Are you a dedicated museum goer? Then our list of the best museums in Berlin is just right for you.
As a cultural metropolis, the German capital offers a top-class range of over 170 museums. Their exhibitions attract interested people from all over the world.
We reveal to you below the 30 best museums in Berlin. The exhibitions cover the topics of art and design, history and natural history, as well as science and technology.
Have fun choosing your favorites...
1. Topography of Terror
At Topography of Terror, on the site of the former Nazi terror headquarters, you can explore Germany's darkest chapter. With around 1.3 million visitors, the documentation center, which retraces the terror of the National Socialists under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, especially during the period of rule from 1933 to 1945, is the most visited museum in Berlin.
The exhibitions, to which you have free admission, focus on the following:
- Topography of Terror. Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Main Office in Wilhelm- and Prinz-Albrecht-Straße.
- Berlin 1933-1945. Between Propaganda and Terror
- The historical site Topography of Terror. A tour via 15 stations
- Please visit the museum's website for opening hours and ticket prices.
- For more details about this attraction, read our complete guide to Topography of Terror.
2. Humboldt Forum
Since July 20, 2021, the Humboldt Forum has expanded the Museum Island's offerings with collections from the Ethnological Museum Berlin, the Museum of Asian Art, the non-European art collection, the Berlin Exhibition and the Humboldt Lab.
Built in eight years, the building, seen from the outside, is a faithful replica of the Berlin City Palace, which stood on the same site until 1950 and was considered a major work of northern German Baroque architecture. Visible from afar, the museum covers an area of around 30,000 square meters. The construction costs amounted to 677 million euros. This makes the Humboldt Forum the most expensive cultural building in Germany.
- Read more details about this sight in our complete guide to the Humboldt Forum.
3. Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History (Museum für Naturkunde) is one of the largest museums in Germany dedicated to natural history. Visitors can marvel at some 30 million objects here.
Highlights include one of the best-preserved skeletons of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the superstar among dinosaurs, the dinosaur Diplocodus, the Archaeopteryx Lithographica, a three-meter-high multimedia globe showing animations and film sequences on the topics of plate tectonics, volcanism, the impact of asteroids and meteorites, mountain building and the atmosphere, and a mobile projection sky that tells the story of the universe.
4. Neues Museum
The Neues Museum ("New Museum") was built between 1843 and 1855. It combines the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History and the Collection of Antiquities under one roof.
The showpiece of the Egyptian Museum's impressive collection, which spans the period from 3000 BC to Roman times, is undoubtedly the world-famous bust of Nefertiti. The skull of the Neanderthal of Le Moustier, Heinrich Schliemann's collection of Trojan antiquities and the "Berlin Gold Hat" are the highlights of the Museum of Prehistory and Early History, which represents the development from the Palaeolithic Age to the High Middle Ages.
- Tip: The Neues Museum is one of the five exhibition houses on Museum Island. You can save a lot of money with a combined ticket for all houses of the Museum Island.
- For the current opening hours, please refer to the museum's website.
5. Deja Vu Museum
The newly opened Deja Vu Museum in the heart of Berlin promises an interactive adventure full of optical tricks and illusions. Covering an area of 1000 m², it offers a wide range of attractions and includes diverse exhibits that can be divided into the following categories:
- Digital exhibits: Marvel at incredible digital artworks and interactive installations that use cutting-edge technologies to create unique experiences.
- Physical Exhibits: Explore captivating physical illusions that transport you to a world where the lines between reality and fantasy blur.
- Optical Exhibits: Be mesmerized by optical illusions that challenge your mind and creatively deceive your perceptions.
- Interactive Exhibits: Engage in fascinating interactive exhibits where you become the protagonist of the illusion and gain a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms.
- Permanent exhibition: The permanent exhibition of Oleg Shupliak featuring about 60 exhibits encourages you to find the hidden details in the paintings. Shupliak's art is characterized by the multifaceted nature of the various artistic styles used and the leitmotif that remains constant throughout.
Opening hours: Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Buy Tickets: Online ticketing website
Martin Gropius Bau in Kreuzberg, Berlin is one of the most beautiful exhibition halls in Berlin. Discover cultural history, contemporary art, as well as photography here and experience temporary exhibitions of international standing.
Renowned international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Frida Kahlo, and Olafur Eliasson regularly exhibit their impressive works in the Renaissance building from 1881, which was once opened as a museum of arts and crafts. The Gropius Bau also hosts events such as the Jazzfest Berlin, for example, or the national competitions of the Berliner Festspiele.
7. DDR Museum
Take a trip back in time to the former GDR! In the DDR Museum, you will learn everything about life in the German Democratic Republic. You are invited to expand your knowledge in an entertaining way and experience history up close. Authentic originals and worldwide unique interactive installations are waiting to be touched and tried out.
Highlights of the exhibition are the Trabi driving simulation in an original Trabant P 601, a faithfully furnished Plattenbau apartment with five rooms, numerous interactive games for young and old, the monumental mural "In Praise of Communism" and the opportunity to touch many of the exhibits. This is where grown-ups, teenagers and children can get active themselves.
8. Pergamon Museum
The Pergamon Museum was built from 1910 to 1930. The three-winged museum houses the Collection of Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East and the Museum of Islamic Art. Due to the impressive reconstructions of the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate with the Processional Way of Babylon, and the Mshatta Façade, the Pergamon Museum has gained worldwide fame.
In the course of the redevelopment within the framework of the "Museum Island Master Plan", the hall with the Pergamon Altar will remain closed until at least 2024. The north wing and the Hellenistic Hall are also closed. The finds from Uruk and Habuba Kabira as well as the rooms with Babylonian, Old Iranian and Sumerian monuments are not accessible either. However, the south wing of the Pergamon Museum with the Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way and the Museum of Islamic Art, as well as the hall with the Market Gate of Miletus are open.
The temporary exhibition "Pergamon Museum - The Panorama" focuses on the city of Pergamon in Roman times around 129 AD and serves as a counterpart, so to speak, to the closed hall with the Pergamon Altar.
- Tip: The Pergamon Museum is one of the five exhibition houses of the Museum Island. You can save a lot of money with a combined ticket for all museums of the Museum Island.
9. Deutsches Technikmuseum
The Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology), founded in 1983, is committed to presenting technical developments in their interaction with social, economic and political history. The thematic focus is placed on the three major areas of transportation: rail, air and sea. The permanent exhibition awaits visitors with 19 technological themes and several special exhibitions that change annually.
In the adjacent Science Center Spectrum, children and teenagers can explore phenomena in a playful and independent way. The motto is "Play and marvel," "Look and try," and "Laugh and learn." The world of experiments consists of eight thematic areas.
10. Neue Nationalgalerie
The Neue Nationalgalerie ("New National Gallery") in the Kulturforum presents European and U.S. painting and sculpture of the 20th century, from classical modernism to the art of the 1960s.
Works by artists of Cubism, Expressionism, Bauhaus and Surrealism are the focal points of the collection. Admire works by Kirchner, Picasso, Gris, Leger, Laurens, Klee, Feininger, Dix and Kokoschka, among others.
11. Charlottenburg Palace
With Baroque, Rococo, and Classicism - Charlottenburg Palace awaits its visitors with no less than three architectural styles that reflect the taste of the respective eras in which the palace was inhabited.
Built in several sections from 1695 to 1791, the former summer residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty, including the palace garden, Belvedere, Mausoleum and New Pavilion, is the most important palace complex in Berlin and is now home to the Palace Museum with the crown treasure of the Hohenzollern dynasty.
- Read our guide to Charlottenburg Palace and get all the information you need for your visit, including how to get there.
12. Jewish Museum
Europe's largest Jewish Museum has been in Berlin since 2001. It basically consists of two buildings: the old Kollegienhaus from the 18th century and the new building designed by Daniel Libeskind. The permanent exhibition gives an overview of 1700 years of German-Jewish history. The museum also maintains an archive, a library and an academy, which are designed to communicate Jewish culture and Jewish-German history.
The Libeskind Building features spectacular architecture that symbolizes German-Jewish history. The zigzag-shaped new building made of titanium zinc contains three intersecting "axes" that symbolize the stages of Jewish life in Germany: the axis of exile, the axis of continuity and the axis of the Holocaust. Empty spaces, or "voids," are located throughout the building and represent the physical emptiness left behind by the Holocaust.
13. German Spy Museum
KGB, Stasi, CIA, MI6 and MAD - Welcome to the world of secret services from East and West. Berlin was the "capital of spies" during the "Cold War". In the German Spy Museum ("Deutsches Spionagemuseum") you will discover the traces of the international spies, whose activities ranged from exchanging agents at the Glienicke Bridge to "tapping" enemy communications in the interception facility on the Teufelsberg.
As soon as you enter the museum on Leipziger Platz, countless cameras are staring down at you. Then walk through the "time tunnel" that leads into the 3,000-square-meter museum, which introduces you to the history of espionage digitally, but also with historical "tools of the trade" used by secret agents. Marvel at an umbrella with an integrated poison dart, bug heel shoes or even gloves with a gun. James Bond sends his regards!
14. Alte Nationalgalerie
The Alte Nationalgalerie ("Old National Gallery") was built from 1862 to 1876 in the Classicist and Neo-Renaissance styles. With the beginning of the Second World War, the collection was evacuated. The building was severely damaged by bombing and was swiftly renovated after the end of the war.
Today, the second floor of the Alte Nationalgalerie displays classicist sculptures and "Ways of Realism". Works of Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism are exhibited on the second floor. Works from the Goethe period and Romanticism can be admired on the third floor.
Also admire the magnificent colonnaded courtyard, which was reopened in 2010. In addition to the colonnades, the courtyard features sculptures, busts and magnificent plants that form a harmonious symphony with the historic museum buildings on Museum Island.
- Tip: The Alte Nationalgalerie is one of the five exhibition houses of the Museum Island. You can save a lot of money with a ticket for all museums of the Museum Island.
The Futurium is a project initiative of scientific institutions and networks of business enterprises and foundations in cooperation with the German government. It defines itself as a "place for presentation and dialogue on science, research and development".
"How do we want to live?" This is the question posed by the Haus der Zukünfte (House of the Future) with its exhibition on the upper floor, and it attempts to provide answers with various thinking spaces on the topics of mankind, nature and technology. You can touch, participate and try things out in the Future Lab in the basement. Workshops and various events complete the program of the house.
16. Hohenschönhausen Memorial
In the days of the GDR, opposition members, escape helpers, and political prisoners served time in the former Hohenschönhausen Stasi prison. Today, the memorial in the district of the same name recalls the history of the buildings, most of which have been well-preserved and give an authentic impression of the prison conditions between 1946 and 1990.
The permanent exhibition features around 300 photos and almost 500 objects, providing numerous testimonies of political persecution. In a separate part of the exhibition, the world of the perpetrators is examined. Changing special exhibitions illuminate details on the subject of the GDR, the Stasi and political persecution. Admission to the memorial, which has more than 400,000 visitors annually, is free.
17. Altes Museum
The Altes Museum (Old Museum), built from 1823 to 1830, houses a significant collection of antiquities. Moreover, the building itself is one of the most outstanding examples of classicist architecture. During the Second World War, this building was severely damaged by Allied air raids and burned out. It was largely restored to its original state from 1951 to 1966 and reopened as the city's first museum.
Today, the museum is home to a collection of antiquities that showcases the art and culture of the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans. The coin cabinet completes the presentation of classical antiquity.
- Tip: The Altes Museum is one of the five exhibition houses of the Museum Island. You can save a lot of money with a combined ticket for all museums of the Museum Island.
18. Berlinische Galerie
The Berlinische Galerie is a museum of modern art, presenting art created exclusively in Berlin from 1870 to the present day. The collection is interdisciplinary and shows fine art, architecture, photography as well as drawing.
The exhibitions inevitably reflect the city's eventful history. The Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi dictatorship, the new beginning in the divided city, the Cold War, reunification and finally the present are brought to life in the mirror of art.
19. Berliner Unterwelten Museum
Venture beneath the streets of Berlin and discover an unknown world in the underground. An air-raid shelter in the Gesundbrunnen subway station has been converted into the Berliner Unterwelten Museum ("Berlin Underworlds Museum") and offers ten different public tours. The multimedia permanent exhibition "Mythos Germania - Vision und Verbrechen" (Myth of Germania - Vision and Crime) highlights architecture and urban planning in Berlin during the Nazi era in seven thematic sections. The special exhibition "War Bunkers as City Decoration - Nazi Planning for Peacetime" is an integral part of the permanent exhibition. Another theme is civilian air raid protection during World War II.
However, the exhibition is also devoted to facilities without a military background, such as the sewer system, the inner-city pneumatic tube system, subway brewery relics and unfinished subway stations. Tunnel escapes under the Berlin Wall and civil defense facilities for nuclear emergencies are two other tours on the subject of the Cold War.
20. Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum of Contemporary Art
The Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum of Contemporary Art is part of the Berlin National Gallery and is one of the National Museums in Berlin. The Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in the former reception building of the Hamburger Bahnhof, which was the terminus of the railroad line between Hamburg and Berlin between 1846 and 1884.
It was not until 1987 that the old train station was again used as a museum with the exhibition " Reise nach Berlin" ("Journey to Berlin"). After extensive renovation and reconstruction, the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum der Gegenwart was opened in 1996. It includes works from the National Gallery Collection and the Marx Collection, as well as the permanent loan of the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, one of the largest public collections of contemporary art in the world.
The Gemäldegalerie ("Picture Gallery") is home to one of the world's most important collections of European painting from the 13th to the 18th century. The art treasures have been presented in the Kulturforum since 1998, but the history of the Gemäldegalerie dates back to 1830.
You can admire, in particular, German and Italian painting from the 13th to 16th centuries, as well as Dutch paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries. Some special exhibits in the gallery are masterpieces by Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel, Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt and Jan Vermeer van Delft.
22. Body Worlds Berlin
Under the motto "Facets of Life", the world's first Body Worlds Museum exhibits 20 full-body sculptures and around 200 partial plastinates in the base of the Alexander Tower. They provide a deep insight into the anatomy and physiology of the human and animal body.
Muscles, tendons, nerves, bones and organs are exposed. This allows you to closely study, for example, the digestive tract, the nervous system or the cardiovascular system and marvel at how similar humans and animals are. Plastination is a preservation process invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens that keeps treated cadavers from decaying and makes them odorless and durable indefinitely.
23. Bode Museum
The history of the Bode Museum dates back to 1904. Today, the picturesque building is home to the Sculpture Collection, which presents one of the most extensive collections in Germany. It also houses the Museum of Byzantine Art, which displays works and everyday objects from Western Rome and the Byzantine Empire, and the Coin Cabinet, with one of the world's largest collections of coins.
A criminal case occurred in the Coin Cabinet in 2017. A Big Maple Leaf gold coin weighing around 100 kilograms, with a face value of one million Canadian dollars but a material value of around 3.8 million euros, was stolen overnight. The suspects were later caught and convicted, but the coin itself was never found.
- Tip: The Bode Museum is one of the five exhibition houses on Museum Island. You can save a lot of money with a combined ticket for all the museums of the Museum Island.
24. Science Center Spectrum
At the Science Center Spectrum in Kreuzberg, children and teenagers can explore phenomena in a playful and autonomous way. The motto is "Play and marvel", "Look and try" and "Laugh and learn".
The world of experiments consists of the following subject areas: vision and perception, light and sight, microcosm and macrocosm, heat and temperature, electricity and magnetism, force and energy, mechanics and motion, and music and hearing.
25. C/O Berlin
C/O Berlin is located in a historical landmark building, called the Amerika-Haus, in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin. It presents photography exhibitions in a 2,500-square-meter space. Changing exhibitions of photographs by international photographers are displayed, complemented by artist talks, lectures, workshops, seminars, and guided tours.
Since 2006, the museum has organized an annual competition for young contemporary photography under the title "Talents".
26. Berlin Wall Memorial
During the time of the inner-German division, the Berlin Wall ran along Bernauer Strasse. It separated the city districts of "Mitte" in the east and "Wedding" in the west. Over the course of time, the former border strip was the scene of numerous escape attempts and dramatic events. Today, the historic site on Bernauer Strasse is the central place of remembrance for the division of Germany and for the victims of death at the Wall.
The Berlin Wall Memorial is divided into four thematic areas and covers a length of 1.4 km on 4.4 hectares. It contains the last section of the Wall, which has been preserved in its depth and can give you a good impression of the structure of the former border fortifications.
- You have free admission to all areas of the memorial.
- For more details, read our complete guide to the Berlin Wall.
27. Computer Games Museum
The GDR game machine Poly-Play, the world's first gaming computer Nimrod, classics such as Asteroid and Space Invaders, an arcade with original arcades and various 3D simulators. These are the highlights of the Computer Games Museum (Computerspielemuseum) in Karl-Marx-Allee, which presents the world's largest collection from 60 years of computer games.
Here, not only nerds and geeks can test their skills on Pong from the 70s, Space Invaders from the 80s, Super Mario from the 90s and many other consoles. Original arcade game machines await gamers in an arcade with a flashy 80s look.
28. Disgusting Food Museum
Disgusting Food Museum - The name says it all. Therefore, you will search in vain for treats and must be aware that the world's most disgusting foods and dishes are presented here in a permanent exhibition.
What's the quickest way to reach your disgust threshold? Frog smoothies from Peru? Maggot cheese from Sardinia? Grilled dog from China? If you dare, you can try some of the food exhibits at the Tasting Bar. In fact, you can even take some of the disgusting food samples home to taste them. However, the exhibition is more than just a disgust spectacle. The museum also wants to get you thinking about the meaning of food and taste in different cultures around the world.
29. Museum of Photography
Admire all forms of photographic art from the 19th to the 21st century at the Museum of Photography. The main attraction of the house is undoubtedly the exhibition on the life's work of star photographer Helmut Newton, who was born in Berlin in 1920 as the son of the Jewish Neustädter family and was forced to leave in 1938.
Since the 1970s, Helmut Newton was one of the most sought-after and expensive fashion, advertising, portrait and nude photographers in the world. Shortly before his death in 2004, Newton had set up a foundation and bequeathed many of his photos to it. Since 2004, these photos have been on permanent display on two floors of the former Landwehr Casino. The exhibition "Helmut Newton's Private Property" gives you an insight into the different creative phases of the artist. On the third floor, you can see works by other well-known photographers.
30. Museum Berggruen
The collections of classical modern art of the Neue Nationalgalerie are complemented in the Museum Berggruen with unique works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Alberto Giacometti.
The collector and art dealer Heinz Berggruen sold his private collection of 165 works to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for far less than their value. It is considered one of the world's most important private collections of classical modern art. The Museum Berggruen was built in the 1850s. Its dome is a reference to the Charlottenburg Palace located opposite.
Bonus: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - Holocaust Memorial
Although not a museum in the conventional sense, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe belongs on this page as Germany's central Holocaust memorial. The memorial commemorates the up to six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and is laid out as an undulating "field of stelae" with a total of 2711 cuboid stelae.
Due to the fact that the memorial is freely accessible, you can experience and feel the Holocaust memorial by walking through the field of stelae. This walk is meant to make you think, but also to remind you of the horror and the victims. Due to the uneven, supposedly swaying ground, a sense of confusion is often evoked in the visitor.
In addition to the field of stelae, you can also visit the underground Information Center, which is part of the memorial. Here, the persecution and extermination of the Jews of Europe and the sites of these crimes are documented.
- Note: The Field of Stelae is accessible 24 hours, but the Information Center is not.
- Find out more details about this sight in our complete guide to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Holocaust Memorial).
Our Tip: Long Night of Museums Berlin
An absolute highlight in Berlin is the Long Night of Museums, where numerous museums and exhibition venues open their doors for one night.
You can visit all participating museums with just one ticket on this very special night, which takes place annually on the last Sunday in August from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. In general, 70 to 80 museums participate with over 750 events. Shuttle buses are provided and are included in the ticket price, so you can move quickly and easily between the museums.
In this multifaceted program with workshops, special exhibitions, short tours, installations, shows, conversations with contemporary artists, music, readings, and culinary delights you can immerse yourself in Berlin's fascinating world of art and culture!
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