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Berlin television tower behind yellow daffodils in spring
Berlin television tower in spring © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Berlin highlights in 2021

New openings, exhibitions, events

What's new in Berlin in summer 2021? What events are planned? We will keep you up to date here.

Please note:

All Berlin museums and cultural institutions may reopen. You can find concrete information on our homepage and at the individual houses.

Kicking off 2021 in a forward-looking and open way

2020 / 2021 has challenged Berlin's cultural institutions and its visitors in equal measure. Throughout the year a great deal has been learned and developed, such as new hygiene standards, adapted visitor numbers, time slot bookings and a respectful approach to interpersonal distance.

Like other world metropolises, Berlin acts prudently, with foresight and flexibility in 2021. And the city invites visitors to remain open and forward-looking as well. We recommend, especially for events, that you always visit the respective websites for up-to-date information.

New and spectacular: Berlin's cultural centre 2021

Panorama of Berlin-Mitte with Charité
Panorama of Berlin-Mitte with Charité © visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

For many years the new Humboldt Forum was one of the largest construction sites in Europe and now represents one of the biggest attractions. In the heart of the historical Mitte district, right opposite the Museum Island, the new Forum for Art, Culture and Science covers 36,000 square metres. The architecture: a high-contrast combination of ultra-modern building elements with the reconstructed façades of the baroque-style former Berlin Palace.

The new forum changes the cityscape and city life in the heart of Berlin: 

After the start in December 2020, which was initially digital, Schlüterhof, Passage and Spreeterrassen opened on 9 June 2021. The experience of the new urban space is accompanied by welcoming greetings on instruments from all continents via sound installations at four portals.

On 20 July 2021, the exhibitions will open in the interior rooms of the first floors: initially the presentations on the history of the site and on the Humboldt brothers as well as several special exhibitions. In a further step, the first presentations of the famous Ethnological Collections and the Museum of Asian Art will welcome visitors from 22 September 2021

modern and baroque elements of the Humboldt Forum Berlin
South and east façade of the Humboldt Forum © Foto: Sönke Schneidewind

 
Right in front of the main entrance to the Humboldt Forum, visitors can get a feel for how things will look in the cultural Mitte district in the future.

A wide plinth is in the works and in 2021 the gigantic shell of the Monument to Freedom and Unity will be installed on top of it: a 50-metre-long movable monument accessible to visitors which commemorates the peaceful revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The kinetic shell should then be open to all from spring 2022.

planned freedom and unity monument in Berlin-Mitte
planned freedom and unity monument in Berlin-Mitte © Milla & Partner

 

Not far from the monument, the construction of the "Schlossfreiheit" open staircase is planned: in the future, seating steps about 40 metres wide will lead down to the river Spree, where the Flussbad Berlin is to be built in the next few years.

River Bath at the Humboldt Forum Berlin
River Bath at the Humboldt Forum Berlin © cc Adrian König/realities: united/ Flussbad Berlin e.V.

 
What's more, the important museums and attractions in the heart of Berlin can be reached within minutes, conveniently and accessibly for the first time in 2021. From December 2020, the new underground line 5 will run right through Berlin's historic centre.

Three new, ultra-modern underground stations have been built between Alexanderplatz and the Brandenburg Gate: Rotes Rathaus, Unter den Linden and Museumsinsel. The underground station Museumsinsel, vaulted with a bright starry sky, is also operational now.

U5 Station Museum Island in Berlin Mitte
U5 Station Museum Island © Foto: A.Reetz-Graudenz

The Berlin museums will present new openings and reopenings in 2021:


After the complete redesign of the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2020, the new ANOHA children's museum, the Jewish Museum's children's world, welcomes all Berlin guests of primary school and nursery age.The focus is on Noah's Ark, a large wooden round ship, circled and flown around by around 150 animals: artistic sculptures made of sustainable materials there to be explored, understood and accompanied.

Children's World at the Jewish Museum Berlin
Children's World at the Jewish Museum Berlin © Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Yves Sucksdorff

The big highlight in 2021: the reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie at the Kulturforum.The famous steel and glass building by Mies van der Rohe has been fully renovated and modernised since 2015. From 22 August 2021, masterpieces of the 20th century will again be on display here.

Exterior view of the New National Gallery Berlin
Exterior view of the New National Gallery Berlin © Marcus Ebener

Since autumn 2020, a very special museum has also reopened: the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche in the immediate vicinity of the Humboldt Forum. Built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, today this single-nave church with its unique incidence of light through high, neo-Gothic windows provides the perfect exhibition space for 19th century sculptures from the collections of the National Gallery Berlin.

Sculpture exhibition in the Friedrichswerder Church in Berlin
Sculpture exhibition in the Friedrichswerder Church © Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Foto: David von Becker

An excursion into the film business is offered by the varied multimedia exhibition on the life and work of the Italian actor Carlo Pedersoli in summer 2021. The new Bud Spencer Museum Berlin opened in June in the Römischer Hof on Unter den Linden. 

Bud Spencer Museum in Berlin
Bud Spencer Museum in Berlin © Mücke Media GmbH, 2021

At the end of 2021, there will be a very special new opening: the new Treasury of the State Library Schatzkammer Staatsbibliothek will showcase treasures of book art in permanent and temporary exhibitions on 1,000 square metres of exhibition space on Unter den Linden and is expected to welcome visitors from 1 December.

The landscape of Berlin memorials and memorial sites is also enriched in a special way: In the heart of the capital at Anhalter Bahnhof, the Documentation Centre Displacement, Expulsion and Forced Migration with library and site archive is open. Here, the problems of expulsion, escape and forced migration can be experienced in an impressive way, a challenging current topic.

Since 25 June 2021, archaeological tours of the ongoing excavations at Molkenmarkt will offer an exciting insight into early urban development: traces of the medieval, early modern and baroque city of Berlin will be uncovered here and explained to visitors.   

Exhibition highlights in 2021

Shabbat area at the Jewish Museum Berlin
Shabbat area at the Jewish Museum Berlin © Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Yves Sucksdorff

Humboldt Forum

Exhibition openings throughout the year

History of the Site
Opening 20 July 2021

No fewer than four permanent exhibitions provide a deep insight into the eventful 800-year history of the former palace building.

The 28-metre-long panoramic video offers an exciting visual presentation, and the remains of the medieval Dominican monastery can be seen in the former palace cellar. Tall stone figures and other jewellery of the former palace façades are strikingly exhibited in the sculpture hall.

Take a seat! An exhibition for children
Opening 20 July 2021

An exciting topic, and one that is often not easy for nursery and primary school children: sitting. The interactive exhibition focuses on games, design and thoughts about the meaning of what is perhaps the oldest posture in the world. Sitting and sitting together in different cultures of the world is viewed from the perspective of living together.

After Nature
Opening exhibition of the Humboldt Laboratory
Opening 20 July 2021

The Humboldt Laboratory is a lively ideas workshop of the Humboldt University of Berlin. A shoal of fish at the beginning of the lab points to swarm intelligence – presented here is the research of the clusters of excellence of the Berlin university network and other research centres.

The opening exhibition "After Nature" shows and discusses the interrelationships between global politics, nature and the environment and how the struggle for resources influences politics.

Berlin Global
Opening 20 July 2021

How have global developments influenced the city? And vice versa: How has Berlin impacted the world? This new Berlin exhibition takes a close look at both the present and the past, searching for the current global responsibility and focusing on the traces of the colonial era that can be discovered throughout the city and still be experienced today.

Terribly beautiful. Elephant-Human-Ivory
Opening 20 July 2021

The oldest art objects known today are made of tusks. The artistic- and cultural-historical significance of ivory is immense – from carvings thousands of years old to the ivory keys of pianos. What is also immense is the injustice committed in this context, the violence, enslavement and exploitation – particularly in Africa.

The exhibition draws a thematic link to the collections of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Museum of Asian Art, which will be housed on the second and third floors of the Humboldt Forum from late summer 2021.

Ethnologisches Museum and Museum of Asian Art
from 22 september 2021

From 22. September 2021, the upper floors of the Humboldt Forum will also gradually open up and present the world-renowned collections of the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum of Asian Art. Some 20,000 objects spread over 14,000 square metres, including highlights such as a walk-in teahouse from Japan, the famous boats from Oceania, but also valuable sound documents which provide an insight into indigenous cultures from across the world.

What makes it special is that the intention is not to create a conventional museum landscape. The problems of the history of collections, i.e. colonialism, in the context of which numerous art objects came to Europe, as well as religious and ritual questions are in the foreground.

Museum Island

Collonades of the James Simon Gallery on the Museum Island Berlin
Collonades of the James Simon Gallery Berlin © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

Achmīm. Egypt's forgotten city

Special exhibition at the James Simon Gallery
until September 12, 2021

More than 6,000 years old, the Egyptian city of Achmîm had significant influence during antiquity as a religious center and as a site of art, and played a major role culturally and politically.

For the first time, the archaeological remains scattered around the world have been brought together in a major special archaeological exhibition and, divided into seven thematic areas, will be on display in the James Simon Gallery starting in May. The works of art presented there include statues, reliefs and coffins as well as burial objects and cult equipment.

The Second Glance: Women.
Special exhibition in the Bode-Museum
From September 2021

Heroines and saints, princesses or singles and lepers: well-known and unusual types of women throughout the last millennium can be found not only in the outstanding sculpture collection, but also in the Museum of Byzantine Art at the Bode-Museum.

Their characters, their life stories but above all their social position in the societies of past centuries are the focus of this exhibition. They are examined from today's perspective in a socially critical manner.

Iran: Art and Culture from Five Millennia
Special exhibition in the Pergamonmuseum and in the James Simon Gallery
30 October 2021 until 20 February 2022

For about 5,000 years, up to the early 18th century, Iran had an extraordinary and important position as a pivot and source of inspiration between the Mediterranean, China and India. Around 320 exhibits from the Sarikhani Collection in London and numerous objects from the collections of the Berlin State Museums present the art of both the ruling elite and the wealthy urban societies.

In a journey through time with seven stations, visitors can follow the development of Persian-Islamic culture and see masterpieces of art from the 9th-13th centuries and from the heyday of the Safavids.

Museum of Photography

Museum für Fotografie - Helmut Newton Stiftung, Berlin
Museum für Fotografie - Helmut Newton Stiftung © Stefan Müller

America 1970s/80s. Hofer, Metzner, Meyerowitz, Newton

until 10 October 2021 at the Helmut Newton Foundation Berlin

The works of Evelyn Hofer, Sheila Metzner, Joel Meyerowitz and Helmut Newton reflect the America of the 1970s and 1980s. The different perspectives of the artists are exciting: works by Helmut Newton mainly include his contributions to the American edition of Vogue as well as numerous portraits of world-famous Hollywood stars. He was fascinated by New York street life, pool parties and celebrities.

In contrast, Meyerowitz's portrait series focuses on a small fishing village in Massachusetts. Metzner captivates with her own subtle visual language, while New York street scenes by Hofer will be on display – timeless and precisely planned in a time of snapshots.

Märkisches Museum

armament and bust in the Märkisches Museum in Berlin Mitte
visit at Märkisches Museum Berlin © Sergej Horovitz

Chaos & New Beginning. Berlin 1920/2020
Special exhibition to mark Greater Berlin's 100th city anniversary in 2020
until 26 September 2021

The year 1920 changed everything for Berlin: through the integration of a large number of previously independent neighbouring towns and communities, Berlin suddenly became one of the largest cities in the world. The population doubled virtually overnight.

What did this chaotic upheaval mean for the city and where does Berlin stand today? Exciting interactive image and documentation material, models and installations illuminate the past and present in Berlin.

Brücke-Museum

Werner Düttmann. Berlin. Building. Work.
City-wide anniversary project for the centenary of Werner Düttmann's birth
until 29 August 2021

The Berlin architect and urban planner Werner Düttmann shaped the profile and structure of Berlin like no other in the years 1960-1980. His extensive work comprises public squares and buildings, residential buildings and underground stations, but also important cultural institutions such as the Academy of Arts and the Brücke-Museum.

The project will gain momentum in two steps: From 6 March 2021, a comprehensive website www.wernerduettmann.de will be available, offering a wide range of information on Düttmann's buildings in Berlin, enriched with videos, audio tracks and guided tours. In addition, there are information boards at 28 locations.

The main exhibition in the Brücke Museum and four further exhibitions in well-known Berlin buildings by Düttmann are open.

Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin)

Epoch room at the Jewish Museum Berlin
Epoch room at the Jewish Museum Berlin © Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Yves Sucksdorff

Yael Bartana - Redemption Now

until 10 October 2021

The show of works by video artist Yael Bartana focuses on two important aspects: the visual language of identity and the visual language of commemorative politics. Here, national sentiment in Israel, Bartana's country of origin, also plays an important role.

Gemäldegalerie

Hall of the Gemäldegalerie Berlin
Hall of the Gemäldegalerie Berlin © SMB, Foto: David von Becker

Late Gothic. The Birth of Modernity.
Special exhibition of the Berlin State Museums
until 5 September

It is the first major exhibition of late Gothic art in the German-speaking world. It is an exciting artistic epoch in which innovations from the end of the Middle Ages still have an impact today, for example the invention of printing technology.

From 1430 onwards, the artistic presentation gradually changed, becoming more realistic. The concept of art changed, artistic personalities emerged. The development and diversity of the 15th century can be experienced in some 130 exhibits, including first-class loan objects and highlights from the collections of the Berlin State Museums.

Flughafen Tempelhof (Tempelhof Airport)

Tempelhof Airport, Entrance area
Tempelhof Airport © visitBerlin, Foto: Jan Frontzek

Diversity United

Contemporary Art from Europe

until 19 September 2021

Diversity United presents works by around 90 European artists from 43 European countries. The group exhibition, which will subsequently be shown in Moscow and Paris, focuses on hot topics such as freedom, democracy and the fear of its erosion, migration and personal identity.

The works by both emerging and established artists aim to stimulate a dialogue across borders in the current situation and show the great diversity of Europe at all levels.

Museum Berggruen

Museum Berggruen Berlin
Museum Berggruen © SMB/Foto: Jens Ziehe/bpk

Picasso & Les Femmes d’Alger

Special exhibition of the National Gallery - National Museums in Berlin

until August 8, 2021

Pablo Picasso's 1954 series of works "Les Femmes d'Alger" marks the beginning of his late work. Museum Berggruen presents the oil paintings of the series, which are scattered across many countries and are among Picasso's most important works, in a unique exhibition.

Hamburger Bahnhof

Interior view of the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin
Interior view of the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin © Hamburger Bahnhof

Pauline Curnier Jardin: Fat to Ashes

until September 19, 2021

It is a mystical world into which the artist Pauline Curnier Jardin takes the viewer with her multimedia installations. The French woman is the winner of the National Gallery's Prize 2019, which is awarded to artists under 40 years of age who live and work in Germany. Starting in 2021, Hamburger Bahnhof will dedicate a solo exhibition to her expansive works.

Starting From Language. The Centenary of Joseph Beuys's Birth.


Special exhibition of the National Gallery
until 19 September 2021

Installations and sculptures, films and posters, drawings and documents: Numerous objects from the life's work of Joseph Beuys will be on display in the Hamburger Bahnhof in 2021 and will shed light on the meaning of language as Beuys understood it.

For him, language was the material through which every human being could physically and intellectually influence a reorganisation of society. In 1985 he decided that he would develop his entire artistic work "from language". Among the objects exhibited are the installation "The Chapter Room 1970-1977" and the cycle "The secret block for a secret person in Ireland".

Cecilienhof Palace, Potsdam

Potsdam, Cecilienhof garden
© iStock.com, Foto: MagMos

Potsdam Conference 1945 – The reorganisation of the world
Special exhibition on the 75th anniversary of the Potsdam Conference in 2020
until 31 October 2021

Visitors can anticipate a multimedia journey through time to the eventful days of summer 1945 at the authentic site of the events – including the famous garden terrace where Stalin, Truman and Churchill sat in their wicker armchairs.

The Potsdam Conference, one of the key events of the 20th century, was the linchpin for decisive political developments of global significance. It symbolised both the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War era. It was here, at Cecilienhof Palace, that a decision was made on the reorganisation of the world.

The exhibition documents the decisions made here in a factual manner and free of any ideology, confronting visitors with emotionally moving testimonies from the many nameless victims of that time: displaced and dispersed people, collaborators, war victims.

German Historical Museum

Exterior view of the German Historical Museum in Berlin
Exterior view of the German Historical Museum in Berlin © Deutsches Historisches Museum

The German Historical Museum is planning two exciting exhibitions on art and society in post-war Germany for the summer of 2021. A radical social and artistic new beginning after the National Socialist dictatorship was reflected in the Documenta, founded in 1955.

At the same time, however, high-ranking artists of National Socialism celebrated by Hitler continued to be active in Germany after 1945, teaching at universities, creating monuments and fountains in public spaces. Was there really a radical, aesthetic new beginning in Germany?
 

documenta. Politik und Kunst  (The Political History of the Documenta)

until 9 January 2022

Die Liste der ,Gottbegnadeten`. Künstler des Nationalsozialismus in der Bundesrepublik  (National Socialist artists in the Federal Republic)

27 August 2021 until 6 February 2022

Neue Nationalgalerie

Exhibition space of the New National Gallery Berlin
Exhibition space of the New National Gallery Berlin © Thomas Bruns

Alexander Calder. Minimal / Maximal.
Special exhibition for the reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie
22 August 2021 to 13 February 2022

A major event for Berlin will be the reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie at the Kulturforum in summer 2021. The famous building by Mies van der Rohe underwent a five-year renovation and will soon reopen with a special exhibition of the US artist Alexander Calder, who achieved world fame with his mobiles and hanging sculptures.

The smallest objects as well as monumental sculptures and kinetic constructions play with the spatial conditions of the large glass hall and allow proportions and vibrations in space to become an experience for visitors.   

Gropius Bau

The Cool and the Cold. Painting in the USA and the USSR 1960–1990
24 September 2021 until 9 January 2022

In the second half of 2021, outstanding pieces from the collection of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne will be on display in Berlin: The couple Peter and Irene Ludwig were among the first art collectors in Europe to buy both American art and art from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

In Berlin, an exciting group exhibition has now been conceived in which works of art from the different political camps in East and West are juxtaposed.   
The works on display include those of Andy Warhol, Erik Bulatov, Jackson Pollock and Viktor Pivorarov.

Charlottenburg Palace

Golden Gallery in Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin
Golden Gallery in Charlottenburg Palace © SPSG, Foto: Wolfgang Pfauder

Antoine Watteau. Art - Market - Trade

October 9, 2021 to January 9, 2022

To mark the 300th anniversary of the death of the world-famous French rococo painter Antoine Watteau, Charlottenburg Palace presents a special exhibition in the New Wing on Watteau's work and its reception.

The influence of his paintings on the creativity of artists can still be felt today, such as the designs of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, a piece of which is also on display in the exhibition.

"The Shop Sign of the Art Dealer Gersaint" by Antoine Watteau
"The Shop Sign of the Art Dealer Gersaint" by Antoine Watteau © Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg

 

Top events in 2021

Jazz band on stage
Jazz and © Getty Images, Foto: Westend 61

The same applies to the events in 2021: both the public and the host will assess the current situation attentively and prudently and may possibly make restrictions. It is also possible that Berlin's "classic" events will take place in 2021 after all.


We will continuously update this page for you. When making your plans, please also refer to the respective websites of the organisers.

Young Euro Classic 2021

Young Euro Classic turns the Konzerthaus Berlin and the Gendarmenmarkt into a venue for vibrant orchestral culture.

30 July - 15 August 2021 at the Konzerthaus Berlin

Livestream at the Gendarmenmarkt
05 - 09 August 2021

Berlin questions

Metropolis: The New Now - what will the future of cities look like after the Corona pandemic?

International experts from the fields of politics, business, science and culture will discuss at the fourth Berlin questions conference.

11 August to 14 August 2021 online and at various locations throughout Berlin.

Festival of Lights

Creating tomorrow

Artistic light productions on Berlin buildings

September 3 to September 12 throughout Berlin

Berlin Art Week

The contemporary art scene will be on display to national and international visitors: in galleries, project spaces, private collections, art fairs
15-19 September throughout Berlin

Friedrichstadt Palast

New ARISE Grand Show
from 22. September 2021

BMW Berlin-Marathon

For skaters, wheelchair users, handbikers and runners
On 25 and 26 September in Berlin

Blue Man Group

BLUE MAN Group in Action
Blue Man Group © Stage Entertainment

120 minutes of experience show

from September 26 at the Stage Bluemax Theater

 

Also take a look at Berlin 2022!

You can find more exciting events and exhibition highlights in Berlin 2021 on our calendar of events.