Since 2021, the Humboldt Forum in Berlin's newly built City Palace has been inviting visitors as a place of experience, exchange, encounter and discussion.
The universal museum with a diverse program dedicated to art, culture and science is the latest gem on Berlin's famous Museum Island.
In this guide, we reveal everything you need to know before visiting the cultural center. This includes the exhibitions, visitor information, history and more.
Things to Do at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin
The Humboldt Forum has been expanding the Museum Island's offerings since July 20, 2021, with collections from the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, the Non-European Art Collection, the Berlin Exhibition and the Humboldt Lab.
The museum covers an area of around 30,000 square meters. In the center of the area awaits the Schlüterhof with an experience area, restaurants and the tourist information of the city of Berlin. The Passage, on the other hand, a colonnade path, leads right through the museum building.
See here the highlights of the exhibitions and other things you can do:
Before we turn our attention to the outstanding collections inside, we should first explore the imposing exterior.
Built in eight years, from the outside the museum is a faithful replica of the Berlin Palace, which stood on the same site until 1950 and was considered a major work of northern German Baroque architecture. The Italian architect Franco Stella succeeded in creating a harmonious fusion of reconstructed baroque sculptural facades and state-of-the-art elements.
The construction costs amounted to 677 million euros. This makes the Humboldt Forum the most expensive cultural building in Germany.
2. Berlin Global
The Berlin exhibition "Berlin Global" awaits you on the second floor. The exhibition is designed to thematically link the cultures of the world with the city on the higher floors.
Following the motto "how the world has influenced Berlin, but also how Berlin has had an effect on the world", the focus is on the international history of the city.
3. Humboldt Lab with Permanent Exhibition "After Nature"
Moving on, the Humboldt Lab is also located on the 1st floor.
The space serves as the university's event venue. Imagine a lively workshop of ideas that engages in a dialogue with the public. At least, that's how the lab describes itself.
The permanent interactive exhibition "After Nature," which you can see here, addresses the question of how climate change, species extinction and the crisis of democracy are connected.
4. Exhibition of the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst
The collections of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Museum of Asian Art) provide a deep insight into the cultures of Oceania, America, Asia and Africa. You will find them on the second floor of the Humboldt Forum.
One of the exhibition's highlights is the Luf-Boot, a large outrigger boat from the former South Sea colony of German New Guinea dating from 1903. The boat is so large that it was already moved to the Forum in 2018, as it would not have fit inside once the museum was completed.
5. Sculpture Hall & Palace Cellar
In the Sculpture Hall on the first floor of the Forum, you can view the original sculptures that once adorned the historic facade of the Berlin City Palace. Of particular note are six colossal figures that once decorated the main portal of the courtyard, as well as masterful pieces of Baroque facade decoration.
On the other hand, you can get a glimpse of the historical remains of the palace walls in the Palace Cellar. Descend to the basement, the only preserved area of the Berlin Palace, and stroll through the winding corridors to discover original parts of the palace and a Dominican monastery, as well as found objects of the former inhabitants.
6. Video Panorama
Would you like to know what the area looked like when the city palace stood here? Then take a look at the video panorama on the first floor.
The 27-meter wide panorama will take you through the past eight centuries in 14 minutes, using images and films to show the earlier buildings and significant events that took place on this site.
7. Roof Terrace
Another highlight awaits visitors to the Humboldt Forum on the roof terrace at a height of almost 30 meters. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Museum Island, the lively Alexanderplatz and landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Cathedral.
If you want to sweeten the panoramic view with coffee and cake or an original dinner, you can visit the Baret restaurant on the roof terrace for that.
The roof terrace can be reached via the elevator in the staircase hall. It is open daily except Tuesdays from 10:00 to 20:00.
- Important: Access to the roof terrace is free, but a
time slot ticket is required.
8. Museum Shop & Dining
No less than two stores invite museum guests to browse. Both are located on the first floor and offer a diverse selection of books, posters, accessories, postcards, souvenirs and design and craft objects.
Visitors to the museum have a wide range of gastronomic facilities to choose from. In addition to the aforementioned restaurant on the roof terrace, there is a bistro, a tasting station, and two cafés serving fresh cakes and other snacks. For a breather outdoors, on the other hand, the Restaurant Wilhelm and the Deli Alexander in the Schlüterhof are ideal.
The Humboldt Forum enriches its museum offerings with a diverse array of artistic and scholarly events, ranging from concerts and poetry to discourses on a variety of topics.
- An overview of all upcoming events can be found
Entrance, Tickets & Tours for the Humboldt Forum
- Entrance: The Humboldt Forum is open daily except Tuesdays. On Fridays and Saturdays it is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on the other days from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Access to the exhibitions is via Portal 3 on the west side or via the entrance in the Passage. To reach the video panorama or the sculpture hall, take the path via the Schlüterhof.
- Tickets: Tickets for the various exhibitions of the Humboldt Forum are available on the
official website. Note that a time slot ticket is required for some exhibitions, even if admission is free.
- Tours: The Humboldt Forum offers a selection of diverse guided tours, including tours of specific exhibitions, themes, and the architecture and history of the site. Here you will find a current overview of all the guided tours offered.
- Traveler's Tip: Those who wish can discover the treasures of Museum Island on a guided tour. Guided tours that take you through the historic center of Berlin, including the Humboldt Forum and Museum Island, can be found
How to get to the Humboldt Forum in Berlin?
The Humboldt Forum is located on the Museum Island, in the heart of Berlin.
Alexanderplatz: Take the U5 for 2 stops to the stop U Museumsinsel (Berlin). From there it is only a few steps. Alternatively, take bus 100 (to U Museumsinsel) or walk 15 minutes to the Forum.
- From Potsdamer Platz: Get on bus line 200 at the Varian-Fry-Str stop and go 6 stops to the Fischerinsel station. From here it is only a few minutes walk. Alternatively, you can take the U-Bahn 2 three stops to the U Hausvogteiplatz station and walk the remaining 9 minutes.
FAQ about the Humboldt Forum
The Humboldt Forum stands on Museum Island, in the historic heart of Berlin. The museum is located on the site where the Berlin Palace once stood.
The Humboldt Forum offers a diverse program dedicated to art, culture and science. Among other things, the collections of the Ethnologischen Museums and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, the Berlin exhibition "Berlin Global", the Humboldt Lab with the permanent exhibition "After Nature", the video panorama, historical remains of the Berlin Wall as well as finds from the time of the Berlin Palace and many other changing exhibitions and events are presented.
The Humboldt Forum is open every day except Tuesdays. On Fridays and Saturdays it is open from 10 am to 10 pm, on the other days from 10 am to 8 pm. You can find the current opening hours on the official website.
The official opening of the Humboldt Forum was on July 20, 2021.
History & Facts about the Humboldt Forum Berlin
On the grounds of the Humboldt Forum stood the Berlin Palace, which was built from 1443 to 1451 as the main residence of Brandenburg electors, Prussian kings and German emperors.
The palace was one of the largest buildings in Berlin and had a significant impact on the cityscape until the Second World War. It was here that Frederick the Great was born, it was here that Emperor Wilhelm II gave his speech announcing World War I to the people in the Lustgarten in 1914, and it was here that Karl Liebknecht proclaimed the "Free Socialist Republic of Germany" only four years later.
Just three months before the end of World War II, the palace was hit by bombs and burned for four days. Although it could have been restored, the GDR regime under the leadership of Walter Ulbricht had the still halfway intact palace demolished in 1950 to forever erase the "symbol of Prussian militarism and imperialism". On the now empty area, Marx-Engels-Platz was created, where large marches took place.
In 1976, the Palace of the Republic was opened on the square. But only 14 years later, after reunification, the so-called "House of the People" was first closed and later demolished to make way for the Humboldt Forum, with which the circle was closed again. The construction work lasted from 2012 to 2020. The official opening of the Humboldt Forum took place on July 20, 2021.