More Museums than Rainy Days

Remember my last blog post about summer having arrived in Berlin and the many options for cooling down? Well, the best refreshment came from the sky last week: rain. A lot of it. It was one shower after another, followed by rainstorms followed by drizzle. Sad, especially for the tourists I saw battling the weather in their shorts and on bikes. But the good news is: Berlin has more museums (180) than rainy days per year (106)! Here are my favourite museums – at least for now.

Computerspielemuseum – Museum for Computer Games

What better place to start than on Karl-Marx-Allee? You might expect a museum about the history of the street here, but no: it’s the first and only museum fully dedicated to computer games in all of Europe (or at least that’s what they claim). No matter whether you’re 15 or 50, you’ll most definitely find computer games that you have played – or still play today. Needless to say, the museum is completely interactive and allows you to play all of the famous and less famous games yourself. Anyone in for a game of Super Mario on the Nintendo 64?

Don’t miss: the Painstation, a gaming device that makes the gaming experience just a little more immersive than it already was.

Karl-Marx-Allee 93A, Friedrichshain

Museumswohnung – Historical GDR Apartment 

If you do want to jump into the history of the GDR, there are plenty of options. The multi-facetted DDR Museum, but also the Stasi Museum, a Trabant Museum and the prison in Hohenschönhausen. The best way to actually get a feeling for life in the GDR is to visit the Museum Apartment in the far east of Berlin. As soon as you open the front door you’re back in the GDR, because everything in this apartment is authentic. Sit on the bed, listen to some music and cook a dish. This is a unique opportunity to experience life as it was around 30 years ago.

Don’t miss: opening the drawers and cupboards, because you’ll keep finding new surprises.

Hellersdorfer Straße 179, Hellersdorf
Only opened on Sundays from 14.00 – 16.00

One of the many details of the Museum Apartment. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

C|O Berlin – Museum for Photography

From the far east to the west of the city: photography lovers should definitely visit C|O Berlin in Charlottenburg’s Amerika Haus (until 2006 an institute that informed the Germans about culture and life in the US). The museum has up to 15 changing exhibitions each year and I was there last year to see the works of Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn. Very impressive black-and-white pictures, and the building and presentation of the exhibition also clearly enhanced the experience. Have a look at their website to see what’s on this year.

Don’t miss: Adam Jeppesen. Out of Camp (16/07/16 to 25/09/16), documenting the 487-day journey Jeppesen made on his own, taking him from the North Pole to Antarctica.

Hardenbergstraße 22, Charlottenburg

The Anton Corbijn exhibition in C|O Berlin. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

Naturkundemuseum – Natural History Museum

This is one of Berlin’s most famous museums, even though it’s not located on the Museumsinsel (Museum Island). There are dinosaur skeletons, presentations about our solar system and stuffed animals that look as if they might come alive any moment – among them the beloved polar bear Knut. The last time I visited this museum was with a cocktail in my hand – not because of my drinking problem but because of the Long Night of Museums – and that made experiencing all this even more impressive. I need to go back soon, however, because someone new moved in: Tristan, a 4m (12 ft) tall and 12m (36 ft) long T. Rex.

Don’t miss: lying on your back and making a journey through space, starting at the big bang; relaxing and educative at the same time.

Invalidenstraße 43, Mitte

Plenty of animals in the Naturkundemuseum. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

A few facts about museums in Berlin

  • Berlin has around 180 museums, the most famous ones on the Museumsinsel (Pergamonmuseum, Alte Nationalgalerie and more)
  • There’s also a Currywurst museum, a gaslight museum, a lipstick museum, a hemp museum and many many more
  • During the annual Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums), this year on August 27, you can visit more than 70 of them with a single ticket – as well as many different workshops and parties

The Museum Island during last year’s Long Night of Museums. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

  • In 2015 almost 3.8 million people visited the museums of Berlin, 2.4 million of those visits were to the Museumsinsel
  • The Pergamonmuseum welcomed the most visitors (750,000), followed by the Neue Museum (726,000).

Not your average museum: the Gaslight Museum. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans