On our tourist map we saw a marking for the DDR Museum and quickly added it to our itinerary.
DDR stands for Deutsche Demokratische Republik, otherwise known as East Germany.
The DDR Museum is located on the River Spree, at Karl Liebknecht Strasse 1.
Karl Liebknecht is of course one of the founders of the German Communist Party who was murdered in 1919. He now has a street named after him, and the DDR Museum on that street named after him.
The website of the DDR Museum is http://www.ddr-museum.de/en and it is open daily from 10am to 8pm on Sunday to Friday, and from 10am to 10pm on Saturdays.
It is a small museum, and it was filled with visitors when we went.
The museum promises an interactive experience including touch, sight and even smell!
They have a Trabant, an East German produced car, called a Trabi for short, in which visitors can get behind the driver’s seat and experience a simulated drive around streets of East Berlin.
The Trabant is a car that was produced by former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Saxony.
It was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to countries both inside and outside the Eastern Bloc.
It had a two-stroke engine like some lawn mowers do!
It was produced for nearly 30 years with almost no significant changes. 3,096,099 Trabants were produced in total. People went on a waiting list for years to acquire one.
Before this trip, Borte had read Anna Funder’s book Stasiland and Peter Brophy’s book Berlin Crossing. Both books discuss the Stasi and life in East Germany.
The Museum explores life under the Stasi.
The term “Stasi” derives from The Ministry of State Security - officially the "MfS" but nicknamed "the Stasi" for short. It was founded in 1950. The museum website indicates that “it was originally part of the Soviet secret services, but it soon gained its institutional independence. Working as both a domestic security service and an international intelligence agency, the Stasi also doubled as a police agency and penal authority. Despite many later claims to the contrary, the MfS never established any clear division between these functions.”
There were over 91,000 Stasi operatives by the time of its dissolution in 1990.
Much of the public debate has focussed on the189,000 or so Stasi collaborators (Inoffiziellen Mitarbeiter or IMs).
In late 1989, demonstrators pushed their way into the Stasi complex in Berlin and formed an ad hoc committee. The committee tried to find and collect and preserving the documents of the Stasi.
The DDR Museum has a reconstructed living room on display, many examples of items available in the DDR, and importantly, it has stories of people who lived in the DDR.
We found it interesting.
It was said that wages were high in the DDR, but there were limited consumer goods to spend the money on. There were shortages of goods. There was a black market which arose because of shortages.
As we were walking through the museum, I wondered if any former East Germans visit the museum, and how they feel about the museum’s presentation of life in the DDR? For a person who knew no different to life in the DDR, for a person who was born into it, what was the collapse of the DDR and reunification with West Germany like for them? Do they or did they ever feel nostalgic for the DDR?
For a person who was born before the division of Berlin and Germany, and who was living in the newly created DDR by virtue of which side of the Wall they were on when the Wall created two Germanies, how did they feel about life in the DDR compared to life as they knew it before the division, and how did they feel about the collapse of the DDR and the reunification?
Thousands escaped, and many died trying to escape the DDR. That much is known. So that says something about the life and conditions in the DDR for the many who died trying to escape, or wanted to escape.
I do not think though that reunification was necessarily easy or smooth for West or East Germany, not after such long separation and division and not after going down different economic and political and ideological paths for so long.
An interesting museum to visit.
This was at our "if we have time"-list, but since the heavy rain got us when we tried to walk to Brandreburger tor, we suddenly thought this would be a great idea. But we weren´t the only ones!
There was a long line of people getting in. But since it would rain as much when walking, or standing at line, we stayed.
It is quite interesting museum. Would have been nicer to not have it so stuffed with people and hard to see things behind all the people. And if you wanted to stop, everyone behind you needed to stop. Luckily it got little better after first rooms, and people had more room to walk.
Some things were only in German and for example it would have been nice to know what did happen on tv at living room, when a man talked at some kind of parliament and people seemed to be excited. We understood nothing. There could have been texting added later, or some info at the wall at least.
Ticket was 7e, and I noticed now you could get discount when buying them on line.
Looked like the clidren also did like it (we don´t have any, but there was quite a lot of children).
It´s worth a visit. The fun part is the apartment made with old things from DDR where you can go around exploring.
You can eat a lunch in the restaurant - I can recommend the solijanka soup, it´s really good :-)
As a keen motorcyclist many moons ago, I thought I would pay a visit to the DDR Motorrad Museum. This museum specialises in displaying over 140 motorcycles, scooters and mopeds built in the DDR. Though you would see the occasional motorcycle such MZ, which were exported to the UK and available at a cheap price they were best described as utilitarian. They had none of the style of the 'western' built motorcycles. I believe that with the exception of MZ all of these motorcycle companies no longer exist and have gone the same way as well known British manufacturers. The museum covers an area of 1000 square metres and is housed under 6 S-Bahn arches which is unique in itself.
The museum is open 7 days a week.
One of the newer museums in Berlin is the DDR Museum. It gives an insight into the history of East Germany with hands on artefacts, films, photographs and a Trabant. The basic concept is a brilliant idea but unfortunately the size of the museum is small. When you have a couple of classes of school children looking around the museum its pushed for space. With an entrance fee of 6 euros it also seems expensive compared to the more traditional larger museums
The DDR museum is very different from your average museum. It shows you what the everyday life was like in the GDR. You' re allowed and it's even recommendable to touch the items displayed and open up drawers and closets.
There's an authentic apartment furnished with typical DDR style and it feels like you're stepping back in time when you enter the living-room. There's also a real Trabi in the museum and you can even sit behind the wheel if you like.
It's really an interesting experience, but I'd recommend visiting on weekdays and if possible, avoid public holidays. We were there on Good Friday and it was so crowded that it was almost impossible to see or try anything. The entrance fee is 5,50 EUR (2008).
Peek inside the life of average citizens during the cold war...... limited selection of goods to buy... how they dressed, how they worked, what their flats looked like.. interesting interactive nicely organized museum. It is a little small inside so if its crowded it can get frustrating, but just be patient... they also have a film that continuously runs that is from the cold war error and is interesting to watch.. about 15 minutes , it keeps recycling and running.
admission. 5.5. euro
The DDR Museum is located in the Mitte area, where at the time of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was located Palasthotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in Berlin, demolished after the Reunification. The Museum of the GDR shows interactive and entertaining style of life during the German Democratic Republic. The story in its various facets with exposed objects to see and touch!
El DDR Museum se ubica en la zona de Mitte, donde en la época de la República Democrática Alemana (RDA) estaba situado el Palasthotel, uno de los más lujosos hoteles de Berlín, demolido luego de la Reunificación. El museo de la RDA muestra de manera interactiva y entretenida el estilo de vida durante la República Democrática Alemana. La historia en sus más diversas facetas expuesta con objetos para ver y tocar!
The DDR Museum is one of Berlin's newer museums (2007), where you can see what it was like to live in East Germany before the fall of the wall in 1989. There are lots of artifacts, including the once ever present Trabant auto. The museum has a good gift shop.
If you are going to see the Deutches Historisches Museum, much of what is seen here may be redundant. The DDR museum obviously has a more narrow focus, and won't draw you in for more time. It is also very interactive. If you want more background and context, then I'd recommend the other museum.
DDR is one of Berlin's latest additions to the museum circuit. It documents the Soviet run East Germany from 1945-90. It shows artifacts, TV propaganda, fashion and even sports a model of a Trabant car. Entrance 5.50 euros
€5 to get in, which seemed reasonable and then found that it was only one room. I immediately thought 'rip-off', but I was in there a good hour and thought it was money well spent.
It's put together well and really gives an insight into the polyester-wearing, concrete building, ultra-organised, intrusive and controlling, "we're the best country in the world and the west is rubbish" culture that was the DDR.
The mock up of an apparentment sitting room and kitchen is frighteningly real and there's a chance to listen to some East-German rock hits.
Easy to find opposite the Dom on the other side of the river.