The German Spy Museum Berlin at Leipziger Platz allows you to explore the exciting universe of agents and the secret service. Using ARS ELECTRONICA’s state-of-the-art technology, you can experience a multi-media journey through the history of espionage. Your journey begins with secret scriptures from antiquity and ends in the present, with the recent NSA debate. You gain insight into elaborate spy techniques, legendary cases and spectacular secret operations. Hear former agents speaking about their secret lives. The German Spy Museum Berlin is the only museum of its kind in Germany. The collection comprises more than 1,000 exhibits. 300 of these are on display, across various themed areas. You'll also find interactive installations, inviting you to participate.
The world of espionage up close
As soon as you enter the museum, you experience the sinister world of espionage as several cameras peer down on you. The resulting surveillance blend with other film snippets on a monitor wall, creating a flickering collage. You can then walk through the “Zeittunnel” (time tunnel). This leads into the 3,000m² museum. The story of espionage begins here, both in digital form and through historical objects. Among the objects on display in the German Spy Museum Berlin, are umbrellas with integrated poison arrows, gloves hiding a pistol and shoes with bugging devices in the heel. Touch screens allow you to view these bizarre objects from different angles. The screens also offer exciting information about the exhibits themselves.
You can even see what it takes to become a top secret agent - hack computers and crack codes. Test your agility on the exciting laser course and feel like Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible.” Berlin is not only regarded as an important historical site during the Cold War, but also as the former spy capital. It is for this reason that curator Franz-Michael Günther opens the museum. He starts his collection 2004, sourcing objects and information from former secret service workers, double agents and contemporary witnesses. The location of the museum at Leipziger Platz is also of importance, as the square lies on the former border between East and West Berlin: on the “death strip” of the Berlin Wall. Therefore, a focus of the museum is the two superpowers: the United States of America and the Soviet Union.
What to expect in the German Spy Museum Berlin
- A “Stasi Trabi” car with infrared camera.
- A real Enigma-style encryption machine from the Second World War.
- Testimony of top agents from the Cold War.
- The first drone in history: a messenger pigeon with a parachute.
- A look at data protection and the world of social networks.
Attractions close to the museum
Directly behind the German Spy Museum Berlin, you will see the last GDR “BT 6” watchtower from 1966. You can enter the tower itself and enjoy panoramic views of the former border area. Naturally, the shooting ranges have long been out of use. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum is another a fascinating place to visit, sitting on the spot where the former powers of East and West met directly. The museum focuses on the escape attempts of GDR citizens to the west. Original exhibits can be seen here, including a mini-submarine, testifying to the creativity and daring of people in pursuit of their freedom. The museum also addresses worldwide human rights issues, including the story of Mahatma Gandhi. In the Black Box at Checkpoint Charlie you can learn details of the Cold War. The world held its breath when in 1961, Soviet and American tanks faced each other down on this very spot. There are media stations, a cinema and fascinating exhibits. For those who enjoy cult cars, visit the nearby Trabi Museum. It includes curiosities such as a Trabi car with a wooden frame. Visit “The Wall” by artist Yadegar Asisi for a glimpse of 1980s life in West Berlin. Within the steel structure, you can view an enormous panoramic image of a divided Berlin, following the course of the wall.
Tips for your visit to the museum
The German Spy Museum Berlin is located directly at U-Bahn and S-Bahn station Potsdamer Platz. You can reach it by taking underground line U2, the S-Bahn (S1, S2, S25) and bus lines 200, M41 and M48. The Berlin WelcomeCard offers free public transport around the clock. If you are driving, you will find ample parking in the car parks at Potsdamer Platz and the Sony Centre. Generally, the German Spy Museum Berlin runs hourly tours. For school groups, 60 and 90-minute tours are available upon request. The numerous, and often bizarre, exhibits from the Cold War are fascinating for all ages.
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