Berlin – our top museums to visit

Given that Dark History Tours offer mainly military and archaeology tours, if you are here, we presume that these subjects are on interest to you too. We make no apologies if our suggestions seem a little focused!

A number of must-see museums are located on an island in the River Spree. This complex is known as “Museum Island“. The island is home to some of the best archaeological and historical museum collections in the world. Currently undergoing major renovations, most major exhibits – save the Pergamon Altar – are still open.

Be sure to visit:

The Pergamon Museum:  the museum houses monumental structuress such as the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, and the Market Gate of Miletus. The Middle East Museum exhibition displays Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonian artefacts and buildings found by German archaeologists in the 19th and 20th centuries: some absolutely breath-taking exhibits.

The Altes Museum:  (Old Museum) Ancient Greek artefacts, from Hoplite helmets and weapons to giant, black-figure wine kraters. Superb examples of classical painted ceramics.

The Neues Museum: (New Museum) Exhibitions covering  European prehistory – from the Palaeolithic to the Iron Age,  Roman and early Medieval (Dark Age) history and archaeology.  The Egyptian exhibition houses one of the most iconic artefacts from the distant past – the bust of Nefertiti: be sure to dally with her a while.

The bust of Queen Nefertiti – c.1345 B.C. by the sculptor Thutmose in Amarna, Egypt

The Alte Nationalgalerie: (The Old National Gallery) has a collection of Neoclassical, Romantic, Biedermeier, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork. Caspar David Friedrich, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Karl Blechen, Manet, Monet, Adolph von Menzel, Max Liebermann and Lovis Corinth are amongst those represented.  The gallery houses one of the largest collections of 19th-century sculptures and paintings in Germany.

The Bode Museum: from the outset, the museum concept was the mix and match artefacts from differing cultures and periods. It boasts an impressive collection of sculptures: Byzantine forms rub shoulders with the Gothic, the Renaissance with the Baroque. The museum also boasts an impressive numismatics collection.

Local transport:  Use the S -Bahn (S2, S3, S5, S7 , S9), U-Bahn (U6) or regional trains to get to Friedrichs Straße station and walk 10 minutes. Alternatively, head to Hackescher Markt (S3, S5, S7, S9) and walk – again, its about 10 minutes. If using bus, the 100, 200 and N2 will get you here – get off at the Lustgarden.

Across the river from the Museum Island is the –

German Historical Museum  which features extensive exhibitions on 20th Century history, with a very well presented exhibitions on the 3rd Reich and WW2 and the DDR. Also of note are the fashion, poster and ancient arms and armour exhibitions. Until April 2018 it is hosting a special exhibition pertaining to the Russian Revolutions of 1917. Well worth a look.

Local transport: U-Bahn stop Französische Straße – U6. Buses 100, 200, N2 TXL – get off at Staatsoper (The opera house)

The German Technical Museum – Deutsches Technikmuseum is a superb collection, showcasing German technological feats. It has an impressive collection of locomotives, historical cars and a superb aeronautical exhibition, which includes aircraft from both world wars, including a Ju52, Me 109, Me110 (actually a composite constructed from two aircraft recovered from Russia). A Ju88 nightfighter is currently being restored and the fuselage is on display.  Poignantly, the wing of an RAF Lancaster, recovered from one of the Havel Lakes is also on display.

An Me109 on display in the Deutsches Technical Museum in Berlin

Local transport: use the U-Bahn and get off at either Gleisdreieck (U1, U2, U3) or Möckernbrücke (U1, U3, U7 ). Look for a modern building with a DC-3 Dakota hanging up out the front – you cannot miss it!

The German-Russian Museum is located in the suburb of Karlshorst. It was here, in the officers club of the Wehrmacht-Pioneer School that the unconditional surrender was signed on May 8th 1945. The museum is unique in Germany in that it deals solely with the German (or National Socialist) and Soviet experience between 1941-45. Uniforms, weapons and artwork are complimented by a Soviet soft-skin and armoured vehicle park out the back.

A. G. Yeremenko, Company political officer of the 220th Rifle Regiment, 4th Rifle Division, leading his soldiers to the assault. USSR, Ukraine, Voroshilovgrad region. Yeremenko was killed in 1942

Local transport: take the S3 to Karlshorst. From the station head to Rheinsteinstraße – the museum is located at the far end, about 15 minutes on foot.

Note: Transport links are correct at the time of publication. Before planning your museum trip, we recommend that you double check on the appropriate bus and train website  to see if there are any issues.