Museumsinsel - Museum Island, Berlin

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    REOPENING OF THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM.

    by breughel Updated Jan 30, 2011

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    Egypt Royal Couple.
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    The Egyptian Museum at the Museuminsel is one of the three best Egyptian museums in Europe. Its shares this position with the Egyptian departments of Le Louvre and the British Museum.
    Visiting Berlin without seeing the famous bust of Nefertiti would be as sad as visiting Paris without seeing La Joconde-Mona Lisa!

    The Egyptian Museum, now located in the Neues Museum at the Museuminsel, reopened on 16th of October 2009. The collection consists of 45.000 objects. Most famous are the bust of Nefertiti, the sculpture with the head of Queen Tiy and the so called "Berlin Green Head". There is also a papyrus collection with 60.000 texts in various scripts.

    I visited twice the Egyptian collection when it was located in Charlottenburg. So I can not comment the present lay out but I can say that it is a wonderful collection of Egyptian art. Indeed it seemed to me that in Berlin priority was given to the aesthetical value of the exposed artefacts. Le Louvre and British Museum are more oriented towards artefacts and objects of daily life in Egypt.

    NEW. Nefertiti arrived in Berlin a century ago. Mr. Zahi Hawass, chief of the Antiquities in Cairo, is now aggressively claiming its return to Egypt. The case of the bust of Nefertiti is poisoning the relations between Egypt and Germany.
    Nefertiti is not the only artifact claimed by Mr. Hawass; there are some thousand objects he wants to get back. It sounds a bit strange knowing that the Egyptian museums have already no room to display thousands and thousands antic objects (security is a new problem as seen on 28/01/2011).

    Opening hours:
    Mon, Tue, Wed and Sunday 10.00 - 18.00 h
    Thu, Fri, Sat 10.00 - 20.00 h.

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    NEFERTITI exhibition at the Neues Museum.

    by breughel Written Mar 1, 2013

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    Since end 2009 the Egyptian collection is on display in the renovated Neues Museum on the Museumsinsel.

    The icon of the museum is the bust of Nefertiti (ca.1370 - 1330 BC) the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton known for worshipping one god only, Aton the sun disc.
    This bust, 50 cm high, is made of limestone covered with modeled gypsum. The eye is inlayed with crystal and the pupil attached with black colored wax. The second eye-inlay was never carried out. It is for me the most beautiful work of Egyptian art due to the fine modeling of the face and the preservation of the color. The bust was made as a model by the court sculptor Thutmosis
    I like to compare Nefertiti with another museum icon, La Joconde. It's clear for me; I might fall in love with Nefertiti, not with Mona Lisa!

    In the Neues Museum, Nefertiti has a room for herself and is now the highlight of a special exhibition "Im Licht von Amarna" that marks 100 Years of the discovery of the bust of Nefertiti on 6 December 1912 in the ruins of the ancient Egyptian city of Akhetaton today known as Tell el-Amarna.

    The exhibition details the discovery of the bust of Nefertiti by archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt during excavations in 1912 and 1913 on behalf of the Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. In 1920 the bust and all other objects were given to the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

    This special AMARNA exhibition is open from 07/12/2012 till 13/04/2013 every day from 10 to 18 h (20 h on Thursday).
    Best is to reserve your visit online www.imlichtvonamarna.de at 14 €. Well worth as you can also visit the other parts of the Neues Museum.

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    Five Museums on the Museumsinsel.

    by breughel Updated Mar 22, 2013

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    Museumsinsel map.
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    I hope I will live long enough to see the end of the renovation works at what is going to be one of the cultural highlights of our old continent.
    On my first visit in the early 1990s I saw the Pergamon Museum and part of the Altes Museum. My impression from outside looking at this DDR part of Berlin was that WW II had only just stopped!

    On my second visit in the early 2000s I showed the Pergamon to my wife but we went to Charlottenburg to see the Egyptian museum.

    On this third visit we could finally see the results of the renovation works at least inside the museums because outside works are still going on obliging visitors to approach the entrances by strange paths (Pergamon). "Bauwerke" everywhere as you can see from my pic.

    The Neues Museum with the icon Nefertiti of the Egyptian collection and Early History of Europe is a must ( Nefertiti exhibition ).
    The Pergamon museum is the most spectacular of the five with the Pergamon Altar , the market gate of Miletus and the Ishtargate of Babylon .
    The Alte Nationalgalerie to discover with paintings of the 19th c. was for me an interesting introduction to German painters, showing also some French Impressionists.
    We had no time (actually were too tired) to see the Altes Museum with its Antiquity collection.
    Our last visit was to the Bode-Museum where we discovered medieval sculptures who made us feel enthusiast.

    OPEN: Pergamon & Neues Museum. Every day 10 - 18 h.
    Altes Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum & Bode-Museum are closed on Monday; Open other days 10 - 18 h.

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    Neues Museum.

    by breughel Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    Egyptian collection in Neues Museum
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    This museum built around 1850 has been closed for 70 years and reopened in October 2009 after important reconstruction works.
    Under one roof are now three separate collections:
    The most important is the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection on levers 0, 1 and part of two.
    The icon of this collection is the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti (room 210 - see my review Nefertiti exhibition .
    The Egyptian collection is one of the three best Egyptian collections I have seen in Europe. Its shares this position with the Egyptian departments of Le Louvre and the British Museum.
    Visiting Berlin without seeing the famous bust of Nefertiti would be as sad as visiting Paris without seeing La Joconde-Mona Lisa!
    The collection consists of 45.000 objects. Most famous are the bust of Nefertiti, the sculpture with the head of Queen Tiy and the so called "Berlin Green Head". There is also a papyrus collection with 60.000 texts in various scripts.
    The second collection is that of the Prehistory and Early History in Europe and neighbouring regions on part of level 1, 2 and level 3. Next to Greece and Rome there are interesting rooms about the Northern Neighbours of Rome. The icon of this part is the Roman bronze statue "Xantener Knaben" (Xanten Youth - room 201) from 1st c. AD.
    Last is a collection of Classical Antiquities.

    The visit of the Neues Museum needs 3 - 4 hours. Photos allowed except the Nefertiti part.

    Open: Monday - Sunday 10 - 18 h. Thursday till 20 h.
    Price: 14 € (including special Amarna - Nefertiti exhibition with time slot).

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    Museumsinsel

    by sue_stone Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    On Museumsinsel
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    Museumsinsel is a small island in the Spree River. The 'island of museums' not surprisingly gets its name from all of the museums located on it.

    This UNESCO World Heritage Sight is one of the most important complexes of museums in the world. When it was discovered that the island was slowly decaying, a massive renovation/restoration project commenced (back in 1992) and is due to be completed by 2010. When finished, all of the museums will be linked by an 'architectural promenade'.

    The museums are gradually being re-opened after restoration. The main museum here is the Pergamon Museum, which is one of the most important museums of ancient art and architecture in the world.

    You can also visit the Altes Museum, which looks a little like a Greek temple and houses ancient art and sculpture from Rome & Greece, or the Alte Nationalgalerie with its collection of 19th century European art.

    The island is also home to Berliner Dom and the remains of the Royal Palace, along with some lovely gardens and some shady places to rest your museum-weary feet.

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    Impressive Buildings and Collections in the Spree

    by Kakapo2 Updated Oct 2, 2007

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    The TV Tower is not far from Museum Island.

    Even if you do not put a foot into the museums you will most probably be impressed of Museumsinsel, the Museum Island, located on rather a big island in the river Spree. The museums cover the northern tip of the island.

    The architecture, and even more the agglomeration of such a lot of glorious buildings on such a small space, is breathtaking. Five architects worked on the design of this outstanding ensemble which got World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1999. Restoration and modernisation works are still being executed, and they estimate this will be going on until 2010. You will not be bothered until then, so much already looks absolutely fantastic.

    Building the ensemble took a hundred years until 1930. The impressive Berliner Dom (Berlin Dome) sits amongst the museums and enhances the beauty of everything. The highlight of all museums is Pergamonmuseum, built around the Pergamon Altar, found in Turkey.

    When talking about Museumsinsel we should not forget to mention that also the City Castle (Stadtschloss), main residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty, was located there. Despite protests the GDR regime ordered the demolition of the palace in 1950/51. Today you see a vast area called Schlossplatz. Discussions are going on if the castle should be reconstructed. Beautiful Schlossbrücke across the river Spree connects Schlossplatz and Unter den Linden. Statues made of white Carrara marble adorn the granite pillars.

    The northern part of the island once was a swamp, so no buildings were constructed there in the Middle Age. The area was reinforced by gravel in 1825, and the first museum was built on pillars.

    If you cross one of the Spree bridges after the Dome Nikolaiviertel and Alexanderplatz are within easy reach.

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    Pergamonmuseum - Purpose-built for an Altar

    by Kakapo2 Updated Oct 21, 2012

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    Pergamonmuseum is the high central building.

    Hordes of tourists flock into this museum, and you will understand why when you stand in front of the most impressive and huge Pergamon altar, found in Turkey by the engineer Carl Humann in the 19th century. It took him 20 years to put all the pieces together again. It is a bit like standing in front of one of the temples of the Acropolis in Athens, with the difference that there is a building around the temple, and it is perfectly intact.

    The Pergamonmuseum was purpose-built from 1910 to 1930 by Alfred Messels and Ludwig Hoffmann to host this altar.

    Already the word “altar” is a little misleading as it is huge. And to imagine what huge means read this: The frieze, adorned by an incredible lot of sculptures, is 113 metres long! The sculptures show the fight of the gods with the giant. The altar from the acropolis of the antique city of Pergamon in Asia Minor.

    Other artefacts from Pergamon also hosted in the museum include parts of the Athena Temple.

    Further you find Greek sculptures, a Roman gate (the famous Market Gate of Milet from 130 AC, mosaics and a large sarcophagus.

    Also the collections of Islamic Art, and art and jewellery from the Middle East and Central Asia are unique in the world. A piece of outstanding beauty is the 30 metre long brick processional way of ancient Babylon with the so-called Lion Paintings.

    Everything you can see in this museum is the result of large-scale German expeditions and archaelogical excavations starting at the end of the 19th century.

    Open daily 10am – 6pm, Thursday 10am – 9pm (only until 8pm from 1 Nov 2012)
    Admission 10 Euro (as Oct. 2012)

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    Alte Nationalgalerie on Museumsinsel.

    by breughel Updated Mar 24, 2013

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    Adolph Menzel
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    This Nationalgalerie on the Museumsinsel is called "Alte" not for the collection which is from the 19th century but for the building from around 1870. The collection of Ancient Paintings from the 14th to 18th century is located in the "Gemäldegalerie" a modern building at the Kulturforum Potsdammer Platz. At this Kulturforum stands also the Neue Nationalgalerie with 20th century works.
    The paintings on display at the Alte Nationalgalerie are mainly from German painters but there are some very good works of French Impressionists. They were the main reason for my visit but very soon I got interested by the German painters especially the Realists and in another genre the Romanticism and Idealism schools.
    On the first floor are on display a number of paintings with a fine sense of coloring of Adolph Menzel and Anton von Werner with subjects of Prussian history.
    The 2nd floor shows a collection of high quality French Impressionist paintings. I much liked a beautiful Claude Monet "Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois à Paris" and an Edouard Manet "Jardin d'Hiver".
    On this floor are on display works of Caspar David Friedrich the master of German Romantic art as well as fine landscapes.
    The 3rd floor shows art of the Goethe era and paintings of German artists working in Rome. Biedermeier art is also represented here.

    I found my visit well worth as I could enlarge my 19th century horizon of paintings schools.

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    The Museums of Museumsinsel

    by Kakapo2 Updated Oct 2, 2007

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    Bode-Museum, at the northern tip of the island.

    The absolute hit is Pergamonmuseum (see extra tip)

    The other museums:

    Altes Museum:
    Built by famous Karl Friedrich Schinkel from 1825 to 1830, a masterpiece of neo-classical architecture. It has a 87 metre high portico supported by 18 Ionic columns. Behind them the red marble which was used for the construction is visible.
    It is one of the first custom-built museums, constructed to host the royal collection of paintings and antiquities. Today it hosts the etching cabinet and temporary exhibitions.
    The most famous exhibit (until 2009) is the the more than 3000 years old sculpture of the Egyptian Queen Nofretete.

    Alte Nationalgalerie:
    This gallery, designed by Friedrich August Stüler and finished by Johann Heinrich Strack from 1867 to 1876, was reopened in December 2001. Here you find German and European paintings (including the French impressionists Monet, Manet and Renoir) and sculptures from the 19th century, as well as an antique temple. The equestrian sculpture on the outside staircase depicts King Friedrich Wilhelm IV who had the idea to create the Museum Island.

    Bode-Museum:
    This rounded building at the very northern tip of the island, built by Ernst von Ihne from 1898 to 1904, was reopened in 2006. It hosts collections of Late Antiquity and Byzantine art. The museum is named after the director of the Berlin museums at the time.

    Neues Museum
    This was still not finished when we visited in August 2007. It is planned to reopen in 2008.

    All museums on Museumsinsel open daily 10am – 6pm, Thursday 10am – 10pm
    Entry Fee 8 Euro

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    Bode Museum - Sculpture Collection.

    by breughel Written Mar 31, 2013

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    Knight-saints by Martin Z��rn, 1638.
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    This first visit to the sculpture collection of the Bode Museum was well above my expectations.
    Years ago I discovered the medieval sculptures at the Cluny Museum in Paris and since than I'm fascinated by this art on stone but even more on wood. I'm glad to say that the Bode Museum is the alter ego of the Cluny Museum for sculptures.
    The Sculpture Collection at the Bode Museum by reuniting several dispersed works is one of Germany's largest collections going from the early Middle Ages to the late 18th c.
    The visit starts with some spectacular large wooden sculptures of knight-saints by Martin Zürn from the altar of the church in Wasserburg am Inn dating from 1638. The knight on the right is Saint Florian, the one on the left must be Saint Andrew holding a flag with the cross of Burgundy.
    On display are numerous pieces of Italian sculpture by different schools, mainly from the period of the Renaissance.
    I liked this "Princess of Urbino" and a "Lamentation over the Dead Christ" in limewood by G. Giuliani around 1725, but my preference went to the German sculptures less known for me than the Italians so that I will write a specific comment on some of my "coups de cœur" favorites.

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    Walk across the Bridge...

    by Greggor58 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Berliner Dom,Museum Island,Berlin,Germany.
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    And you have arrived....Museum Island lies between the River Spree and Kupfergraben...here you will find the Pergamon Museum...the Altes Museum....the Neues Museum....the Bode Museum....the Alte Nationalgalerie....and the Berliner Dom....the Lustgarten

    Museum Island was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999....I will quote the UNESCO WWW regarding the Museum Island..."The museum as a social phenomenon owes its origins to the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century. The five museums on the Museumsinsel in Berlin, built between 1824 and 1930, are the realization of a visionary project and show the evolution of approaches to museum design over the course of the 20th century."Hence the designation of UNESCO status....

    So....on a rainy or grey day that isnt so nice to be outdoors ....you could easily loose a day or two...or three or four.. wandering about here...and exploring some of Berlin's archaeological collections and art of the 19th century....

    The GDR put NO money into restoration of any of these magnificent buildings and in fact I walked past building facades that were still riddled with bullet holes from the Battle of Berlin in 1945.I had a hard time believing that 63 years after the War only recently has there been a concerted effort to fix these archetectural treasures!

    Today there is a huge reconstruction and modernization program under way.The value of the restoration work is measured in the billions of Euros...

    If you have any interest in history or appreciation of the Arts....then this is a MUST see while you are in Berlin.

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    Museum Island

    by Luchonda Updated Sep 16, 2006

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    Berliner Dom
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    Museuminsel
    An idea of Friedrich Wilhelm IV to create a “Sanctuary of Art & Science”
    on an island surrounded by the river Spree. Another hot tip on what to do in Berlin.


    The Museums of Berlin's Museuminsel
    Altes Museum (The Old Museum)
    Neues Museum (The New Museum)
    Alte Nationalgalerie (The Old National Galerie)
    Das Pergamon Museum (The Pergamon Museum )
    The Pergamon was very recommended by the guide.
    It houses Roman sculpture and architectural treasures.
    Berliner Dom
    A Protestant counterweight to the St-Pieters Basilica in Rome
    The baroque building with Italian Renaissance is 114m long and 73m wide and was builded between 1894 and 1905.
    For sure an other eye catcher in Berlin

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    Bode Museum - Surprising sculptures.

    by breughel Updated Mar 31, 2013

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    When I looked at this sculpture of a "Screaming Woman" (photo 1°) I thought that I was no more in the department of medieval art but in a museum on modern art from the 19th even begin 20th century!
    It is an amazing terracotta from the second half of the 16th c. Origin the Southern Netherlands (presently Belgium).
    Continuing my visit I found other works of art from my country but more conventional like this altar piece from Antwerp and another one from Brussels. There was a time when my country exported a lot of altarpieces.
    But I found more originality with these oak carved "Prophets" also made in Brussels around 1520 to end with these "Saint Ursula" and "Enthroned Virgin and Child" from 1490.
    I hope to return.

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    Altes Museum

    by alancollins Updated Dec 22, 2008

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    Front of the museum
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    The Altes Museum or Old Museum opened its doors to the public in 1830. The building which was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Modelled on the Greek Stoa in Athens with its Classical 18 colonnade façade. The building was badly damaged during WW2 and reconstruction work continued until 1966. At present the museum houses a collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. One of the biggest attractions at the museum is the bust of Queen Nefertiti, discovered in 1912 and dating back to 1360 B.C. that has pride of place on the ground floor. The museums world famous collection contains altogether some 45,000 objects. Entrance is free between 6pm & 10pm on Thursdays.

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    Bode Museum - Numismatic Collection.

    by breughel Updated Mar 27, 2013

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    Giant Maple Leaf 100 kg gold.
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    It was my first visit. After long renovation works the museum opened in October 2006. The museum being one of decorative arts I had left it for my last morning in Berlin as a "second choice". I was wrong not only is the architecture and décor of the building from the early 1900s spectacular but the Numismatic Collection and Sculpture Collection are of outstanding quality. I did not visit the Museum of Byzantine Art by lack of time.
    The museum has a triangular shape bordered by the two arms of the river Spree. The entrance is by the monumental Great Dome.

    The Numismatic Collection is one of the largest collections of its kind with around 500.000 objects of which 5000 noteworthy are on display. I'm not an amateur of ancient coins but I'm not surprised that this collection owes its international renown to its diversity as well as the comprehensiveness of its coin series which range from the beginnings of coinage in the seventh century BC in Asia Minor to the contemporary coins and medals. They have 102.000 Greek coins and 50.000 from ancient Rome.

    Most spectacular is a 100 kg fine gold 1 million Canadian dollars Maple Leaf. Five of these giant Maple Leaf coins were made in 2007. I wondered if this 100 kg coin was a real one and not a gilded copy but the guard told me it is real and on loan (Leihgabe) to the museum by a Mr. Boris Fuchsmann.
    There are many gold coins in this museum so that I presume that it is well guarded.
    In 2010 one of the five coins was sold at an auction and reached 4 million USD.

    The Munzkabinett has an Online Catalogue http://www.smb.spk-berlin.de/ikmk/index.php?lang=en where you can see details of each piece of the collection.

    Open: Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 18 h (Thursday 20 h). Closed on Monday.
    Price: 8 €, reduced 4 €. Museumsinsel area ticket 14 €.

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