Cultural Forum and Potsdamer Platz
Art, Design, Film, Music and Architecture
The urban development area between the Landwehr Canal, Grosser Tiergarten and Potsdamer Platz is an extraordinary place of art, culture and research. Museums, libraries and concert halls can be found here in architectural icons. The Kulturforum was conceived as the cultural centre of West Berlin after the division of the city.
(Status: February 2024)
Kulturforum. Berlin-Tiergarten, Matthäikirchplatz © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Maximilian Meisse
The buildings around the Kulturforum (Cultural Forum) house collections representing the whole range of European art and culture. The eighteen skylit halls of the Gemäldegalerie (Old Masters Gallery) contain paintings from Italy and Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, France and England from the late Middle Ages to the end of the 18th Century. Nearby, prints and drawings by the Old Masters are housed together with contemporary works on paper in the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) and shown there in special exhibitions. The remainder of the large complex in the Cultural Forum is dedicated to applied art – the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library) holds works ranging from 18th Century caricatures and fashion brochures to architectural drawings and illustrated books from the 19th Century to posters and photographs, while the collection of the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) ranges from mediaeval reliquaries to Classical furniture, fashion and modern design. Next door, the Musical Instrument Museum offers an introduction to European music history; and a few steps further, you can take a trip through German film and television history in the Filmhaus on Potsdamer Platz. The Museum of Film and Television, located inside the Filmhaus, displays scripts and screenplays, posters, cameras, costumes and, of course, films too. The doors will close here in October 2024 and the Kinemathek will open next year at its new location, the E-Werk in Mauerstraße in Mitte.
The building for theThe striking steel and glass temple designed by Mies van der Rohe for 20th century art - home to the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) - has been open to the public again since late summer 2021 following extensive refurbishment. Special exhibitions of contemporary art can be seen in the upper glass hall, while the collection of fine art from the beginning of the 20th century to the 1960s is presented on the spacious ground floor.
In February 2024, the foundation stone was laid for the Museum der Moderne "berlin modern", which is being built at the Kulturforum in the immediate vicinity of the Mies Building. The new building by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron will enable the Nationalgalerie's internationally significant holdings, including the Marx and Pietzsch collections, to be presented on a larger scale in future. Completion is planned for 2027.
Neue Nationalgalerie © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: Maximilian Meisse
Jan van Eyck’s tiny ‘Madonna in the Church’, Caravaggio’s ‘Amor Victorious’, the two Vermeers and Rembrandt’s ‘The Mennonite Preacher Anslo and his Wife’ in the Gemäldegalerie, the Welfen treasure, the extensive Fashion Gallery and the Lüneburg Council's Silver in the Kunstgewerbemuseum and Marlene Dietrich’s swans-down coat in the Museum of Film and Television.
How to Get There
Take the underground (U-Bahn) or suburban railway (S-Bahn) to Potsdamer Platz and then it’s a five-minute walk. Bus nos. M48, M85 and M29 stop outside the Neue Nationalgalerie.
Where to Get a Coffee
There is a self-service restaurant within the Kulturforum, and in summer drinks and snacks are also served outside in the plaza area in front. You’ll find more cafés and restaurants around Potsdamer Platz.
To See Everything
The Kulturforum area ticket is valid for the Gemäldegalerie, the Kunstgewerbemuseum, the Kupferstichkabinett, the Kunstbibliothek and the musical instruments collection. Special exhibitions normally cost extra.
The Kulturforum is a hub for the Long Night of Museums that takes place in March and August. In July and August there is an open-air cinema on the plaza. Concerts and demonstrations featuring historic instruments are held regularly in the Musical Instrument Museum. The Arsenal cinema features interesting film series to coincide with the exhibitions in the Museum of Film and Television.