Treasures of Museum Island Berlin

When Hitler came to rule Germany in 1933, the city of Berlin had a population of 4.5 million. Palaces, cathedrals and museums filled the German capital. Two years of Berlin being bombed took its toll on many of the grand buildings.

Berlin, 70 years later, is still a skyline filled with construction cranes. There are large historic buildings remaining in Berlin today; many of them restored through major reconstruction financing.


War reminders on Berlin’s buildings.


Pockmarked stone column

Museum Island Berlin

The Spree River in Berlin Mitte has an island called Museum Island due to the five Berlin State Museums recognized internationally for their collections. Museum Island is less than 10 minutes walk from Alexanderplatz in central Berlin.

Museum Island is one of the grandest reconstruction projects in Europe with a master plan and budget at 1.5 billion euros.

The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) – 1876


Alte National Gallery, Museum Island, Berlin.


Neues Museum (New Museum) – 1859 on left; Pergamon Museum – 1930 is dark building in background. There was a backdoor temporary entrance to the Pergamon and there appeared to be some construction work.


Alte National Gallery, Museum Island, Berlin.


Alte National Gallery

Pergamon Museum is Germany’s most visited museum. There are massive archaeological treasures inside from Islamic culture, Middle East and Turkey excavations during 19th and 20th century German expeditions.

The Germans took Turkey’s treasures. The Russians took German museum treasures at the end of World War II. The Russians returned some museum booty back to Berlin in the late 1950s.

The imperialist collections displayed in western museums in western Europe and USA will remain with those museums. 1.5 billion euros museum building reconstruction financing should be enough indication that the collections will remain in Berlin.

The Pergamon Altar is a 2nd century B.C. construction from the ancient Greek city of Pergamon excavated by German engineer and archaeologist Carl Humann from 1878-1886 in current day Turkey. The Pergamon Museum is named for one of the world’s most significant museum pieces on a grand scale that rivals the Parthenon friezes of the British Museum. The agreement worked out with German officials in the 19th century excavations is all archaeological findings were to be property of Berlin museums.


Museum Island Berlin


Statue outside Neues Museum.

The Neues Museum was reconstructed at a cost of 295 million euros and reopened October 16, 2009. The photos in this post of the war damaged column and wall are from Neues Museum.

The Neues Museum houses the Egyptian collection that includes a famous statue of Queen Nefertiti.


Museum Island, Berlin – March 11, 2013.


The Altes Museum (Old Museum) – 1823-1830. Badly damaged in World War II and reconstructed 1951-1966. This museum holds the collection of classical antiquities and Greek collection.

Bode Museum reopened October 18, 2006 after 209 million euros refurbishment. The collection contains sculptures, Byzantine art, coins and medals. This is a museum I missed on Museum Island.

Adjacent to the Altes Museum, across the Spree River off Museum Island is the Deutsches Historisches Museum.

German History Museum, free exhibit – Diversity Destroyed

The Zeughaus – 1695 is the oldest building on the Unter den Linden, Berlin’s historic grand boulevard. The Zeughaus location was chosen for the German History Museum in 1991.


Deutsches Historisches Museum Zeughaus– 1695 reconstructed façade 1994-1998.


Deutsches Historisches Museum building was redesigned and inaugurated June 2006.


In fours hours inside the Diversity Destroyed Berlin 1933-38 exhibit, I gained a better understanding about the Nazis ascendance to power than I have learned from 400 hours of Nazi TV; ubiquitous programming on American TV networks.

One thing to know is less than 50% of Berlin’s voters prior to 1933 voted for the Nazi party. Obedience to the party was enforced from 1933 onward, after Hitler gained the chancellorship of Germany as the dominant party and civil servants were required to declare political party affiliations. A quick way to prison was to be aligned with unfavorable political parties. The National Socialist party destroyed diversity quickly and thoroughly.

The experience of Diversity Destroyed has weighed on my mind for the past ten days.

Diversity Destroyed: Berlin 1933-1938 exhibit requires its own post in my Berlin experience.


German History Museum exhibit Diversity Destroyed: Berlin 1933-1938 through November 18, 2013.

Museum Pass Berlin is a great deal for two or three days. Most Berlin museums charge about 8 euros admission fee. The museums of Museum Island are included as free admission with the Museum Pass Berlin.

Museum Pass Berlin

For €19,00 (reduced €9,50), the museum pass guarantees free admission for all Berlin visitors on three consecutive days.


Related Posts:

Europe in 5 cities for 50,000 AAdvantage miles + $168 (March 17, 2013)

Berlin Wall East Side Gallery Murals (March 18, 2013)

Berlin (Don’t) Tear Down this Wall (March 18, 2013)

Radisson Blu Berlin Hotel Review (March 12, 2013)

Alexanderplatz Berlin (March 12, 2013)

Holiday Inn Berlin Alexanderplatz (March 12, 2013)

Night Walking through Berlin Blocks (March 11, 2013)

Affordable Berlin Transportation, Museums and Food (March 11, 2013)

Journey into Africa at ITB Berlin (March 11, 2013)

ITB Berlin 2013 – Travel the World in a Day (March 7, 2013)



About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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  1. There’s also the BVG WelcomeCard Museumsinsel that for 36 Euros gets you both a ticket good for all Berlin and Potsdam public transportation for 72 hours and the Museum Pass described above. Slightly better value and it can be bought at the Berlin airports itself.

  2. The Pergamon Museum truly is amazing. It’s like they reconstructed an entire temple inside another building, whereas the British Museum just took the friezes of the Parthenon, not the Parthenon itself.

  3. Thanks for the interesting post, Ric. I wish I could hop on a plane now to see the “Diversity Destroyed” exhibit.

    I didn’t see that you noted this, but readers might not be aware that Museum Island was part of East Berlin, and hence were left somewhat to molder over the years.

    In 1980 I was in Berlin for about 10 days, and on the one day I spent in East Berlin I went to the Pergamon Museum. It was excellent then (of course the collection is the same) but it was rather dusty.

    I was in Berlin in ’08 and ran on Museum Island and it was already a large construction site as was the rest of mostly what was East Berlin.

    The area in the center of the city – both east and west – is so dramatically different then before the DDR collapsed.

  4. Germany is a great tourist spot. I’ve been to Berlin once. It’s very artistic the site and it’s full of history. Great article, thanks for posting.

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