In 1841, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia gave his architect some sketches for the Spree Island museum complex. We don’t know what those sketches looked like, but we do know that based on those initial ideas, his architect, Friedrich August Stüler, transformed the island into one of Berlin’s premier attractions.

museum island

Spree Island is now known as Museum Island, and each year an average of three million people come to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

More about Museum Island

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Alte Nationalgalerie

Situated in the vibrant heart of Berlin’s Mitte district, the 8.6-hectare Museum Island complex includes five museums.

  • The Altes Museum (Old Museum), designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which has been there since 1830
  • The Neues Museum (New Museum), which opened its doors in 1859 and was conceived by Schinkel’s student, Friedrich August Stüler
  • The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), built in 1876, once again designed by Stüler
  • The Bode Museum, opened in 1904 and designed by Ernst von Ihne
  • The Pergamon Museum built in 1930, designed by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffman.

Through almost two centuries, the museums have undergone intensive restructuring due to normal structural decay. For the Neues, a complete reconstruction was needed, after the building was damaged during the bombings in World War II. 

Art and history on Museum Island

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Pergamon Museum

Originally envisioned as a sanctuary for arts and science, the Museum Island offers a variegated collection of art from different centuries and cultures.

Admire the Egyptian and Nubian splendors at the Neues, where the bust of Nefertiti is the center of attention. Sculptures from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance are the focus of the Bode.

museum island
Bode Museum

You can go back in time through the Ishtar Gate to the Pergamon,where the world-famous Pergamon Altar will reopen in 2019.

Lose yourself in the eerie landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich at the Alte Nationalgalerie.

Caesar and Cleopatra wait for you at the Altes. There’s also an extensive collection of Etruscan art — the largest currently on display outside Italy.

museum island
Alte Nationalgalerie

After all your exploration, you can relax and walk at your leisure — weather permitting — along the courtyard of the Alte Nationalgalerie.

And if this wasn’t enough to convince you, an extension is coming in 2019, when the Humboldt Forum will open and it will include the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art.

King Friedrich can rest in peace knowing that his vision of art and science is still growing.

Want to discover even more culture in Berlin?

Check out more Berlin bestsellers or read the Tiqets blog for more travel inspiration.

Maria Chironi

Maria Chironi

Maria Paola is a native Italian who recently moved back to Europe after nine years in the US. "Life is what you make it" is her daily mantra. Vegan is her way of life. Don't forget to breathe and smile.
Maria Chironi

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