The Long Night of Museums or die Lange Nacht der Museen: How to enjoy a shopping spree of museum loving!

The Natural History Museum, Berlin or Museum für Naturkunde. © Photo: Sergej Horovitz
The Natural History Museum, Berlin or Museum für Naturkunde. © Photo: Sergej Horovitz

As I told you previously May and June are the months in which I concentrate on the lovely city of Berlin and give it as much love as I can muster.

After our lovely break in Poland, I started the month hanging out with Shakespeare. I then went and watched a magnificent production at the Friderichstadt-Palast called SHOW ME, and yesterday, I participated in the very original this-is-Berlin-and-we do-things-in-exciting-ways museum event called: The Long Night of Museums or die Lange Nacht der Museen.

Part of my quip as The British Berliner is that my blog is not only a travel blog or even an expat blog, but that this blog is also a lifestyle blog. My lifestyle; and part of my lifestyle is that I also happen to like culture, history, literature, theatre, and style.

Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.  © Photo: Berlinische Galerie
Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.
© Photo: Berlinische Galerie

For British culture, you only have to turn here. With literature and theatre turn to here. With style, you can’t do any better than the Berlin Fashion Week, and with history well, this post about the Long Night of Museums certainly fits the bill.

WHAT IS THE LONG NIGHT OF MUSEUMS or DIE LANGE NACHT DER MUSEEN?

The Long Night of Museums is a special event that takes place once a year on the Saturday evening before International Museum Day.

It’s a joint event that is organised by the Berlin Museums and Kulturprojekte Berlin and was born in 1997. At this time, up to at least 100 museums, collections, archives, memorials, exhibitions, and galleries, participate in opening their doors to the general public.

Abguss-Sammlung Antiker Plastik. © Photo: Sergej Horovitz
Abguss-Sammlung Antiker Plastik.
© Photo: Sergej Horovitz

BUT WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Well, it’s a marvellous thing about being British because I’m quite used to attending museums and galleries for free. The fact is, Berlin isn’t as wealthy as London but Berlin is a strong and vocal supporter of the arts which is why creative people land in Berlin and stay here.

If you’re a painter, sculpturist, musician, dancer, writer, or struggling actor, you might not be in a Hollywood film but you’ll definitely get AND gain the experience in which to try your luck in Los Angeles or New York!

As such, the Long Night of Museums is not only a wonderful project but a way to give back to the community. On this night Berlin is ablaze with entertainers, fun, games, drinks, snacks, and free transport.

Taking the shuttle bus. © Photo: Sergej Horovitz
Taking the shuttle bus.
© Photo: Sergej Horovitz

You can:

• Use your ticket from 18:00 until 02.00 the next day!

• Use the very same entrance ticket to continue your visit and go to museums on International Museum Day too.

• Go to up to 100 museums, collections, archives, memorials, exhibitions, and galleries, all over the city.

• Take the 40 special shuttle buses covering 6 routes, Call-a-Bikes, mainline and underground trains for free. All night.

• Take the opportunity to glimpse the city lights at night.

• Bask in the vast glory of almost 400 km² of parks, rivers, streets, offices, buildings, and homes.

• Discover new museums and locations.

• Go on a guided tour, do some hands-on activities, or take part in a special programme.

• Take the family.

MACHmit Museum for children. © Foto: MACHmit! Museum für Kinder
MACHmit Museum for children.
© Foto: MACHmit! Museum für Kinder

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN?

Nope!

Most of the literature and website pages supplied are in both German and English. Some places even had other world languages too like French, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese!

WHERE DID I GO FOR THE NIGHT?

I decided not to go to my favourite museums the German Historical Museum and the Jewish Museum but rather to museums or galleries that I either hadn’t been to or that it has been at least 5 years! I also took along or rather coerced and bribed, “The Tall Young Gentleman” into a restaurant dinner instead of eating at home!

Here goes. I went to:

The Deutsche Bank KunstHalle: An exhibition of international contemporary art. It was a bit too grown-up for “The Tall Young Gentleman” but if you’re interested in art that makes you think. You’ll like it. The exhibition at the moment is Victor Man – Zephir: “Artist of the Year,”- 2014.

Victor Man – Zephir
Victor Man – Zephir

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin: An excellent interactive museum for all the family showing us the history of Berlin’s most famous “imbiss” dish. You can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it. You can even attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips!

As you can imagine, we spent rather a long time here. 2 hours to be precise! Old “kids” and young will love it, and you can have chocolate and curry ice-cream!

All you need is a plate of Berlin's delicious speciality - currywurst.
All you need is a plate of Berlin’s delicious speciality – currywurst. Yum!

Mauermuseum – Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie: This is one of Berlin’s most important museum as it documents the history of Berlin as a divided city, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the ingenious ways that East Germans tried to escape to the West. This exact spot was the border of East and West Berlin.

I didn’t actually go in this time around but spent most of my time outside the museum taking pictures of the Checkpoint Charlie signposts, and chatting with the uniformed “soldiers” from whom you can have your photo taken, and your passport stamped. You can also buy huge fluffy Russian hats and American pilot goggles!

At Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin.
At Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin.

Knoblauchhaus: This house is one of the few remaining 18th century houses of it’s kind, and was donated to the city of Berlin by the Knoblauch family. If you’re interested in middle-class life and business, then this museum would be a good one to go to.

I really enjoyed walking around late at night in this beautiful quarter, and letting my imagination run riot. This house is located in one of Berlins’ most untouched, unbombed, and historically protected quarter. This quarter is called Nikolaiviertel or Nikolai Quarter which was founded in 1200.

The interior of Museum Knoblauchhaus, Berlin. Photo: Michael Setzpfandt / Stadtmuseum Berlin
The interior of Museum Knoblauchhaus, Berlin.
Photo: Michael Setzpfandt / Stadtmuseum Berlin

Berliner Rathaus or the Red Town Hall: I hadn’t actually planned to go to the city Town Hall at all but it’s been a while since I’ve been there and I happened to be passing by, so I popped in anyway.

The Berliner Rathaus is the official seat and office of the Lord Mayor – Klaus Wowereit – and also the seat of the Berlin Senate. The power of a city is in it’s Town Hall and with chandeliers, grand pianos, paintings and statues from 1790, you certainly feel the power and strength.

 The Berliner Rathaus or the Red Town Hall in Berlin.
The Berliner Rathaus or the Red Town Hall in Berlin.

Centum Judaicum or the The Neue Synagoge: We all know the awful history of the Jewish people in the city and this synagogue is a testimony to that. Built in 1866, the synagogue was awfully damaged in World War II and was finally restored in 1995. It’s permanent exhibition documents the history of Berlin’s Jewish community.

I really wanted to go and see it but by 01:00, I was exhausted and so I decided to go to my last museum and exhibition for the night, in another Jewish museum, closer to where I actually was.

The Neue Synagoge, Berlin.
The Neue Synagoge, Berlin.

Anne Frank Zentrum: The exhibition “Ann Frank. Here & Now” shows the world the life and bravery of Ann Frank, her family, and her friends from the writings of her personal diary – Anne Frank’s Diary.

It was an emotional but essential museum to go to, showing the lifestyle and suffering of upper middle-class Jewish families and in fact, every Jewish family living in Europe at that time.

Well worth seeing even if you’ve been to Anne’s original home in Amsterdam, as I have.

Anne-Frank
Anne-Frank

MY VERDICT?

A fantastic weekend for all the family.

I love going to the museum. I love history.

Sure, I have my favourites in that I prefer the old, classical stuff and archives, depicting the anthropology of how people lived of old. Having said that though, going to a museum or gallery is a wonderful way to take in the history and culture of a people. It’s also a way to enjoy the secrets and pride of a nation.

I’ve been privy to private museum collections, the original collections of Andy Warhol, the Museum of Modern Arts, New York, the Guggenheim collection, Rembrandt, Ruben, Picasso, French art of the 18th and 19th century, Byzantine Art, German Jewish culture, the first computer, pieces of the original Berlin Wall, the original 300 BC bust of Queen Nefertiti of Ancient Egypt, the Friedrich Christian Flick modern art collection, the artistic paintings of Francis Bacon, and the horror of war, prejudice, and suffering.

For a person that isn’t a fan of modern art, it seems that I actually go to see rather quite a lot LOL!

The Long Night of Museums is only once a year but if you would like to visit our museums and galleries when you visit, please check the website here for the complete list of Berlin’s museums, exhibitions, galleries, and memorials.

All federal state museums, as well as the National Museums or Staatlichen Mussen in Berlin and the German Historical Museum, offer free admission to young people up to the age of 18. At other museums, children and students get a discount.

All Berlin memorial sites, regional museums, as well as a small amount of historical museums and collections, are also free of charge. There is also free entrance on the first Monday or Wednesday of the month for some museums. Check here for more details.

Please note that many museums, but not all, museums are closed on Mondays.

WHAT IF MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES REALLY AREN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Hardly a problem. There are a million and one other things to do in Berlin. I’ll be writing more about those things for the rest of May and June.

For more information about the delightful night event please contact: Long Night of Museums.

For more information about where to visit, for cultural history and art. Please contact: museums and galleries in Berlin.

The Berliner Dom at Night. © Foto: Sergej Horovitz
The Berliner Dom at Night.
© Foto: Sergej Horovitz

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary ticket, all opinions and the Chinese chicken and noodles I bought at 02:15, are my very own!

Every week for the months of May and June, I’ll be writing about summer time in Berlin, and what to do when you get here.

Next week, I will be going on a walking tour with a difference and writing about the grungy, hippy, rock life-style parts of Berlin! I will also be watching a new modernized performance of Mozart.

At the end of May, Berlin will be hosting a Travel Massive bloggers event so if you’re in town, come join us on 27.05.14.

As a grand month finale, I will also be covering the Berlin Music Video Awards 2014, taking place between 28.05.14 – 31.05.2014.

It’s going to be amazing.

Watch this space!

Myself at the Lustgarten, Berlin.
Myself at the Lustgarten, Berlin.

Have you ever been in a museum at night? When was the last time you went to a museum, gallery or exhibition?

Are you coming for the summer? See you in Berlin.

If you like this post.

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18 thoughts on “The Long Night of Museums or die Lange Nacht der Museen: How to enjoy a shopping spree of museum loving!

  1. That sounds like so much fun! Too bad we missed it. We are in Amsterdam right now . We tried to go to Ann Frank’s house, but l refuse to stand in that really really long line!!! Berlin sounds mighty good the more you write about it ;0))

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  2. I am soooooo jealous. Moscow participated as well this weekend, but I was too exhausted to enjoy it (and had to work last night). Definitely next year!

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    1. Thanks so much Anna! That is so cool. Moscow is sounding very much like a city to visit for every reason LOL! I only managed the Saturday but I so wanted to do Sunday too! 🙂 Let’s do it to gether next year LOL!

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  3. Sounds like a great time. I love walking through museums as we have planty here in NYC and never get bored of them. Still, with what’s going on with Putin and Russia I think that’s one country I’ll stay away from when traveling for now. Even though I love to see it one day.

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    1. Thank you Phil! Me too. Going to a museum is such a workout LOL and being that New York City is huge, that’s a lot of walking LOL! Ah, Russia? Well, it’s never been easy but hopefully, when you’re ready to go there, Russia will be able to welcome you with open arms. 🙂 I’d like to go there too now that I have a few more bloggers friends that would be able to advice and direct me in the next year or two. I try not to regret much, but not stepping into Moscow when I had the chance (on the way to Vietnam), is still one of my regrets. 😦
      Thanks so much my man!

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  4. I really love this post as I’m a big fan of museums and local culture. I could visit churches, galleries and everything related to tradition and history of a place I am exploring. Great tips. I am going there next time and next time means in 7 weeks :D!!

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