Within just four years, a whole new cultural center has emerged in Berlin. And it offers so many new things that you need at least one long weekend to experience everything: Two opera houses, numerous theater stages, the Museum Island, galleries and art spaces have settled in the immediate vicinity of the Spree and the boulevard Unter den Linden. Architectural highlights such as the Humboldt Forum have been built, and other cultural projects and meeting places are under construction. And if you need a break in between, you will find some very cozy places in the middle of the city.

The main portal of the new Humboldt Forum. The Hohenzollerns resided in the reconstructed Berlin Palace until after the First World War
The main portal of the new Humboldt Forum. The Hohenzollerns resided in the reconstructed Berlin Palace until 1918 © visitberlin Thomas Kierok

Humboldt Forum - the new centerpiece 

Who actually measured our world? Which continents have Europeans conquered? And how do we want to live in the future? These are the big questions that the new Humboldt Forum on the Spree Island is asking. In accordance with the universal idea of Alexander von Humboldt, the great explorer, Berlin's new cultural center is to become a place where world cultures enter into dialogue. And so a tour of the museum becomes a (cultural) historical journey around the world. The interactive permanent exhibition Berlin Global, for example, focuses on the capital and the role Berlin plays in world affairs. It is about the wars of the last centuries, about borders that were erected. But there are also more "upbeat" topics - fashion, music and Berlin's wild nightlife are brought to life in interactive exhibits, some of which can be walked through. 

Non-European art and culture then await guests at the Humboldt Forum in the Museum of Asian Art and the Ethnological Museum. Whoever wanders through the modern museum rooms will discover fine ceramics from the Orient, wooden figures from Oceania, masks and traditional clothing from Africa, a Japanese tea house and other valuable exhibits that tell a lot of interesting facts about other continents and cultures. Musical pieces from all over the world can also be heard here. Some of the objects - above all works from Africa - have sparked a socio-critical debate in the local feuilleton, which deals with the appropriation of art objects from other continents. The exhibitions themselves also deal with the colonial past, which continues to have an impact on the present. Those who wish may participate in these and other social discourses. The various exhibitions and event series at the Humboldt Forum invite reflection and discussion. 

By the way, the Humboldt Forum also makes quite an architectural impression! The monumental building complex is a replica of the Berlin Palace, which was combined with modern style elements. The Hohenzollerns resided in the baroque building until the end of the monarchy in 1918. If you want to learn more about the exciting history of the place, you can descend into the castle cellar, where historical wall remains of an old monastery and the Berlin castle have been uncovered.

Practicing tolerance in the House of One and in the ANOHA Children's World

Churches, synagogues and mosques are impressive buildings in their own right. At Petriplatz, a sacred building is now being built that will unite the three monotheistic world religions under one roof. House of One is the name of this unique project, which will create a place of encounter and (religious) exchange in the middle of Berlin. This is also ensured by the special architecture of the house of worship, which is under construction until 2024: A central domed hall will connect the three separate prayer rooms.

The ANOHA Children's World, which opened in 2021 directly opposite the Jewish Museum, also invites children to reflect on tolerance and respectful coexistence. Children are introduced to the story of Noah's Ark through play. There are animal sculptures that look like hammocks and climbing frames. And then they can even cuddle with animals that are threatened with extinction or that look different from their fellow species. 

The unity monument

A giant, walkable scale that gently tilts from right to left. "Citizens on the Move" is the name of the unity monument that will stand in front of the City Palace from 2022. This will give Berlin's cultural center a place of remembrance that recalls the peaceful revolution of 1989. 

Watch art of the 20th century

Art, especially that of the 20th century, likes to push its limits. At the Neue Nationalgalerie, this is meant quite literally: the iconic building designed by world-famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has become too small for the ever-growing collection of the renowned museum. Salvador Dalí, Georg Grosz, Paul Klee and Paula Modersohn-Becker are just a few of the world-famous artists who dared to do something new and whose works are in the possession of the National Gallery. And to ensure that these treasures do not remain hidden, the Museum of the 20th Century is being built in the immediate vicinity of Potsdamer Platz. However, we will have to wait a few more years; the new building will open its doors in 2026 for art lovers and all those who like to look beyond the end of their nose.


Already open to the public is the Futurium in the immediate vicinity of Berlin's main train station, a museum and forum for questions of the future: artificial intelligence, green high-rises, the sharing economy - in the Futurium, everything revolves around the relationship between nature, man and technology.

The new Futurium museum looks at how we will live and work in the future - and which technologies can improve our lives © visitberlin.de/Angela Kröll

Art break 

Of course, once you've had a taste of museums, you have to take a break and let the impressions you've gained sink in. How nice that Berlin's cultural center has plenty of cafés, restaurants and other cozy places to relax. Our tip: lunch at the rooftop restaurant of the Humboldt Forum. From up here, you not only have a clear view of the Museum Island, but also of the Brandenburg Gate, the "Alex", the Berlin Cathedral and St. Mary's Church. 

By the way: From 2024 you can also make yourself comfortable on the large outdoor staircase in front of the main portal of the Humboldt Forum, with the water of the Spree right under your nose. Are you drawn to the river for a swim? This is the idea you share with the Flussbad Berlin project. The idea: an 835-meter-long swimming pool in the Spree Canal; you can jump into the water from the flight of steps.

In the future, it will also be possible to swim in the Spree. The Flussbad Berlin project envisages an 835-meter-long swimming pool in the Spree Canal © Adobestock/exetronic

Cover photo: Berlin's cultural center has a new centerpiece: the Humboldt Forum, the universal museum directly on the Spree © Mo Wüstenhagen

In collaboration with Berlin Tourism & Congress GmbH

Berlin is exciting at every meter: there is a former airport converted into a leisure area, there is a glass dome of the parliament, there are the memorials of the Berlin Wall and the Holocaust Memorial. Lots of culture and lively neighborhoods. And for refreshments? Currywurst, of course. Or maybe a star restaurant. Anything goes in the capital. Our tips for your Vacation in Berlin.

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