KLM Travel Guide

Museumsinsel: a treasure island filled with art from around the world

One of the islands in the Spree river is home to so much world-renowned art that UNESCO has placed it on the World Heritage list. According to the UN cultural commission, ‘the unique collection of buildings illustrates more than a century of modern museum design’. It began in the 16th century with the pleasure garden near the city castle, and now Museum Island is home to 5 of the world's most prestigious museums.

Arts & Culture
Nefertiti, showpiece of the Neues Museum

Nefertiti, showpiece of the Neues Museum

‘The most beautiful woman in Berlin'

Forget Marlene Dietrich or Hildegard Knef: the most beautiful woman in Berlin is Queen Nefertiti. Together with Pharaoh Akhenaten, she ruled Egypt in the 14th century BC. Her limestone bust is more than 3,000 years old and has been buried for most of that time. Except for some minor damage, Nefertiti has been completely preserved. In 1912 she was excavated by a German archaeologist at the site where the studio of royal sculptor Tutmoses once stood. Now she can be admired in the Neues Museum.

‘Der Mönch am Meer’ by Caspar David Friedrich

‘Der Mönch am Meer’ by Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich’s monk

Dressed in a fluttering robe, Caspar David Friedrich’s lonely monk stands by the sea. The ‘painter of silence’ has become famous for his romantic landscapes. However, only a few of his works can actually be seen in Germany. In his work entitled 'Monk by the Sea', Friedrich depicts man, as usual seen from behind, dwarfed by the grandeur of nature. The bright sky, the empty beach and desolate sea are overwhelming. The painting is on display in the Alte Nationalgalerie, together with the ‘Abbey in the Oak Forest’.

The Pergamonmuseum

The Pergamonmuseum

A Greek temple in Berlin

An ancient and ornately decorated city gate from Babylon, a colourful 15th-century state room from Aleppo, a huge market gate from Miletus – with such a collection it's no wonder that the Pergamonmuseum is Germany’s most visited museum. The showpiece is the Pergamon Altar, a Greek temple from the 2nd century BC, adorned with a 113 metre long frieze with images of gods and giants. The enormous altar was excavated in 1878 by a German archaeologist in what is now Turkey, shipped to Berlin and reconstructed. The Pergamonmuseum was later built around the altar.

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