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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.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0



source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


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 The World Heritage Collection
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.


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.


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.