Humboldt Forum opens: A new landmark for Berlin
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Humboldt Forum opens: A new landmark for Berlin
A visitor walks through a light installation at the exibition 'After Nature' at the rebuilt Berlin Palace (Berliner Schloss) which houses the Humboldt Forum during the pre-opening presentation to the press, in Berlin, on July 19, 2021. The museum named after Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt officially opens its doors to the public on July 20, 2021. Ronny Hartmann / AFP.

BERLIN.- The Humboldt Forum, the largest cultural development in Europe and the most ambitious in Germany this century, will open its doors to the public for the first time tomorrow, Tuesday 20 July 2021, with free admission for the first 100 days to the inaugural exhibitions.

From the Palace Cellar to the ground and first floors, visitors are invited to discover presentations on the history of the site and the Humboldt brothers, and to experience the inaugural exhibitions Terrible Beauty. Elephant – Human – Ivory, Have a Seat! An Exhibition for Children, After Nature and BERLIN GLOBAL.

Berlin’s new landmark will be declared officially open at a ceremony scheduled on Tuesday 20 July, which will be attended by Germany’s Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters, Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, and General Director Hartmut Dorgerloh.

The new cultural quarter has been developed over the last decade on a key historic site at the heart of Berlin adjacent to Museum Island at the crossroads connecting the Brandenburg Gate and Alexanderplatz. The Humboldt Forum is conceived as a space that brings together the arts and culture, science, exchange and debate, the first of its kind in Europe. Inspired and informed by the spirit of Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, perhaps Germany’s greatest thinkers on education, culture, science and nature, it is home to four partners who will present a diverse programme of exhibitions, discussions, performances and events, which will bring together different cultures, perspectives and insights into some of the most important issues facing our world today.

The building’s expansive outdoor spaces are already open all day free to enter. On Tuesday 20 July, the first partner projects will be unveiled to the public.

Terrible Beauty: Elephant. Human. Ivory (20 July – 28 November 2021)

A critical examination of the relationship between man and the global trade in ivory. As far back as 40,000 years ago, human beings used tusks to create the oldest known art objects. At the same time, ivory is today synonymous with injustice and violence, slavery and colonial exploitation. The programme – developed in collaboration with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Museum für Naturkunde and the National Museums of Kenya – aims to bring this complex history to life with a special exhibition, education and outreach programmes and artistic events.

Humboldt Lab: After Nature

The Humboldt Lab’s inaugural exhibition After Nature deals with the interdependencies of climate change and the loss of biodiversity and with worldwide challenges to democratic principles of order. The crisis of nature is closely interlinked with societal crises. The liberal model of society, for example, with its promises of progress and prosperity has brought about enormous changes in people-environment systems. The exhibition puts together in the form of a modern cabinet of curiosities an entire range of research approaches to these and other current issues and relates them to positions from the history of science.


Spread over an area of 4,000 square metres, Berlin Global has been developed by and with the communities of Berlin to reflect the true character of the city. This permanent exhibition explores the story of the city through thematic displays incorporating a plethora of music, sounds, installations, art commissions, graphics, photographs and objects, that together create a powerful multi-layered experience. Berlin Global is the first of a new generation of city museums – the first to be about Berlin itself. Saturated with interactive technology, the exhibition will take the public on an exciting cultural journey through the city, with topics ranging from revolution and war to entertainment and fashion.

Impressions: The Humboldt Brothers

The name Humboldt is synonymous worldwide with education and science. Alexander von Humboldt, born in 1769, collected and documented everything he got his hands on — from plants and rocks to animals and human bones. Wilhelm von Humboldt, two years older, was the social scientist, specialising in the philosophy of language, political theory and the philosophy of history. Together, their lives and work have inspired countless publications. Their way of connected thinking, their curiosity and cosmopolitanism are the inspiration for the artistic and scientific programme of the Humboldt Forum. The exhibition Impressions. The Humboldt Brothers highlights their work, the circumstances of their time, and creates links to the principles of the Humboldt Forum.

Have a Seat! (20 July 2021 – 27 March 2022)

When, where, why and how do we sit? How do we express conventions, status or gestures of welcome? And who actually takes which place in groups and societies? This exhibition for children offers our youngest visitors aged three to ten – and their accompanying adults – the space to explore, play and learn about sitting in different cultures.

Three different permanent displays to help the visitor understand the long and fascinating history of the site of the Humboldt Forum will also be open, the Palace Cellar, Sculpture Hall and a video panorama.

Across the summer, an extensive range of programmes will take place – from art installations and projections to guided tours, lectures and discussions to artistic interventions, dance and film. These include an open-air festival with pop-up architecture and concerts in August, and cultural education programmes in the large-scale workshop spaces.

On 22 September 2021, the West Wing of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum) will open, followed by the opening of the East Wing of the museums in the first half of 2022. The museums will feature over 20,000 exhibits from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas on the second and third floors of the Humboldt Forum.

The Humboldt Forum will also feature places to eat, drink and shop, including a contemporary bistro now open daily on the Ground Floor between the Schlüter Courtyard and the Passage, with more dining options to follow.

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