With five historic exhibition halls, overflowing with treasures, Museum Island is a magnet for visitors in Berlin. Join us as we walk through the highlights of the world class collections.
Standing on the roof terrace of the brand new Humboldtforum, enjoying the magnificent view over Museum Island, you have 6,000 years of cultural history at your feet. The five architecturally significant buildings you see, built between 1830 and 1930, house an almost fairytale collection of riches that were recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999.
If you want to visit more than one of the five museums on the same day, it’s worth buying a day ticket online. This not only saves a few euros but, more importantly, reduces your waiting time in the ticket queue.
Among the collection of antiquities exhibited here, two monumental gates on the ground floor steal the show. The Ishtar Gate from Babylon and the Market Gate from Miletus from Roman times. This journey into the Arabic world, revealed through the richly decorated Aleppo room which served as the reception hall of a Syrian house, is a highlight.
If you want to see the world-famous Pergamon Altar you’ll have to wait until 2025, when the results of the renovation work will be revealed. However, there is a consolation for fans of the ancient Greek architecture just around the corner – Yadegar Asisi's grandiose 360° Pergamon panorama with a photo-realistic representation of the city of Pergamon in the year 129 AD.
Altes Museum (Old Museum)
The monumental Altes Museum, opened in 1830 as the first exhibition building on the Museum Island, is considered an architectural masterpiece by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Then as now, it exhibits ancient art from the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans.
Behind its pillared curtain, the vestibule and a flight of steps you will immediately reach the heart of the museum: an elegant rotunda modelled on the Pantheon, surrounded by sculptures made of precious marble. The bronze sculpture "Praying Boy" as well as Roman silver bowls and a portrait of Caesar and Cleopatra deserve special attention.
Neues Museum (New Museum)
Let an Egyptian queen turn your head in the Neues Museum. Nefertiti is the name of the lady who, despite her 3,500 years, hasn't lost a bit of her beauty. Her bust is the undisputed darling of the public in this war ruin carefully reconstructed by David Chipperfield, in which preserved paintings and columns were jigsaw together with modern elements to form a harmonious total work of art.
In addition to Berlin's famous Egyptian collection, exhibits from the Museum of Prehistory and Early History are also housed here. Its showpieces include not only Heinrich Schliemann's Troy treasure and the skull of a Neanderthal, but also a real highlight: the so-called Berlin gold hat – a pointed ceremonial hat from the Bronze Age, not to be missed.
The Bode Museum juts out into the Spree like a mighty ship at the northernmost point of the Museum Island. The magnificent building, designed by Ernst von Ihne and opened in 1904, takes you on a journey into the artists' studios of the Middle Ages. The Italians are particularly noteworthy, with masterpieces by Donatello, Pisano and Canova.
The crowning glory of the house, however, is the carved figures by the Franconian master Tilman Riemenscheider, which captivate with their expressiveness and emotionality. The Byzantine art department with its imposing sarcophagi is also worth a visit, as is the coin collection, which attracted international attention in 2017 due to the spectacular theft of the world's largest gold coin.
Old National Gallery
It's hard to say which is more impressive: the building designed by Stüler, resting majestically like a temple on a plinth, or the masterpieces of 19th-century art displayed on its three floors. It’s probably the harmony between the two that makes the Alte Nationalgalerie so fascinating.
Alongside the eye-catching works of Monet, Renoir, Degas and other French Impressionists, their German colleague Max Liebermann can certainly hold his own. Among the sculptures, the group of princesses from Schadow stands out while the atmospheric landscape paintings by Carl David Friedrich are also a highlight of the collection.
A ten-minute walk from Museum Island, and an artwork in itself, Hotel de Rome, is perfectly positioned for an immersive cultural exploration of Berlin. Book by contacting email@example.com or +49 30 460 60 90 and discover the best way to explore Berlin’s wealth of art galleries and museums.