Berlin's Neues Museum showcases the cultural history of our ancestors across the globe. The Neues Museum, housed in a beautiful neoclassical building, pulls together 9,000 interesting and unusual objects spread across three major historical collections.Take a journey through time and explore the history of Europe and the Middle East from the earliest Stone Age to the Middle Ages. Although the main attraction of the Neues Museum is undoubtedly the Nefertiti Bust, this is a small part of the museum's extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities, which comprises of sculpture, a huge collection of papyrus texts and literary works. The Nefertiti Bust is showcased alone in the domed hall in the north of the building - an impressive exhibit. The rest of the museum's buildings are equally impressive, and strike the perfect balance between modern style and classicism. It's no surprise that the Neues Museum is one of the most important 19th century buildings in Germany.
New interpretation of a classic museum building
The Neues Museum is built by classicist architect Friedrich August Stuler in the 19th century and is initially designed as an extension to the Old Museum. The museum is closed to the public during the Second World War and the building is extensively damaged during the bombing of Berlin. After the War ends, the condition of the building means that the museum remains closed, and it's not until 2003 that reconstruction begins under the supervision of famous British architect David Chipperfield. The original structure is preserved, with modern additions to the structure added. The Neues Museum finally reopens to the public in 2009.
Today's museum brings together artefacts from the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, and collections covering Early History and Pre-History. With 8,000 square metres over four separate levels, the museum contains around 9,000 historical exhibits. Why not visit the Ancient Egyptians by exploring the restored sacrificial tombs with real mummies in the basement? Or take a look at the impressive Barbarian Treasure trove, a collection of objects recovered from the bed of the River Rhine and thought to have been plundered during the 3rd century AD. High ceilings, arches and original frescoes frame the exhibits perfectly. Don't miss the extraordinary Berliner Green Head from ca. 350 BC. On the third level you will find an exhibition exploring life in the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, where the standout exhibit is the famous Berlin Gold Hat — an elaborate golden headdress thought to be around 3,000 years old. Then take a trip through the archaeological world where you will see finds from several digs, along with explanations about the different archaeological methods used to excavate them. Finally, you'll arrive in the Stone Age, where items from the earliest human periods are on show.
Neues Museum highlights
- Stucco-coated limestone bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti
- The famous Berliner "Green Head" from the Late Period
- Precious silver vessels from Priam's Treasure, thought to be from Ancient Troy
- The Bronze Age golden "Berlin Gold Hat"
- The museum's oldest exhibit, a 700,000 year-old axe head from the earliest Stone Age
Other things to see on Museum Island
Right next to the Neues Museum on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Museum Island, is the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin's biggest art gallery. The exterior of the building is impressive, but not as impressive as the gallery's contents. The museum features works by neoclassical, impressionist and modernist painters such as Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne. Walk over to the Pergamon Museum, home to Middle Eastern antiquities and an important collection of Islamic Art. The reconstructed Ishtar Gate from Babylon is the must-see exhibit at the Pergamon. The Bode Museum, which reopens in 2006 after a multi-million euro refurbishment, provides a home for collections of coins, medals, Byzantine art and sculpture. Just across the River Spree from the Neues Museum is the Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, which is home to both a permanent collection and an ever changing programme of temporary exhibitions featuring works from some of the best contemporary artists. At the Polish Institute you will get an insight into the history and colour Polish culture.
Our tips for visiting the Neues Museum
The Neues Museum is in the centre of Berlin on Museum Island. The easiest way of getting there is by taking the S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt station, then walking from there. The number 100 and 200 buses also stop close to Museum Island. You can use the Berlin Welcome Card Museum Island to explore all the museums on Museum Island over three consecutive days. With a Museum Pass Berlin you can visit 50 other museums in Berlin for free. Entry for children and young people up to the age of 18 is generally free. Regular age-appropriate workshops run for younger museum visitors, and if you are planning a visit to the Neues Museum as part of a larger group, consider booking a guided tour around your preferred topic areas.