On my travels last month I visited a fair few of Berlin’s museums, so I’ve decided to write a list of the must-visit stops and what to avoid…
I’d never heard of the DDR Museum before my trip to Berlin, and was very sceptical when Carys advised me to go whilst she was at work. As it turns out, it was the best museum I visited on my trip. It is located in what used to be the East Side of Germany, directly beside the River Spree and the Berliner Dom. The highly interactive museum depicts what life was like for those in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik all those years ago.
For a small fee of just €6 for students or €9.50 for standard entry the museum allows you to fully immerse yourself into the East German way of life, including trying on outfits, exploring rebuilt homes, studying some of the old propaganda and even using a vintage typewriter! I loved the DDR Museum and learnt a lot of history that I didn’t previously know during my visit there. I would totally recommend a visit.
Jewish Museum (Information Centre)
I’ve touched on the Jewish Museum in one of my previous posts, but this place is definitely worth mentioning again. The Jewish information centre is located on the same site as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and is free to visit. My time here was one of the most humbling parts of my trip, as it was here I got the chance to read the smuggled letters of victims of the holocaust, saying their final goodbyes to parents, children, brothers, sisters and the like.
The centre makes an effort to remove anonymity from the victims, and you are able to follow the journeys of specific individuals to their horrible fate. Whilst it’s not the most joyful trip in the world, I feel it’s important to remember Berlin’s history and the stories of those who suffered through it.
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
Berlin’s museums started taking a downward turn for me at this point. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum is located (you guessed it!) right next to Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous crossing point of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. Priced at €9.50 for students or €14.50 for standard entry, I wouldn’t call the museum a waste of your time and money. Full of valuable information and historic artefacts, the Checkpoint Charlie Museum has the potential to be one of the most interesting places in Berlin, however it’s so poorly designed it’s a struggle to enjoy it.
It is unfortunate that the walls are covered top to bottom in text. Whilst I was grateful to get my money’s worth of information, it looked so cluttered that I didn’t know what to read first, and unfortunately ended up zoning out. This museum is worth a visit, but only if you’ve got some time to kill towards the end of your trip.
One of my favourite places in London is the Natural History Museum. My family used to make a pointed effort to museums and galleries when I was a kid and I still love them today. Unfortunately, as much as I love a good history museum, the Neues Museum didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Entry is priced at €12 for adults or €6 for concessions, however they wouldn’t accept my (perfectly valid) student discount card which already set me on the back foot. You also aren’t allowed to carry bags around the museum so make sure you pack light!
The exhibits themselves aren’t particularly fascinating, and whilst it was nice enough to have a look around there wasn’t anything that grabbed my attention. I was severely underwhelmed by what the Neues Museum had to offer, and wouldn’t suggest anyone makes a particular effort to visit during their stay. There’s far more interesting things to do in Berlin.