Berlin, Germany

A- Overview: Berlin pulses with life; it is a city that never sleeps. The capital of Germany is paved with cobbled streets dating back 750 years. At the same time, it is gloriously modern.

For nearly 30 years, Berlin was really two cities: East and West Berlin, with a wall in between that was meant to be impenetrable. In 1989 all that changed. The wall came down, and the two parts of the city were reunited. In the years since 1989, Berlin has been not only reborn, but reinvented.

The speed of change has been astounding, with the city’s entire center of gravity shifting from west to east. The action ( sights, restaurants and nightlife) is now found in eastern Berlin. It’s an exciting scene and, for anyone familiar with the eastern streets of a few years ago, a slightly unbelievable one. Much of the new city is already in place: parliament sits in the renovated Reichstag; Potsdamer Platz, once leveled to a field in the Wall’s death zone, is now a bustling quarter with 110 new shops, 30 restaurants, a theater, a film museum, and a casino; and the city’s world-class collection of European art has been reunited in the Gemäldegalerie.

A fresh vibrancy is everywhere: on the boulevards, in the art and flea markets, in the 300 trendy night-spots and the 7,000 pubs and restaurants. Visitors can enjoy three opera houses, two great concert halls and 35 theatres, plus cabarets, musicals and revues. Art-lovers can tour 170 excellent museums. this revitalized Berlin has been called the “New York City” of Europe.

One of the most popular activities in Berlin is river cruising. Tourist boats cruise the city’s waterways, stopping at picturesque parks and castles.

The city of Berlin lies in the middle of the state of Brandenburg, just a few miles from countless lakes, historical castles, stately homes, abbeys, heaths, pine forests, river valleys and tree-lined country roads. Few cities have such a wealth of unspoiled natural and cultural attractions in the direct vicinity. Berlin is linked to its surrounding areas both by the Spree and Havel rivers and by their common historical heritage, reflected in the many fascinating sights.

The reunited city of Berlin is once again the capital of Germany. Berlin was almost bombed out of existence during World War II, its streets reduced to piles of rubble, its parks to muddy swampland. But the optimistic spirit and strength of will of the remarkable Berliners enabled them to survive not only the wartime destruction of their city, but also its postwar division, symbolized by the Berlin Wall.

Structures of steel and glass tower over streets where before only piles of rubble lay, and parks and gardens are again lush. Even now, in the daily whirl of working, shopping, and dining along the Ku’damm, Berliners encounter reminders of less happy days. At the end of the street stands the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, with only the shell of the old neo-Romanesque bell tower remaining. In striking contrast is the new church, constructed west of the old tower in 1961, in a futuristic design.

Before World War II, the section of the city that became East Berlin was the cultural and political heart of Germany, where the best museums, the finest churches, and the most important boulevards lay. After the wall came down, East Berliners turned to restoring their important museums, theaters, and landmarks (especially in the Berlin-Mitte or center section), while the West Berliners built entirely new museums and cultural Centers. This contrast between the two parts of city is still evident today, though east and west are more and more coming together within the immense, fascinating whole that is Berlin.

It is a perfect time to join the excitement, and to experience Berlin. The city has succeeded in moving forward, and while its entire foundation has shifted in a new direction, Berlin is again making history.

B-City Information:
Population: 3.4 million

Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour (two hours in summer): Time in Berlin is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York. (7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.) Berlin uses the 24 hour clock, so the numeral 1 on a US watch would be read as 1in the early morning or 13 in the afternoon, etc. Transportation timetables and schedules will use this method of representation of time. (designations of am and pm are unnecessary)

International Dialing Code: The country code for Germany is 49. There is no need to use this prefix when calling within the country. To call Germany from the United States or Canada, omit the first 0 from the German number and add the prefix 011 49.

Telephone area code in Berlin: 030

Weather: For a report on Berlin weather, call 0190/270-641. (There is a per minute charge).

Average Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
35F
26F

February
37F
25F

March
46F
31F

April
56F
39F

May
66F
50F

June
72F
53F

July
75F
57F

August
74F
56F

September
68F
59F

October
56F
42F

November
45F
36F

December
38F
29F

The German climate is variable so it is best to be prepared for all types of weather throughout the year. There is no special rainy season. The most pleasant and predictable weather is from May to October. This coincides, of course, with the standard tourist season (except for skiing). The interim periods can bring fewer tourists and surprisingly pleasant weather. The disadvantages of visiting out-of-season, especially in winter, are that some tourist attractions are closed or have shorter hours.

Holidays

The following holidays are observed in Berlin:

January 1 New Year’s Day

Good Friday. and Easter Monday. (March or April)

May 1 (Workers’ Day)

Late May (Ascension)

Pentecost Monday. (May or June)

October 3 (Reunification Day)

November 1 (All Saints’ Day)

December 24-26 (Christmas).

Useful measurements

Equivalent Weights And Measures

1 cm 0.39 inches

1 meter 3.28 feet / 1.09 yards

1 km 0.62 miles

1 liter 0.26 gallons

1 inch 2.54 cm

1 foot 0.39 meters

1 yard 0.91 meters

1 mile 1.60 km

1 gallon 3.78 liters

Visas: US travelers just need a valid passport (no visa).

Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz Electrical sockets take plugs with two round prongs or sometimes three. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a transformer if they do not have a dual voltage capability. Most hotels will supply guests with an ironing board and iron if requested.

Business Hours

Banks & Stores

Banks are usually open weekdays from 8:30 or 9 to 3 or 4 (5 or 6 on Thurs.), sometimes with a lunch break of about an hour at smaller branches. Department stores and larger stores are generally open from 9 or 9:15 to 8 weekdays and until 4 on Sat.

Museums & Sights

Most museums are open from Tues. to Sun. 10-5. Some close for an hour or more at lunch. Many stay open until 8 or 9 on Wed. or Thurs..

Embassies and Consulates

United States (Neustädtische Kirchstr. 4-5, 030/238-5174).

Emergencies

Police 030/110). Ambulance 030/112).

Dentist 030/8900-4333).

Late-Night Pharmacies

Pharmacies in Berlin offer late-night service on a rotating basis. Every pharmacy displays a notice indicating the location of the nearest shop with evening hours. For emergency pharmaceutical assistance, call 030/01189.

Language

German is the primary language. English is spoken and understood in most hotels, restaurants, airports, stations, museums, and other places of interest.

Money

Currency : Since January 1, 1999, Germany’s official currency has been the European monetary unit, the euro.

Taxes

Most prices you see on items already have Germany’s 16% value- added tax (VAT) included. When traveling to a non-EU country, you are entitled to a refund of the VAT you pay (multiply the price of an item by 13.8% to find out how much VAT is embedded in it). Some goods, like books and antiquities, carry a 6.5% VAT as a percentage of the purchase price.

Global Refund is a VAT refund service that makes getting your money back hassle-free. In participating stores, ask for the Global Refund form (called a Shopping Cheque). When you leave the European Union, you must show your purchases to customs officials before they will stamp your refund form. Before you check your luggage at the airport, ask to be directed to the customs desk. Once the form is stamped, take it to one of the more than 700 Global Refund counters – located at every major airport and border crossing – and your money will be refunded on the spot in the form of cash, check, or a refund to your credit-card account (minus a small percentage for processing). Alternatively, you can mail your validated form to Global Refund: 707 Summer St., Stamford, CT 06901, 800/566-9828.

Getting Around

The Berlin-Potsdam Welcome Card gives you 72 hours of free transport on all the buses and trams of the VBB network. Also good for free admission or up to 50% reductions for sightseeing tours, museums and many other tourist attractions.

Public Transportation: The Berlin transport system consists of buses, trams, and U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn (elevated) trains. The network is run by the BVG or Public Transport Company Berlin-Brandenburg. Public transportation throughout the city operates from about 4:30am to 12:30am daily (except for 62 night buses and trams, and U-Bahn lines U-9 and U-12). For information about public transport, call tel. 030/29-71-9843 or 030/19-449.

The BVG standard ticket (Einzelfahrschein) costs is valid for 2 hours of transportation in all directions, transfers included. There is also a 24-hour ticket for the whole city. Only standard tickets are sold on buses. Tram tickets must be purchased in advance. Unless you buy a day pass, don’t forget to time-punch your ticket into one of the small red boxes prominently posted at the entrance to city buses and underground stations.

If you’re going to be in Berlin for 3 days, you can purchase a Berlin-Potsdam WelcomeCard, which entitles holders to 72 free hours on public transportation in Berlin and Brandenburg. You’ll also get free admission or a price reduction of up to 50% on sightseeing tours, museums, and other attractions, and a 25% reduction at 10 theaters as well. The card is sold at many hotels, visitor information Centers, and public-transportation sales points. It is valid for one adult and three children under the age of 14.

Getting There

There are hardly any direct flights to Berlin from overseas and, depending on the airline you use, you’re likely to fly first into another European city such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris or London and catch a connecting flight from there. Berlin has three airports:

You can reach all three airports by calling the central service phone number 0180/500-0186);

Tegel (TXL) primarily serves destinations within Germany and Europe.

Schönefeld (SXF) mostly operates international flights to/from Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America.

Berlin-Tempelhof (THF) became famous as the main landing hub for Allied airlifts during the Berlin blockade of 1948-49. Today it’s the main hub for domestic departures and flights to Central Europe.

Bus: Berlin is well-connected to the rest of Europe by long-distance bus. Most buses arrive at and depart from the Zentraler Omnibus-bahnhof in Charlottenburg, opposite the stately Funkturm radio tower.

Train: Until the opening of the huge new rail center (Lehrter Bahnhof) in 2002, train services to and from Berlin will remain confusing because of the extensive construction that affects several stations. Trains scheduled to leave from or arrive at one station may be spontaneously rerouted to another. Zoo Station is the main station for long-distance travelers going to and from the west.

Bicycles: Berlin is very cycle friendly, and it’s a good way to get to know the city – there are specially marked bike lanes everywhere. There are also many bike rental shops.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

Tegel Airport is only 6 km (4 mi) from the downtown area. The No. 109 and X09 airport buses run at 10-minute intervals between Tegel and downtown via Kurfürstendamm, Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten, and Budapester Strasse. The trip takes 30 minutes. If you rent a car at the airport, follow the signs for the Stadtautobahn into Berlin. The Halensee exit leads to Kurfürstendamm.

Tempelhof is linked directly to the city center by the U-6 subway line.

From Schönefeld a shuttle bus leaves every 10-15 minutes for the nearby S-bahn station; S-bahn trains leave every 20 minutes for the Friedrichstrasse station, in downtown eastern Berlin, and for the Zoologischer Garten station, in downtown western Berlin. Bus 171 also leaves every 10 or 15 minutes for the western Berlin Rudow subway station. A taxi ride from the airport takes about 40 minutes. By car, follow the signs for Stadtzentrum Berlin.

By Bus

Buses are slightly cheaper than trains. Berlin is linked by bus to 170 European cities. The Omnibusbahnhof, the central bus terminal, is at the corner of Masurenallee 4-6 and Messedamm. Reserve through DER (a state agency), travel agencies, or the station itself. For information call 030/301-8028 between 9 and 5:30.

By Car

The German autobahn system links Berlin with the eastern German cities of Magdeburg, Leipzig, Rostock, Dresden, and Frankfurt an der Oder. Speed restrictions of 130 kph (80 mph) still apply.

A car is really unnecessary in Berlin and the surrounding area. The transportation network is amazing in its efficiency and extent. Public transportation via bus, subway and train is available throughout the city and into all of the surrounding area. There are numerous connections to cities throughout Germany and the rest of Europe.

By Train

There are six major rail routes to Berlin from the western part of the country (from Hamburg, Hannover, Köln, Frankfurt, Munich, and Nürnberg). Ask about reduced fares within Germany. Some trains now stop at and depart from more than one of Berlin’s four main train stations, but generally trains from the west and north arrive at Friedrichstrasse and Zoologischer Garten, and trains from the east and south at Hauptbahnhof or Lichtenberg. For details on rates and information, call Deutsche Bahn Information 030/19419).

Getting Around

By Subway

Berlin is too large to be explored on foot. To compensate, the city has one of the most efficient public-transportation systems in Europe, a smoothly integrated network of subway (U-bahn) and suburban (S-bahn) train lines, buses, trams (in eastern Berlin only), and even a ferry across the Wannsee, making every part of the city easily accessible. Get a map from any information booth. Extensive all-night bus and tram service operates seven nights a week (indicated by the letter N next to route numbers).

Bicycle

Bicycling is popular in Berlin. Although it’s not recommended in the downtown area, it’s ideal in outlying areas. Bike paths are generally marked by red bricks on the walkways;

The Berlin WelcomeCard entitles one person or one adult and up to three children to three days of unlimited travel as well as free admission or reductions of up to 50% for sightseeing trips, museums, theaters, and other events and attractions.

All tickets are available from vending machines at U-bahn and S-bahn stations. Punch your ticket into the red machine on the platform. For information about public transportation, call the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe 030/19449 or 030/752-7020) or go to the BVG-information office on Hardenbergplatz, directly in front of the Bahnhof Zoo train station. If you’re caught without a ticket, there is a fine.

The U-Bahn

underground system is efficient and extensive; trains run from 4am to approximately 12.30am, an hour later on Fri. and Sat..

The S-Bahn

is better for getting out to the suburbs : Wannsee or Potsdam, for instance. The city bus network – and the tram system in eastern Berlin – cover most of the gaps left by the U-Bahn:

Night buses run at intervals of around twenty minutes, although the routes often differ from daytime ones; agents in the U-Bahn stations can usually provide a map.

Taxis are plentiful and can be hailed from the street or picked up at the taxi stands at major intersections, by U-Bahn stations, or in front of the larger hotels.

C-Attractions and Things To Do:
Neighborhoods

Grunewald

Visitors are often surprised by the extent of Grunewald’s 19 square miles of secluded verdant forest, lovely parks, and lakes. The area serves as a green oasis for the urban dwellers of Berlin.

Museumsinsel (Museum Island)

This island in the Spree River hosts a complex of museums housed in neoclassical buildings. Its most famous museum, the Pergamon, contains magnificent reconstructions of ancient temples.

Potsdamer Platz

Before World War II, this was the thriving heart of Berlin. Blasted into rubble by wartime bombings, it was bulldozed almost out of existence when the Wall went up on its western edge. After reunification, it was transformed into a glittering, ultra-modern square dominated by such corporate giants as Daimler-Chrysler. It stands as a symbol of the corporate culture of a reunited Germany.

Charlottenburg

This is the wealthiest and most densely commercialized district of western Berlin. Its Centerpiece is Charlottenburg Palace.

Mitte (Center)

Closed to western investors for nearly 50 years, this district is at the heart of Berlin. It was originally conceived as the architectural Centerpiece of the Prussian Kaisers. Its fortunes declined dramatically as the Communist regime filled it with starkly angular monuments and buildings. Although some of Mitte’s grand structures were destroyed by wartime bombings, unification has resulted in restoration of its remaining artistic and architectural treasures. The district’s most famous boulevard is Unter den Linden (Under the Lime Trees). Famous squares within the district include Pariser Platz (adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate), Potsdamer Platz, and Alexanderplatz.

Tiergarten

Tiergarten ( Animal Garden) refers both to a massive urban park and, to the park’s north boundary: a residential district of the same name. The park was originally intended as a backdrop to the grand avenues laid out for the German Kaisers by a leading landscape architect of the day, Peter Josef Lenné. The neighborhood contains the Brandenburg Gate, the German Reichstag (Parliament), the Berlin Zoo, and some of the city’s grandest museums.

Attractions

Eastern Berlin

The broad, stately boulevard of Unter den Linden starts at the Brandenburg Gate.

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin

Unter den Linden 13–15

daily 11am–8pm

Free admission on Mondays

take U-Bahn Französische St.

located just to the east of Friedrichstrasse, the Guggenheim contains an extensive collection of contemporary art and hosts three to four major exhibitions per year. Lining the wide promenade beyond are a host of historic buildings restored from the rubble of the war

Neoclassical Humboldt University

Alte Bibliothek,

Deutsche Staatsoper

St Hedwig’s Cathedral, built for the city’s Catholics in 1747.

Bebelplatz

U-Bahn Französische St.

Faces the Cathedral and is the site of the infamous Nazi bookburning of May 10, 1933; an underground room visible through a glass panel set in the center of the square.

Neue Wache, a former royal guardhouse resembling a Roman temple and now a memorial to victims of war and tyranny. Next door, is one of Berlin’s finest Baroque buildings, the old Prussian Arsenal, which is home to the Museum of German History.

Museum of German History

10am–6pm; closed Wed

free

U-Bahn Friedrichstr.

currently closed for renovations until the end of 2001; until then, temporary exhibitions on historical themes are being held in the Kronprinzenpalais across the road.

Französische Kirche on the northern side of the square. Built as a church for Berlin’s influential Huguenot community at the beginning of the eighteenth century, it also now houses the Hugenottenmuseum.

Hugenottenmuseum

Tues–Sat noon–5pm, Sun 11am–5pm

Contains exhibits documenting the way of life of the Huggenotts.

Deutsche Kirche

Tues–Sun 10am–6pm

free admission

The church was built in the 18th century for the city’s Reformed community. It houses an historical exhibition, “Questions of German History”

Friedrichstrasse

an upscale shopping district with an eclectic mix of modernist architecture, lies a block west of the Deutsche Kirche.

Schlossplatz

U-Bahn Alexanderplatz

At the eastern end of Unter den Linden lies the former site of the imperial palace and the current home of the abandoned Palast der Republik, the former GDR parliament building. It stands at the midpoint of a city-centre island whose northwestern part, Museumsinsel, is the location of some of the best of Berlin’s museums. Reopening following an extensive reconstruction program:

The Alte Nationalgalerie (U-Bahn Friedrichstr.), houses the city’s collection of nineteenth-century European art has been extensively renovated and restored.

Altes Museum

Tues–Sun 10am–6pm

free first Sun on month

U-Bahn Friedrichstr.)

Perhaps Schinkel’s most impressive surviving work is displayed in the Alte Nationalgalerie’s collection. In addition, it devotes a floor to the city’s excellent collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.

Alexanderplatz,

The commercial hub of eastern Berlin.

Marienkirche,

The church is open Mon. to Thurs. 10am to noon and 1 to 4pm, Fri. to Sun. noon to 4pm. Free tours are offered Mon. to Thurs. at 1pm and Sun. at 11:45am.

This is Berlin’s second opldest parish church, dating from the 15th century. Inside is the 1475 wall painting Der Totentanz (The Dance of Death), discovered in 1860 beneath a layer of whitewash in the church’s entrance hall. Also worth seeing is the marble baroque pulpit carved by Andreas Schlüter (1703). The cross on the top of the church annoyed the Communist rulers of the former East Germany–its golden form was always reflected in the windows of the Fernsehturm.

Fernsehturm or TV tower

March–Oct daily 9am–1am;Nov-–Feb 10am–midnight;

U-Bahn Alexanderplatz

The observation platform offers unbeatable views of the whole city on rare clear days.

Nikolaiviertel

Take U-Bahn Klosterstr.

A modern development that attempts to recreate the winding streets and small houses of this part of old prewar Berlin, which was razed overnight on June 16, 1944.

Nikolaikirche

Tues–Sun 10am–6pm;

Free

Take U-Bahn Klosterstr.,

a rebuilt thirteenth-century structure that is Berlin’s oldest parish church. Not far away on Mühlendamm is the rebuilt Rococo

Ephraim-Palais

Tues-Sun. 10-6.

U-Bahn Klosterstr.

housing a collection of Berlin art from the reign of Frederick the Great to 1945.

Western Berlin

Altes Museum

Bodestrasse 1-3, Museumsinsel

030/20-99-55-55

Tues-Sun 10am-6pm U-Bahn/S-Bahn: Friedrichstrasse. Bus 100 to Lustgarten Admission charged.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the city’s greatest architect, designed this structure, which resembles a Greek Corinthian temple, in 1822. On its main floor is the

This is a large collection of world-famous antique decorative art. Some of the finest Greek vases of the black-and-red-figures style, from the 6th to the 4th century B.C., are here. The best-known vase is a large Athenian amphora (wine jar) found in Vulci, Etruria.

Pergamon Museum

Kupfergraben, Museumsinsel

030/20-90-5555

Tues-Sun 10am-6pm

U-Bahn/S-Bahn: Friedrichstrasse.

Tram: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 15, or 53 Admission charged.

The Pergamon Museum houses several departments, but if you have time for only one exhibit, go to the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, housed in the north and east wings of the museum, and enter the central hall to see the Pergamon Altar, (180-160 B.C.), so large that it has a huge room all to itself. The Near East Museum, in the south wing, contains one of the largest collections anywhere of antiquities from ancient Babylonia, Persia, and Assyria.

Ägyptisches Museum

Schloss-strasse 70

030/32-09-11

Tues-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm

U-Bahn: Sophie-Charlotte-Platz or Richard-Wagner-Platz.

Admission charged except: free admission 1st Sun of each month

The western Berlin branch of the Egyptian Museum is housed in the palace’s east guardhouse. It’s worth the trip just to see the famous colored bust of Queen Nefertiti, which dates from about 1360 B.C. and was discovered in 1912Other displays feature jewelry, papyrus, tools, and weapons, as well as objects relating to the Egyptian belief in the afterlife.

Bröhan Museum

Schlossstrasse 1A

32-69-06-00

Tues-Sun 10am-6pm (until 8pm on Wed)

U-Bahn: Sophie-Charlotte-Platz or Richard-Wagner-Platz

Admission charged; 11 and under Free

Berlin’s finest collection of Jugendstil (German art nouveau) is found here. When Professor Bröhan started the collection, Jugendstil was viewed as having little merit. It’s a different story today. The objects include glass, furnishings, silver and gold, paintings, and vases.

Museum für Vor und Frühgeschichte

Langhansbau

030/32-09-11

Tues-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm

U-Bahn: Sophie-Charlotte-Platz or Richard-Wagner-Platz

Admission charged.

This museum of prehistory and early history is in the western extension of the palace, facing Klausener Platz.

Schloss Charlottenburg

Luisenplatz

030/32-09-11

Guided tours of the Historical Rooms (in German)

Tues-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm (last tour at 4pm)

U-Bahn: Sophie-Charlotte-Platz or Richard-Wagner-Platz

Combination ticket for all buildings and historical rooms

English translation of guide’s lecture on sale at the ticket counter

Schloss Charlottenburg, one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in Germany, was built by Sophie Charlotte, a patron of philosophy and the arts, and the wife of Friedrich I, crowned as the first king in Prussia in 1701.

The residence was begun as a summer palace, but grew into the massive structure seen today.

At the far end of Schlossgarten Charlottenburg is the Belvedere, close to the River Spree. This former royal teahouse contains exquisite Berlin porcelain, much of it from the 1700s.

Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery)

Mattäiskirchplatz 4

030/20-90-55-55

Tues-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm

U-Bahn: Kurfürstenstrasse, then bus 148. Bus 129 from Ku’damm (plus a 4-min. walk) Admission charged.

This is one of Germany’s greatest art museums. Several rooms are devoted to early German masters, with panels from altarpieces dating from the 13th to 15th centuries.

Most of the great European masters are represented.

Kunstgewerbemuseum

Matthäikirchplatz, Tiergartenstrasse 6

Opposite the Philharmonie

030/2-66-29-02

Tues-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm

U-Bahn: Kurfürstenstrasse; S-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz

Admission charged.

This museum displays applied arts and crafts from the Middle Ages through the 20th century. Its outstanding exhibition is the Guelph Treasure, a collection of medieval church articles in gold and silver.

Neue Nationalgalerie (Staatliche Museum zu Berlin)

Potsdamerstrasse 50 Just south of the Tiergarten

030/2-66-26-62

Tues-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm

Closed Jan 1, Dec 24-25 and 31, and the Tues after Easter and Whitsunday

U-Bahn: Kurfürstenstrasse; S-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz

This modern glass-and-steel structure designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) contains a continually growing collection of modern European and American art. Included are works of 19th-century artists, with a concentration on French impressionists.

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin

Unter den Linden 13-15 At the intersection with Charlottenstrasse

030/2020930

Daily 11am-8pm

U-Bahn: Französische Strasse

Admission charged

This state-of-the-art museum is devoted to modern and contemporary art. The exhibition space is on the ground floor of the newly restored Berlin branch of Deutsche Bank. The Guggenheim Foundation presents several exhibitions at this site annually, and also displays newly commissioned works created specifically for this space by world-renowned artists.

Die Sammlung Berggruen: Picasso und Seine Zeit (The Berggruen Collection: Picasso and His Era)

Schlosstrasse 1

Entrance across from the Egyptian Museum, in Charlottenburg

030/830-1466

Tues-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm Closed Mon

U-Bahn: Sophie-Charlotte-Platz, followed by a 10-min. walk

Admission charged.

This unusual private museum displays the extensive collection of respected art and antiques dealer Heinz Berggruen. A native of Berlin who fled the Nazis in 1936, Berggruen later established a miniempire of antique dealerships in Paris and California before returning, with his collection, to his native home in 1996.

Friedrichswerdersche Kirche-Schinkelmuseum

Werderstrasse At the corner of Niederlagstrasse

030/2-08-13-23

Tues-Sun 10am-6pm

U-Bahn: Hausvogteiplatz

Admission charged.

This annex of the Nationalgalerie is located in the deconsecrated Friedrichswerdersche Kirche, which was designed in 1828 by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841). It lies close to Unter den Linden, not far from the State Opera House. The twin Gothic portals of the old church shelter a bronze of St. Michael slaying a dragon. Inside, the museum is devoted to the memory of Schinkel, who designed many of Berlin’s great palaces, churches, and monuments.

D-Family Fun Attractions:
Attractions of Interest to Children

Zoologischer Garten Berlin (Berlin Zoo-Aquarium)

\Hardenbergplatz 8

030/25-40-10

U-Bahn/S-Bahn: Zoologischer Garten

Admission charged.

The zoo is open April to October daily 9am to 6:30pm; November to March, daily 9am to 5pm. The aquarium is open year-round daily 9am to 6pm.

Founded in 1844, this is Germany’s oldest zoo. It occupies almost the entire southwest corner of the Tiergarten. Until World War II, the zoo boasted thousands of animals, many of which were familiar to Berliners by nickname. By the end of 1945 only 91 had survived. Today more than 13,000 animals live here, many of them in large, open natural habitats. The most valuable residents are giant pandas. The zoo also has Europe’s most modern birdhouse, with more than 550 species.

The aquarium is as impressive as the adjacent zoo, with more than 9,000 fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other creatures. The terrarium within is inhabited by crocodiles, Komodo dragons, and tuataras. You can walk on a bridge over the reptile pit. There’s also a large collection of snakes, lizards, and turtles. The “hippoquarium” is a popular attraction.

E-Events and Entertainment:
Events

January
International Green Week celebrates agriculture and gardening at the ICC trade fair center and features samples of exotic foods from around the world. Tel. 303/80

Schauplatz Museum (Museum Showcase) A month long showcase of theater performances, concerts, readings, films, lectures and discussions enlivening Berlin’s museums. Includes “Long Night of the Museums” on which the museums in Berlin stay open until after midnight. tel. 28 39 74 44.

February

International Film Festival Berlin. Also known as Berlinale, the film festival attracts stars, directors, and critics from around the world. About 750 films are shown during the 2 weeks. tel. 25 48 90.

March
International Travel Fair Held at ICC Trade Center. Exhibitors highlight their countries’ attractions. tel. 303 80.

April
Festival Days An annual series of gala concerts and operas under the auspices of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden which brings world renowned conductors, soloists and orchestras to Berlin for 10 days. Concerts are held at the Philharmonic concert hall; operas are held at the opera house. tel. 20 35 44 81.

May
Carnival of Cultures

Arts and Entertainment

Classical music

Deutsche Oper, Bismarckstr.

35 030/341 0249

Good classical concerts, plus opera and ballet in a large, modern venue.

Komische Oper

Behrenstr. 55–57

030/4799 7400

The house orchestra performs classical and contemporary music, and opera productions are staged here.

Philharmonie

Herbert-von-Karajan-Str. 1

030/254880

The most noted and popular orchestra in Berlin.

Konzerthaus Berlin, Schauspielhaus am Gendarmenmarkt,

Gendarmenmarkt 2

030/203 092101

Home to the Berlin Sinfonie Orchester and host to visiting orchestras.

Staatsoper

Unter den Linden 7

030/203 54555

Excellent operatic productions in one of central Berlin’s most beautiful buildings.

Berliner Ensemble

Bertolt-Brecht-Platz 1

030/282 3160

The official Brecht theatre.

Maxim Gorki Theater

Am Festungsgraben 2

030/202 21115

Productions of modern works.

Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz

Kurfürstendamm 153

030/890023

State-of-the-art theatre for performances of the classics and some experimental pieces.

Varieté Chamäleon

Rosenthaler Str. 40–41, Mitte

030/282 7118

Cabaret and variety theatre in the beautiful turn-of-the-century Hackescher Höfe complex.

Concerts

Among the major symphony orchestras and orchestral ensembles in Berlin is one of the world’s best, the Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester, which resides at the Philharmonie Mit Kammermusiksaal

Matthäikircherstr. 1

030/254-880 or 030/2548-8132

The Kammermusiksaal is dedicated to chamber music.

Grosser Sendesaal Des Sfb

Haus des Rundfunks, Masurenallee 8-14

030/30310

is part of the Sender Freies Berlin, one of Berlin’s broadcasting stations, and the home of the Radio Symphonic Orchestra.

Konzerthaus Berlin’s

Schauspielhaus, Gendarmenmarkt

030/2030-92101

beautifully restored hall is a prime venue for classical music concerts in historic Berlin.

The concert hall of the Hochschule Der Künste University of Arts

Hardenbergstr. 33,

030/3185-2374) is Berlin’s second largest.

Waldbühne

Am Glockenturm, close to Olympic Stadium

030/305-5079 is modeled after an ancient open-air Roman theater and accommodates nearly 20,000 people at opera, classical, or rock concerts.