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Kulturforum (Cultural Forum)
Kulturforum (Cultural Forum) Review
This unique ensemble of museums, galleries, and the Philharmonic Hall was long in the making. The first designs were submitted in the 1960s and the last building completed in 1998. Now it forms a welcome modern counterpoint to the thoroughly restored Prussian splendor of Museum Island, although Berliners and tourists alike hold drastically differing opinions on the area's architectural aesthetics. Whatever your opinion, Kulturforum's artistic holdings are unparalleled and worth at least a day of your time, if not more.
Gemäldegalerie. The Gemäldegalerie reunites formerly separated collections from East and West Berlin. It's one of Germany's finest art galleries, and has an extensive selection of European paintings from the 13th to 18th century. Seven rooms are reserved for paintings by German masters, among them Dürer, Cranach the Elder, and Holbein. A special collection has works of the Italian masters—Botticelli, Titian, Giotto, Lippi, and Raphael—as well as paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters of the 15th and 16th centuries: Van Eyck, Bosch, Brueghel the Elder, and van der Weyden. The museum also holds the world's second-largest Rembrandt collection. Matthäikirchpl. 4, Tiergarten, Berlin, 10785. 030/2664-24242. www.smb.museum. €8. Tues., Wed., and Fri.-Sun. 10-6; Thurs. 10-10. Potsdamer Platz U-bahn and S-bahn].
Kunstbibliothek. With more than 400,000 volumes on the history of European art, the Kunstbibliothek (art library) is one of Germany's most important institutions on the subject. It contains art posters and advertisements, examples of graphic design and book design, ornamental engravings, prints and drawings, and a costume library. Visitors can view items in the reading rooms, but many samples from the collections are also shown in rotating special exhibitions. Matthäikirchpl. 4, Tiergarten, Berlin, 10785. 030/2664-24242. www.smb.museum. €8. Tues.-Sun. 10-6, Thurs. 10-10; reading room weekdays 9-8.
Kupferstichkabinett. The Kupferstichkabinett has occasional exhibits, which include European woodcuts, engravings, and illustrated books from the 15th century to the present (highlights of its holdings are pen-and-ink drawings by Dürer and drawings by Rembrandt). You can request to see one or two drawings in the study room. Another building displays paintings dating from the late Middle Ages to 1800. Matthäikirchpl. 4, Tiergarten, Berlin, 10785. 030/2664-24242. www.smb.museum. €8. Tues.-Fri. 10-6, weekends 11-6.
Kunstgewerbemuseum. Inside the Kunstgewerbemuseum are European arts and crafts from the Middle Ages to the present. Among the notable exhibits are the Welfenschatz (Welfen Treasure), a collection of 16th-century gold and silver plates from Nürnberg, as well as ceramics and porcelains. Another branch of the museum can be found at Schloss Köpenick, in the town of Köpenick east of Berlin. Herbert-von-Karajan-Str. 10, Tiergarten, Berlin, 10785. 030/266-2902. www.smb.museum. €8. Tues.-Fri. 10-6, weekends 11-6.
Musikinstrumenten-Museum. Across the parking lot from the Philharmonie, the Musikinstrumenten-Museum has a fascinating collection of keyboard, string, wind, and percussion instruments. These are demonstrated during an 11 am tour on Saturday, which closes with a 20-minute Wurlitzer organ concert for an extra €2. Ben-Gurion-Str. 1, Tiergarten, Berlin, 10785. 030/2548-1178. €4. Tues., Wed., and Fri. 9-5; Thurs. 9 am-10 pm; weekends 10-5.
Staatsbibliothek. The Staatsbibliothek is one of the largest libraries in Europe, and was one of the Berlin settings in Wim Wenders's 1987 film Wings of Desire. Potsdamer Str. 33, Berlin, 10785. 030/2660. €10. Weekdays 9-9, Sat. 9-5.
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