One of the most beautiful aspects of Berlin is its rich museum landscape. There are so many great museums spread all over the city that you could theoretically go to one (almost) all year round. It doesn’t matter whether you are interested in history, art, animals or technology, whether you are going with children or would rather ‘travel’ in your own childhood. In terms of museums, Berlin literally has something for everyone.
The good thing is that you can go to the museum in any weather. These are usually constantly air-conditioned in both summer and winter – primarily to protect the exhibits, because they usually need constant climatic conditions. We introduce you to six fine museums and exhibitions that you certainly haven’t seen yet.
1. Tempelhof: Guided tours through the airport
City center airport, Nazi self-portrayal building, airlift, Tempelhofer Feld – the former Tempelhof Airport brings together a lot of living Berlin history. After the closure on October 30, 2008, what a struggle to build! And how nice it is today to have space for so many hobbies there, for gardening, picnicking and doing sports.
If you want to trace the myth of THF, you can register for one of the two-hour tours (one of them in English). Have a look at the former check-in hall, the transit corridors or the otherwise hidden cellars, tunnels and air-raid shelters. There are exciting tours that make the 1.2 kilometer long building (200,000 square meters of floor space!) come alive, where you learn a lot about the architecture and politically motivated decisions.
The ‘Mythos Tempelhof’ tour takes place Monday to Sunday at 3 p.m. (Tuesday is a day off) and Friday to Sunday also at 12 p.m. The ‘Hidden Places’ Walking Tour IS offered every day except Tuesday at 11am. The English tours are daily at 1.30pm, there are no guided tours on Tuesdays.
Adults pay 16.50 euros admission, reduced 11 euros, children between six and 14 years pay 8 euros, and the family ticket costs from 42 euros. The airport can be reached with the U6 (Platz der Luftbrücke) or from the S-Bahn station Tempelhof.
2. Schöneweide: GDR high-tech in the industrial salon
In GDR times, the main factory for television electronics (WF) produced, among other things, television picture and transmission tubes, as well as light-emitting diodes. About 9000 people work here; it was the largest work in East Berlin. At that time it was the high center of the East German capital. Much has been preserved and is now on display in the Museum of the Industry Salon.
You can see the workplaces including tools and machines, but also the products – “milestones of technological development”, as it says on the museum’s homepage. These include the prototype of a GDR microwave, radios, cameras, jammers against western radio stations and rather unusual musical instruments. Also measuring tables, melting machines, glass blowing tables. An impressive hodgepodge of East Berlin’s industrial history.
Nine different guided tours and cultural events are also offered in the industrial salon. You will find him at Reinbeckstraße 10 in 12459 Schöneweide, tram stop Firlstraße (tram 27, 60, 61, 67). Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday from 2pm to 6pm. Entry is free.
3. Middle: Disgusting food from all over the world
Bull penis, grilled dog, cow blood, maggot cheese – amazing what is considered food in other parts of the world. Of course, fans of the jungle camp are not shocked. But even those who are likely to be hesitant about the tasting and smell samples offered in the disgust museum. Anyway: Up close, you never see ‘delicacies’ such as puke fruit, animal eyes or insect bars. The Disgusting Museum offers a total of 90 exhibits.
“What at first glance looks like a culinary horror cabinet soon turns out to be a lesson in how different tastes can be depending on individual and cultural preferences,” sums up berlin.de and adds: “Rather, the permanent exhibition shows how the human feeling of disgust works and how it can be influenced.” The internet reviews are full of praise: 4.6 out of 6 possible Google stars from more than 80 ratings.
The Disgusting Food Museum is located at Schützenstrasse 70 in 10117 Mitte, accessible from the underground stations Stadtmitte (U2, U6) or Kochstrasse/Checkpoint Charlie (U6). The museum is open Friday to Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is 12 euros for adults and 7 euros for concessions. Children under the age of 5 can enter for free. You pay 30 euros for a family ticket.
4. Moabit: Vintage car show in the tram depot
Trams used to shunt here, were serviced and repaired. Today you park fleet vintage cars here. A trip to the so-called Classic Remise in Moabit is doubly rewarding, from an architectural and historical point of view. For car enthusiasts anyway, but you can also find the cars great without being a horsepower fan.
The Moabit tram depot was opened in 1901 and was the largest in Europe at the time. It offered space for 320 cars on 24 tracks, more than 1000 people worked here and took care of the maintenance of the electric trains. In the centuries before, the trams were pulled by horses and were therefore much shorter – and the depots were accordingly too small for the modern trams. Quite impressive halls were also built. The one in Moabit is one of six depots built at that time.
In 1964, West Berlin still rejected its tram network, relying on subways and suburban trains, the Moabit depot was then used by different companies and stood empty for a long time until it was finally renovated and used in a completely new way. In the noughties the location was called Meilenwerk and also presented vintage cars.
The company has been trading as Classic Remise since 2010. Workshops have their home here, private individuals store their four- and two-wheeled treasures. From racing cars to jeeps to convertibles, Porsches, Ferraris, ducks and Mini Coopers. Some of the collector’s items are parked behind glass, but most of them can also be viewed up close.
You will find the Classic Remise at Wiebestraße 36-37 in 10553 Moabit (approx. 10 minutes from the S-Bahn station Beusselstraße, Ringbahn). Entry is free. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday and public holidays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
5. Tempelhof: Memorial SA barracks
“The SA prison Papestraße memorial is the only historical site of early Nazi terror in Berlin where traces from 1933 can still be found,” says the memorial website. And further: “In the barracks building originally built for the Prussian railway regiments, there was an early concentration camp under the leadership of the SA from March to December 1933.”
Here people were interrogated and tortured, not just Jews, but also political dissidents, opponents of the regime, homosexuals and others who stood in the way of the Nazis. The detention cells in the basement have largely been preserved in their original condition and can be visited: heavy wooden doors, whitewashed masonry. In each room there are explanatory panels and photos that can be used to understand the events that took place here.
In one cell, the names of those who were imprisoned are projected onto the wall. “To date, almost 500 people who were imprisoned in Papestrasse in 1933 are known by name. The total number of detainees was certainly significantly larger,” the website says.
The SA prison Papestraße memorial is located at Werner-Voß-Damm 54a in 12101 Tempelhof. You can reach it by S-Bahn, stop Südkreuz (exit General-Pape-Straße / Werner-Voß-Damm).
It is open Tuesday to Thursday and on weekends from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Mondays and Fridays. Entry is free. Public guided tours always take place on Sundays at 1 p.m. (free of charge, registration not required).
6. Oberschoeneweide: Computer Museum
Do you remember the Commodore C64? Not bad, don’t fall. This was a computer that was popular in West Germany in the 1980s and was mainly used for gaming. To this day, it is considered the best-selling home computer in the world. With around 1500 D-Mark he was considered surveillance. Production stopped in 1994 – and the C64 has been a museum item ever since. You can take a look at the PC known as the “bread box” in the computer museum of the University of Applied Sciences (HTW).
The GDR counterpart is also exhibited in the computer museum, namely the complete KC series, which was produced in the 1980s by VEB Mikroelektronik Wilhelm Pieck in Mühlhausen (Thuringia). Not all, but many computers can be touched, played with, tested. For example, it is also possible to play a round of Pacman. This is just as much fun for children as it is for adults.
The exhibition is located in Building C, Campus Wilhelminenhof of the HTW Berlin, 6th floor, Wilhelminenhofstraße 75a, 12459 Köpenick. From the Parkstrasse tram stop (trams 27, 60, 61, 67) it’s a good quarter of an hour’s walk.
Due to the pandemic and current staff shortages, only group tours are currently offered (enquiries to Frank Burghardt: [email protected]). Normal opening times will not be restored until autumn. Entry is free.
PS If the trip to Oberschöneweide is too far for you, you can alternatively visit the computer games museum in Neukölln (Karl-Marx-Allee 93a; open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Admission costs 9 euros, reduced 6 euros, the family ticket costs 19 euros.