Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Germany’s capital has always been renowned for its rich cultural life. Its centrepiece of the historical Mitte district is home to many outstanding sights – not just the Museum Island, but no less than two opera houses and six major theatres as well as innumerable galleries and arts venues. Now, a series of new cultural projects are being developed, often just a few minutes’ walk apart, lending a new quality to this fascinating district.
The stage was set in 2017 with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden reopening after a programme of full refurbishment lasting seven years. This landmark sight has now been joined by the Palais Populaire, the James Simon Gallery, and the Futurium as well as a truly outstanding milestone – the Humboldt Forum, opened in late 2020. Here, we offer an overview of major recent and planned cultural projects in the heart of Berlin.
In December 2020, Berlin’s new forum for culture, art and science opened in the heart of Germany’s capital city. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this exciting new venue could at first only be experienced online. Recently, the Schlüterhof, the Passage and the Spreeterrassen became freely accessible. Since July, visitors can experience the first six exhibitions of the Humboldt Forum. The collections of the Museum of Asian Art and the Ethnological Museum will be on view from September on.
The Humboldt Forum is a vibrant centre for inquiry and encounters, a place of global learning and experience. In cutting edge interactive exhibitions, visitors can explore continents, regions, lifeworlds and ideas – on around 30,000 square metresacross five floors. The Humboldt Forum’s architecture is informed by the rich contrasts created by connecting highly modern elements with the reconstructed sculptural baroque façades of the former Berlin City Palace.
On the first floor, the permanent BERLIN GLOBAL exhibition looks at how the city and its people are connected with the world. The same floor is also home to the Humboldt Lab. Under the Humboldt Universität Berlin, the Lab is a research and ideas centre with workshops, discussions and new formats as well as an extensive program of educational activities and events. Along the Palace Basement’s winding corridors, the traces of former foundations offer a fascinating insight into the site’s 800 years of history. In the following months, the second and third floors will be home to the world-renowned Ethnological Museum and Asian Art Museum collections, presenting historical objects and artefacts from diverse regions of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the American continent.
New National Gallery
A further highlight in summer is the reopening of the New National Gallery (Neue Nationalgalerie) at the Kulturforum on 22 August. After extensive modernisation, Mies van der Rohe’s renowned steel-and-glass construction will again be showing twentieth-century masterpieces. The first exhibition after reopening is dedicated to the American modernist Alexander Calder, whose mobiles, stabiles and standing mobiles gained him an international reputation. The size, scale and motion of Calder’s monumental sculptures, miniature objects and kinetic constructions play with the large glass hall’s linear spaces, turning proportion and movement into a poetic dialogue.
Content and Images Courtesy of Visit Berlin
Humboldt Forum © Humboldt Forum, photo: Sönke Schneidewind
Neue Nationalgalerie © visitBerlin, photo: Wolfgang Scholvien