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Villa Schöningen
Villa Schöningen mit Parkanlage © Villa Schöningen, Foto: NOSHE

Villa Schöningen

Berlin's contemporary history at the Glienicke Brücke

Please note: The current opening and closing hours and special hygiene rules for the Covid-19 are available on this website.

The history of divided Germany is still perceived today in the Villa Schöningen. From the bright white villa, you can look directly at the Glienicke Brücke. The Wall runs here from 1961 to 1989. It is this period that the permanent exhibition in the Villa Schöningen covers. It is about history, art and freedom in the time of German division and the Cold War. The role of the Bridge and the villa itself is conveyed using various media. The exchange of secret agents of the former allies on the Glienicke Brücke is one of the diplomatic oddities of that time. In both special and permanent exhibitions, artists show their works about the division of Germany. Even Andy Warhol has exhibited here.

Cold War and the death strip: exhibitions evoke historical events

The former historic site exists as a tangible example of Germany's past. Built in 1843, the house is now a listed building in the style of an Italian villa. The USA and the Soviet Union exchange captured spies at the historic crossroads between the East and the West, and during the '70s and '80s, what happens on the Glienicke Brücke really is like a fictional movie thriller. The notorious "Stalinrasen" (steel mats with long spikes placed along the inner border of the Wall) and an educational guide by Margot Honecker are relics of these decades, forming part of the permanent exhibition today.
Travel back to a time when Germany was divided. These redeveloped rooms with their high, stuccoed ceilings are a real highlight. The light falls through the high windows on the noble herringbone parquet. The museum presents the history of the German division impressively utilising film, pictures, original documents and historic furniture. On the upper floor, there is a changing art exhibition of internationally renowned artists. The villa is also available for private readings, lectures and events. In the park of the villa you can then relax and enjoy the benefits of the fruit trees and sculptures by different artists.

What you can expect

  • Permanent exhibition on life on the death strip and the spy exchange.
  • Changing art exhibitions by famous artists on the upper floor.
  • Sculpture garden with exhibitions of changing artists.
  • Orchard with fruits that you can harvest and taste in autumn.
  • In-house café and restaurant open from Thursday to Sunday.

Places of interest: Castles and museums around Villa Schöningen

The Schloss Glienicke with its classic English park is a short walk away across the Glienicke Brücke in the Wannsee district of Berlin. The castle itself houses the Hofgärtnermuseum as well as the Schlossmuseum. There are occasional concerts held in the garden. The Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) in the River Havel with its castle is a romantic summer residence of the Prussian Kings in the 19th century. Today, the island is a popular excursion destination with peacocks roaming free. From Wannsee train station, take the bus line 218, and a ferry takes you to the island. The Potsdam Museum invites you to experience more than 1,000 years of history through the centuries.

Recommendations for visiting Villa Schöningen

Villa Schöningen can be visited from Thursday to Sunday. For the various exhibitions you buy either single or combined tickets. With the Berlin WelcomeCard, you only pay half price. Entrance to the garden is free during the museum's opening hours. Take the 316 bus to the stop Glienicke Brücke. The house offers guided tours for school groups to the permanent and art exhibitions. Children up to the age of 18 have free admission, as do teachers accompanying school classes.


Opening hours

Tuesday 10:00 – 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 – 18:00
Thursday 10:00 – 18:00
Friday 10:00 – 18:00
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00