Visit Berlin's Alliierten-Museum for the low-down on the political history of the Western Allies in Germany, especially West Berlin.
A stroll through the district of Dahlem brings you to the erstwhile Outpost Theater where American soldiers once enjoyed films. The former American Sector of post-war Berlin houses the Alliierten-Museum (Allied Museum) which pays homage to the soldiers who were posted here from 1945 until their eventual withdrawal in 1994. This museum houses everything from original documents to large memorabilia such as the British Hastings aircraft, a French military train restaurant car and a segment of a British-American Spy Tunnel.
In the American Sector - 1945 to 1994
American troops occupy zones in the districts of Zehlendorf, Tempelhof, Lichterfelde and Dahlem. As time passes, the US Army starts to build a private shopping mall, a cinema (the outpost) and a library. It is in the early '90s, that the idea of an exhibition dedicated to the Western powers in Berlin is born. Chancellor Helmut Kohl opens the museum in 1994, shortly after the withdrawal of the Western allies. It officially opens in 1998 and attracts over 70,000 visitors in three months. The history of the Western Powers is told in two parts. The tour begins at the Outpost Theater. It takes you through the period between 1945 and 1950 where the focus is the Berlin Airlift. Chronological events are communicated through films and computer stations.
The outdoor exhibition space houses larger attractions, for instance, you can see the inside of a British transport aircraft from the time of the airlift, and the dining wagon of a French military train. Take a walk to a section of the Berlin Wall and the first control cabin from Checkpoint Charlie. The Nicholson Commemorative library brings you to the second part of the exhibition: 1951 to 1994. The focus is on everyday objects, original documents, letters, helmets, signs and garments. Among them is the first satellite image of Berlin. A special highlight is the reproduction of an Anglo-American espionage tunnel which was designed to tap Soviet telephone lines.
Did you know that the spy tunnel exhibited in the museum was not found until 2012 by chance?
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Highlights of the exhibition
- Raisin bomber Hastings TG 503 (only four remaining specimens remain worldwide).
- Dining car of a French military train from the 1940s.
- The first control cabin at Checkpoint Charlie.
- The first satellite image of Berlin from CIA archives, 1965.
- Segment of an Anglo-American espionage tunnel.
Places of interest in Berlin Dahlem
Southwest Berlin abounds in outstanding museums and exhibition centres, situated in an attractive natural and cultural landscape. Berlin's Green Museum Quarter offers leisure and education, history, recreation and creative inspiration like no other area in the city. Here you can find the most diverse institutions, displaying everything from ancient to modern art, from natural to cultural history. The institutions are open, living museums and exhibition venues, committed to a common idea: recreation between culture and nature.
Just a 20-minute walk from the Alliierten-Museum is the Museum Europäischer Kulturen which displays exhibits on northern Sami culture and all three monotheistic world religions. From here, you can quickly get to the Botanischen Garten and Museum. The area of Dahlem provides interesting information on historical agriculture, particularly because the land has been cultivated for over 800 years. Art lovers should definitely check out the Brücke Museum where nearly 400 Impressionist works by painters such as Karl Schmidt Rottluff, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner lie in wait. Or combine your visit to the Alliierten-Museum with a walk through Jagdschloss Grunewald: a hunting lodge and art gallery which houses 16th century oil paintings by Lucas Cranach.
Tips for your visit
Bus Line 115 or X83 to the stop "Alliiertenmuseum" and Ubahn stop U3 to “Oskar-Helene-Heim” will get you to the museum. There is free parking available on the premises. Entrance is free, and group tours should be booked two weeks in advance.
Information for families and children
Families can participate in a special guided tour on specific dates. Check the museum website for details on the event calendar. Alternately, kids can always get a quiz block with no pre-registration. Note that the permanent exhibition is suitable for kids over eight years old.
Find further information here