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Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin

Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin

The museum as a social phenomenon owes its origins to the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century. The five museums on the Museumsinsel in Berlin, built between 1824 and 1930, are the realization of a visionary project and show the evolution of approaches to museum design over the course of the 20th century. Each museum was designed so as to establish an organic connection with the art it houses. The importance of the museum's collections – which trace the development of civilizations throughout the ages – is enhanced by the urban and architectural quality of the buildings.

Museumsinsel (Île des musées), Berlin

Le musée d'art en tant que phénomène social doit ses origines à l'époque des Lumières, au XVIIIe siècle. Les cinq musées de la Museumsinsel à Berlin, construits entre 1824 et 1930, représentent la réalisation d'un projet visionnaire et l'évolution de la conception des musées au cours de ce siècle. Chaque musée ayant été pensé en rapport organique avec les collections qu'il abrite, l'importance des collections – qui témoignent de l'évolution de la civilisation – se double d'une grande valeur urbanistique et architecturale.

ميوزمسينسل (جزيرة المتاحف) في برلين

تعود جذور المتحف الفني كظاهرة إجتماعية إلى عصر الأنوار في القرن الثامن عشر. وتشكّل المتاحف الخمسة في ميوزيومسينسل في برلين، والتي شّيدت بين العام 1824 و1930، تجسيداً لمشروع رؤيوي ولتطوّر مفهوم المتاحف عبر القرون. فقد تمّ تصميم كل متحف على أساس العلاقة العضوية بينه وبين المجموعة التي يأويها، علماً أن أهمية المجموعات التي تشهد على تطوّر الحضارات تتضاعف أهمية بالقيمة المدنية والهندسية التي تحويها.

source: UNESCO/ERI

柏林的博物馆岛

博物馆是一种社会现象,源于18世纪的启蒙运动。柏林的博物馆岛共有五个建于1824年至1930年间的博物馆,是一种理想的实现,展示了20世纪博物馆设计方式的变革。各个博物馆的设计都有意地在其艺术藏品之间建立起有机联系,而各建筑的规划和建筑质量又大大提升了馆中藏品的价值,这些藏品展示了各个时期人类文明发展的历史。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Музеумсинзель (Музейный остров) в Берлине

Музей как социальный феномен зародился в эпоху Просвещения, в XVIII в. Пять музеев Музейного острова в Берлине, построенные между 1824 и 1930 гг., представляют собой реализацию замечательного проекта и демонстрируют эволюцию подходов к дизайну музеев в течение ХХ в. Каждый музей был спроектирован так, чтобы обеспечить органичную связь с искусством, которое он представляет. Значимость музейных коллекций, которые отражают развитие цивилизаций во времени, усиливается благодаря градостроительным и архитектурным достоинствам самих зданий.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Museumsinsel (Isla de los Museos), Berlín

En cuanto fenómeno social, el museo de arte nació en el Siglo de las Luces. Construidos entre 1824 y 1930, los cinco edificios de la Museumsinsel de Berlín fueron la culminación de un proyecto visionario y son representativos de la evolución de la concepción de los museos a lo largo de esos cien años. Cada uno de los cinco museos de la isla se proyectó para que guardase una relación orgánica con sus colecciones, que son un testimonio de la evolución de la civilización. Al valor de las colecciones viene a sumarse el del patrimonio arquitectónico y urbanístico del conjunto del sitio.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ベルリンのムゼウムスインゼル(博物館島)

source: NFUAJ

Museuminsel (Museumeiland), Berlijn

Het museum als maatschappelijk verschijnsel heeft zijn oorsprong in het tijdperk van de Verlichting in de 18e eeuw. De vijf musea op het Museumeiland in Berlijn zijn gebouwd tussen 1824 en 1930. Ze zijn de realisatie van een visionair project en tonen de ontwikkeling in benaderingen van museumontwerp gedurende meer dan een eeuw. Elk museum werd zo ontworpen dat het een organische verbinding met zijn kunstcollectie laat zien. Het belang van de collecties van het museum – die de ontwikkeling van beschavingen door de eeuwen heen traceren – wordt versterkt door de stedenbouwkundige en architectonische kwaliteit van de gebouwen.

Source: unesco.nl

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Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin © OUR PLACE
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis 

The Berlin Museumsinsel is a complex of buildings composed of individual museums of outstanding historical and artistic importance located in the heart of the city. The five museums, built between 1824 and 1930 by the most renowned Prussian architects, represent the realization of a visionary project and the evolution of the approaches to museum design over this seminal century. They form a unique ensemble that serves purely museological purposes and constitutes a town-planning highlight in the urban fabric as a kind of city crown.

The Museumsinsel of Berlin is a remarkable example of the urban and architectural realisation of an urban public forum which has the symbolic value of the Acropolis for the city. It is appropriate to emphasise its rare planning and architectural continuity and the consistency with which for more than a century a concept has been continuously implemented.

The cultural value of the Museumsinsel is linked with its historic role in the conception and development of a certain type of building and ensemble, that of the modern museum of art and archaeology. In this respect the Berlin Museumsinsel is one of the significant and most impressive ensembles in the world. The urban and architectural values of the Museumsinsel are inseparable from the important collections that the five museums house, which bear witness to the evolution of civilization. The connection is a direct one, as the architectural spaces in the museums were designed in an organic relationship with the collections on display, whether incorporated as parts of the interior design or framed and interpreted.

Criterion (ii): The Berlin Museumsinsel is a unique ensemble of museum buildings, which illustrates the evolution of modern museum design over more than a century.

Criterion (iv): The modern museum is a social phenomenon that owes its origins to the Age of Enlightenment, and its extension to all people to the French Revolution. The Museumsinsel is the most outstanding example of this concept given material form and placed in a symbolic central urban setting.

Integrity

The Museumsinsel includes all elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of a remarkable example of an urban public forum which has the symbolic significance of the Acropolis of the city. It is appropriate to emphasise its rare planning and architectural continuity and the consistency with which for more than a century a concept has been continuously implemented, ensuring its integrity and its urban and architectural coherence at each stage of the creation of the ensemble.

Authenticity

Despite the wartime damage and the long series of conservation interventions that followed, the Museumsinsel has retained a high degree of authenticity in its historic buildings, in their functions, in their design, and in their context. The authenticity of both the historical characteristics and the development of the museum role has survived in the character, style and thematic content of the collections on display, and in the organic link between the collections and the architectural spaces. Conservation interventions being carried out at present respect the imperatives of authenticity to a high degree.

Protection and management requirements

The inscribed area has been protected since the beginning of the 20th century (laws of 1907, 1909 and 1923). In 1977 the Museumsinsel was inscribed on the Central List of Monuments of the German Democratic Republic as an exceptional group of monuments of national and international importance. The 1995 Historic Preservation Law Berlin makes provision for three levels of protection for the Museumsinsel: protection as a listed Historic Conservation Area (Denkmalbereich), covering the entire area, including buildings, the open spaces between them, and the bridges; protection as individual Listed Properties (Baudenkmal, Gartendenkmal) (the buildings, the viaduct, the Iron Bridge, and the Monbijou Bridge as architectural monuments and the garden as landscape monument); and protection of the immediate surroundings of historic properties around each individual monument and around the conservation area (Umgebungsschutz).

The adjacent areas to the west of the Museumsinsel are also statutorily protected as a Listed Conservation Area (according to the Historic Preservation Law Berlin) or by Urban Preservation Statutes (according to the Federal Building Code – BauGB). Part of this area is defined as the buffer zone around the Museumsinsel.

The urban plans – the Land-Use Plan and the informal Master Plan Inner City (Planwerk Innere Stadt) as well as the District Development Plan of Berlin-Mitte – contain provisions relating to the protection of the urban fabric of protected Areas in the Mitte district. Statutory measures in force allow the competent authorities of the Land (city-state) to act in all matters relating to the urban plans and to approve building permits.

Management of the Museumsinsel- its buildings and its collections - is carried out jointly by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the State Museums of Berlin (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz – SPK/Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – SMB), which ensure that the property’s qualities are maintained. They cooperate with other partners to whom they delegate specialised preservation activities. As responsible bodies at governmental level, the Federal Government and all the 16 Federal States (Länder) participate in the work of the SPK, which is the source of substantial potential funding, strength and flexible management. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development is responsible for professional control of building works. The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung – BBR) reviews and provides approval for aspects of planning, conservation work, expert advice, design, technical proposals for Federal projects and building applications. At Land (city-state) level the Senate Department of Urban Development and Environment Berlin (Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt - SenStadtUm) oversees planning and works on the Museumsinsel, whilst the Berlin Monuments Office (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin – LDA) specifies all protection and conservation measures. In the Mitte District the local conservation authorities are concerned with the protected area outside the island, including the buffer zone.

Effective management is ensured through the continuous interaction between the main partners (SPK, BBR, SenStadtUm and LDA), and also through the participation of the other bodies involved.

Long Description

The art museum is a social phenomenon that owes its origins to the Age of Enlightenment and its extension to all people to the French Revolution. The Museumsinsel is the most outstanding example of this concept given material form and a symbolic central urban setting, and one that illustrates the evolution of modern museum design over more than a century.

The present importance of the Museumsinsel began when the Altes Museum was built to the designs of Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1824-28. A plan to develop the part of the island behind this museum was drawn up in 1841 by the court architect, Friedrich August Stüler, on the orders of Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The first element of this plan to be built was the Neues Museum (1843-47). The next step did not take place until 1866, when the Nationalgalerie, the work of Johann Heinrich Strack, was built. Another two decades passed before the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum (now the Bodemuseum) was built in 1897-1904 to the designs of Ernst von Ihne, and Stüler's plan was completed in 1909-30 with the construction of Alfred Messel's Pergamonmuseum.

The complex of the Museumsinsel consists of five museum buildings:

  • The Altes Museum is a two-storey structure with a rectangular ground plan on a high base with its exhibition rooms ranged round two inner courts and a central two-storey domed rotunda with skylight. The side and rear elevations are relatively plain, but that facing the site of the former Schloss is a high portico supported on eighteen sandstone Ionic columns and two corner pilasters. Access is by means of a seven-bay wide stairway with broad stringers.
  • The layout of the Neues Museum is comparable with that of the Altes Museum, but the rotunda of the latter is replaced by the monumental main staircase. Unlike the Altes Museum, to which it was originally linked by a passageway, it is a relatively plain structure, more in the style of the Schinkel School. The richly decorated interior contrasts with the plain exterior. There is an interesting innovative structural feature. The traditional low-vaulted ceilings of timber beams and masonry are replaced on the third floor by an arch-chord construction using cast-iron arches and pairs of wrought-iron chords. This lightweight form of construction was necessitated by the poor foundation parameters.
  • The Nationalgalerie, a high ashlar block-like base with rectangular windows, is surmounted by a Corinthian pseudo-dipteral temple of in antis type with an open portico. There are also high rectangular windows in the exterior wall set back behind the columns. The rear is in the form of a semi-circular conch. A double-winged open staircase with five flights of steps leads up to the pedimented portico with its Corinthian columns. The building is clad throughout with Nebra sandstone. The four-storey building has a rectangular ground plan with apse-like terminal features. There is a cellar and an exhibition floor in the basement section and two exhibition halls in the superstructure. It is lavishly decorated with symbolic imagery in the form of sculptures, reliefs, and paintings. The upper exhibition floor was originally laid out as a vast banqueting hall, but is now converted for displays.
  • The Bodemuseum is a neo-Baroque structure in a commanding position on the north-western tip of the island. Clad in sandstone and with a low stone base, it rises to two storeys, linked by Corinthian pilasters and crowned with a balustrade. The rounded entrance frontage is decorated with the same columns and with rounded open arches. The entrance with its impressive staircase is beneath the smaller of the two domes. It gives on to two lateral wings and a centre section which are linked by transverse sections so as to form five inner courtyards.
  • The three-winged Pergamonmuseum was built to exhibit the greatly expanded collections of antiquities resulting from German excavations at Pergamon and other Greek sites in Asia Minor as well as those from Mesopotamia formerly housed in the Vorderasiatisches Museum. It rises directly from the Spree, like the Bodemuseum, with which it is harmonized in scale and proportions. The centre block and the side wings are windowless, given structure by flat giant pilasters and steep pediments.
Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Development of the part of the Spreeinsel now known as the Museumsinsel began when the pleasure garden (Lustgarten) for the Stadtschloß (palace) in the 16th century. However, its present importance began when the Altes Museum was built to the designs of Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1824-28.

A plan to develop the part of the island behind this museum, hitherto used for commercial purposes as a "sanctuary for the arts and sciences," was drawn up in 1841 by the court architect, Friedrich August Stüler, on the orders of Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The first element of this plan to be built was the Neues Museum (1843-47). The next step did not take place until 1866, when the Nationalgalerie, the work of Johann Heinrich Strack, was built.

Another two decades passed before the Kaiser-Friedrich- Museum (now the Bodemuseum) was built in 1897-1904 to the designs of Ernst von Ihne, and Stüler's plan was completed in 1909-30 with the construction of Alfred Messel's Pergamonmuseum..

 

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation