A forum for the arts
The Kulturforum is - beside the Museum Island - the most important centre for arts in Berlin. In addition to the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Gemäldegalerie, the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) and other museums, the Philharmonic and the State Library are located here as well.
The Neue Nationalgalerie contains an exclusive collection of modern art. But the flat glass building, whose roof is supported by only eight columns, also hosts special exhibitions of international stature. In those cases, the permanent exhibition is thus closed.
In the Gemäldegalerie, there is an extraordinary collection of European painting. After reunification, stocks of art were assembled from the two parts of the city and were put on display in the newly constructed building, complementing the existing museum buildings and thus coalescing into a harmonious ensemble.
At the nearby Kunstgewerbemuseum, whose building was built between 1978 and 1985, there is a collection of art spanning the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, Baroque and all the way to Art Nouveau and our present age. Here there are impressive exhibits of religious objects, furniture, clothing, jewellery and furnishings, which all serve to document the history of style.
Conceived by Hans Scharoun, the Musical Instruments Museum (Musikinstrumenten-Museum) hosts a collection of over 750 instruments from the 16th century all the way to our present day. One special event is the presentation of the Wurlitzer organ from 1929 during tours of the museum. Sometimes, it can also be heard when silent films are being shown, and at special concerts.
The Berlin Philharmonie is one of the most famous concert halls in the world. Numerous internationally renowned artists such as the Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan have worked here. The building with its distinctive architecture was built by Hans Scharoun. The main hall and the chamber music hall are both distinguished by their excellent acoustics.
The adjacent State Library (Staatsbibliothek) was also designed by Scharoun and was built between 1967 and 1978 so as to form the eastern end of the Kulturforum. Along with the Philharmonie, it creates a harmonious ensemble. Here library holdings from 1956 can be found. The other building of the State Library is located at Unter den Linden.
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