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.
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.
Museum Island is an island in the Spree River, right in the city of Berlin, where five museums located. These are:
The many years of renovation of the various museums is in full swing, with some museums sometimes for a certain period will be closed. Meanwhile, the restoration of the Old National Gallery and the Bode Museum completed. The Neues Museum was reopened in 2009, after the restoration of the Pergamon and the Altes Museum will start.
Museum Island is a UNESCO declared World Heritage in 1999.
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.
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.
You need at least one whole day to explore the museum island with its wide range of museums. It’s situated in the heart of Berlin, surrounded by the Spree river. Here’s a quick introduction:
Pergamon museum – Greek, Babylonian and Roman antiquity collection, museum of Islamic art (8th till 19th century)
old museum – Greek divinity sculptures, also changing exhibitions
Alte Nationalgalerie (old national gallery) – art of the 19th century (Romantic period and Impressionism), mostly paintings
new museum and Bode museum – currently under construction and restoration
The centre of the museum island is marked by the impressive “Berliner Dom” (Berlin cathedral), the biggest protestant church in Germany (www.berliner-dom.de), finished in 1904. Its size and grandiose decoration, however, seems to be rather “catholic”. Be sure to visit the crypt of the Hohenzollern dynasty, the former Prussian kings!
Take a stroll at the museum island in the evening during summer and you will be more delighted to find open air cinema, concerts and radio plays in front of the old national gallery. The Museum Island Festival takes place every year from May till September. For details have a look here (only in German): http://www.smb.spk-berlin.de/mif/index.shtml.
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).
Mon, Tue, Wed and Sunday 10.00 - 18.00 h
Thu, Fri, Sat 10.00 - 20.00 h.
On this small island in the middle of former East Berlin, you will find several museums: the Pergamon Museum, Altes Museum, the Nationalgalerie and the Bodemuseum.
Also the Berliner Dom, church of the Hohenzollern family, can be found here. It houses the remains of 90 family members.
The Old National Gallery was built between 1869-76 to house a donated art collection from Johann Wagener and based on a sketch by King Frederick William IV whose equestrian statue dominates the entranceway ( Alexander Calandrelli 1886 ). As typical of Prussian royalty, classic architecture was the model. Plans were by Friedrich Stuler, responsible for so many of the Museuminsel buildings. The Old National Gallery was the first reopened after WWII with final renovations in 1999 and it houses almost entirely art and sculpture of the 19th Century - basically from the French Revolution to WWI - with large representations of Classic, Romantic, and particularly Impressionist art as well as a bit of early modern painting. German and French artists are predominantly displayed.
The Old National Gallery seemed much less crowded that the other museums on the Island and the high ceilings and generous spacing made it a particularly nice museum to visit and wander through. The entrance rotunda is particularly striking with a three story ceiling and a grand circular staircase. The large exhibition rooms are not overcrowded and very still allowing peace to appreciate the fine art presented.
The absolute hit is Pergamonmuseum (see extra tip)
The other museums:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
In 1999 UNESCO added Museum Island to their list as a World Heritage Site. You only have to have the most fleeting of glances to see why.
Museum Island is a little island in the River Spree and it's actually here where Berlin's settlement first began, in the Middle Ages.
On the island you will find Pergamonmuseum, Bodemuseum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, Altes Museum, Berliner Dom, Lustgarten, Palast der Republik, Schlossbrucke & Schlossplatz.
At the moment there are major renovations going on and the work is said to continue until at least 2010. Until that time you will probably get big cranes in all your pictures and you may not be able to visit all of the museums.