early 19th century and is a faithful representation of neoclassical architecture with its iconic Greek columns. The museum has a massive collection of classical antiquities and art and cultural artefacts of the Greeks, Romans and Etruscan people. Highlights of the museum include ancient Greek artwork and sculpture and works from the Roman and Etruscan Imperial Period.
The Neues Museum
The Neues Museum is a popular landmark and important feature in 19th-century art and architectural history. The museum has works in 3 different collections of artefacts from around the world, including an Egyptian and papyrus collection, which features the famous head of Nefertiti, a collection of prehistory and an antiquities collection.
The Pergamon Museum is a wonder of Near and Middle Eastern architecture and boasts a large collection of Islamic and European artwork. You could see such fascinating pieces as the classical antiquities of Greece and Rome, such as the Market Gate of Miletus, the collection of the ancient Near East and artefacts from Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Syria and historic Muslim pieces like the façade of the caliph's palace.
The Bode Museum
The Bode Museum was created by Wilhelm von Bode, an art collector and curator. The museum hosted collections of Christian sculpture and Old Master paintings, though it was damaged during WWII. The museum has since been refurbished and holds collections of sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, European paintings, a numismatic collection of coins from the 7th century B.C. and Byzantine Art from the 3rd to the 15th century.
The Lustgarten, or 'pleasure garden', was intended as a kitchen garden for the nearby palace, but it has been used as a military parade ground and is now a lovely public park where you can enjoy a picnic or quiet stroll.
About the museums
Most of the museums on Museum Island are open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday.
You can purchase tickets to one museum or a combined ticket for all 5, as well as an audio guide in English and concessions. The Berlin Welcome Card offers transport and discounts on admissions, food and activities. Admission is free for visitors under 18 years of age.
You can reach Museum Island from U-Bahn U6; S-Bahn lines S1, S2, S5, S7, S25 and S75; Trams M1, M4, M5, M6 and M12; and Buses TXL 100, 147 and 200.
If you're planning a trip to Berlin Museum Island, be sure to plan your itinerary so you can see all the highlights of the island's museums. To make the most of your trip, check out Expedia to find out about Berlin holidays and get great deals on travel!