What is Berlin without its museums?

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Visitors to the city may have to look for other attractions, as a slew of cultural spaces close for renovation

By Julia Michalska. Web only
Published online: 13 March 2014

Culture-hungry crowds will have to go elsewhere in the city when the Berlinische Galerie closes its doors from 1 July to March 2015

Visitors to Berlin may have to settle for the capital’s less high-minded attractions, as a slew of its public museums are due to close for renovation in the coming months. The Berlinische Galerie, a museum for Modern art, photography and architecture in Kreuzberg, announced this month that it will be closing its doors from 1 July to March 2015. The reason for the closure is the museum’s sprinkler system, which protects the space from fire and was found to be faulty during a routine inspection last year. The museum will reopen in time for its 40th anniversary.

A significantly longer facelift will take place at the Neue Nationalgalerie near Potsdamer Platz. The renovation of the iconic Mies van der Rohe-designed building is scheduled to last three years from January 2015 and will be overseen by the British architect David Chipperfield. The museum has long been criticised for being too small to accommodate the city’s growing collection of Modern art and plans are underway to build a new space for it nearby. Meanwhile, the Breggruen Collection, another space for viewing Modern art in the city, closed its new extension in October last year after a mould infestation was discovered in its roof. The restoration is expected to last a year.

Perhaps the biggest blow to Berlin’s cultural tourism industry, however, will be the five-year closure of the hall containing the Pergamon Altar in the Pergamon Museum, one of the city’s most visited attractions. It will close on 29 September this year until 2019. The museum, which was initially built to house the ancient Hellenic altar, has been undergoing staggered renovation work since 2013.

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