Berlin is not only one of Europe's most historically significant capital cities, it's also one of the greenest with 44% of the city dedicated to parks and recreational areas. School trips to Berlin will be visiting a city has seen serious political upheaval and events throughout history, the building and demolition of the Berlin Wall are widely considered to be symbols of both the beginning and the end of the Cold War.
The beginnings of the city were founded in the 13th century when it was initially the capital of Prussia and the capital of the German Empire in 1871. In modern times Berlin has been a leader in commerce, science and medicine. Today Berlin and Germany are viewed as financial and political powerhouses.
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The Bauhaus Archive is the world's leading collection on the Bauhaus School, the remarkable art school that produced famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, and innovated much of the architecture, art and design that grew so popular throughout the early 1900's. The school itself was forced to close under pressure from the Nazi's in 1933, however the legacy of its work lives on in Berlin's fascinating Archive.
The museum features an extensive collection of architectural plans, models, photographs, documents, teaching materials and workshop models, as well as regular exhibits celebrating the work of the Bauhaus School's acclaimed artists.
The Berlin Wall Memorial is a preserved section of the dividing wall between East and West Germany in Benauer Strasse. Here, the wall was close enough to apartment blocks that the Ossies (East Berliners) could attempt to jump over it - and they often did with the assistance of the West Berlin fire department, with several injuries and the first fatalities of the near 30-year segregation.
The memorial features several exhibits exploring the remarkable escapes, protests and eventual pulling-down of the wall in this historic area of resistance against the German Democratic Republic. As well as an open-air exhibition on the former border strip.
The Berlinische Galerie is the German capital's foremost museum of modern art, photography and architecture, set in a large former industrial hall with a remarkable 4,600 square metres of exhibition space. The museum's collection of works includes some of the nation's finest examples of fine art, prints, drawings, photography and architecture. Featuring notable works from the Berlin Secession and a notable graphic art collection of around 15,000 works.
The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions and events, highlighting the different movements that have both reflected and shaped Berlin throughout the modern era.
One of Berlin's most famous and recognisable landmarks, the Brandenburg Gate has stood for over 200 years and is one of the world's pre-eminent examples of German neoclassical architecture. First built as a symbol of peace, the gate became a monument of national division throughout the separation of East and West Berlin in the mid 1900's.
As such, the Brandenburg Gate has taken on immense historical and political significance; It was here that Ronald Regan delivered his iconic "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" speech, and former German President von Weizsacker dictated that "The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed".
The Checkpoint Charlie Museum (or the Mauer Museum) was founded by human rights activist Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt as a two-and-a-half room exhibition about the Berlin Wall in 1962. Half a century later, and the museum is more popular than ever, welcoming nearly one million visitors every year.
Covering an area of more than 2000 square metres, the museum has an intriguing collection of objects used to try and escape through, under and over the Berlin Wall. These include escape cars, hot air balloons, home-built mini submarines and surfboards. The museum also showcases passive protests against segregation, including original works from East and West German artists.
Berlin's East Side Gallery is the longest open air gallery in the world, stretching out over 1,316 metres of the Berlin Wall. The gallery is globally recognised as an International Monument for Freedom, featuring 101 works from German artists painted directly on to the wall, celebrating the end of East and West Germany's division in 1989.
The East Side Gallery welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year, and while many of the pieces have required re-painting since the gallery was founded in 1990, it remains the only living monument to the reunification of Germany.
Commonly thought of as the most important museum in Berlin, the German Historical Museum documents around 1,500 years of national history through thousands of remarkable objects and artefacts. The main exhibition details the changing boundaries of Germany and Europe, the shifts in German language and the effects of national politics throughout history.
Students will also be able to explore exhibits covering the outbreak of the First World War, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi regime and post-war Germany from 1949 to the reunification in 1990. Guided tours are available.
Berlin's German Museum of Technology features an extensive collection of scientific artefacts and exhibits for visitors to explore, including exhibitions on film technology, photography, aerospace, navigation, writing, printing, chemical production and the developing digital world. No fewer than 6 locomotives are on display, while one gallery showcases a V-1 flying bomb built by concentration camp workers at Mittelwerk.
The museum also offers visitors expert-led tours of its multimedia displays, as well as special events to bring science and technology to life before the eyes of the watching audience.
Berlin's Jewish Museum is one of the largest museums of its kind in Europe, housing an extensive collection of historical artefacts including 10,500 works of art, 1,500 religious objects, 4,500 material objects, 24,000 photographs and more than 1,700 archive collections.
The museum covers two millennia of German Jewish history, stretching from the first Medieval settlements on the banks of the Rhine, to the Jewish soldiers fighting through World War One and the perseverance of the Jewish people throughout the Shoah. Visitors can also experience several art installations.
Set in the centre of Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a 19,000-square metre Holocaust memorial designed by renowned US architect Peter Eisenman. The 4.7-acre outdoor site features 2,711 stone stelae in an uneven grid pattern, creating a different visual effect depending on which direction visitors walk.
Beneath the Field of Stelae is an underground information centre, including several exhibits highlighting the causes, effects and experiences of the Nazi "Final Solution". While the Room of Names memorialises the victims, and serves to challenge the immeasurable task of discovering the identities of millions of people yet to be acknowledged.
Berlin's Olympic Stadium was originally built over 80 years ago, by Werner March, and remains at the heart of the city's sporting culture today as the home of Hertha BSC and Germany's national football teams. Renovated in 2006 for the FIFA World Cup, the stadium holds a maximum capacity of 74,475 and is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious sporting venues in Europe, having hosted a World Cup final, as well as the finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Tours of the stadium will typically see students exploring the VIP areas, changing rooms and underground training hall before standing pitch side on the iconic blue running track.
Set on Berlin's famous "Museum Island", the Pergamon Museum houses a selection of ancient architecture collected from all over the continent, as well as a fine collection of 270,000 objects from the Near East as well as galleries detailing the vast history of Islamic art.
Highlights of the Pergamon's fascinating architectural collection include the Market Gate of Miletus (dating back to the 2nd century AD), the Ishtar Gate excavated from the ruins of Babylon, and the iconic Pergamon Altar, a vast ancient Greek structure built during the reign of King Eumenes II.
Sachenhausen Museum is a memorial to the 30,000 men and women murdered by the Nazi's in Sachenhausen Concentration Camp, one of the first camps developed by the SS in 1936. Visitors can witness the camp's original buildings, including watchtowers, prison barracks, jail cells, kitchens and medical barracks, housing modern multi-media exhibitions depicting life within the camp's confines.
During guided tours of the memorial groups may pay their respects, discover more about the daily lives of prisoners in the camp, and how Sachenhausen served as a terrible prototype for future concentration camps.
Housed on the site of the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) Ministry for State Security, Berlin's Stasi Museum serves as both a memorial and an active research centre on the effects of Stalinism on East Germany during the post-war years.
Students will be able to enjoy a unique insight into the day-to-day operations of the GDR as they step into the remarkably well preserved offices of Erich Mielke, the former head of the Stasi. While other exhibitions show the decline and the eventual abolition of state security after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This fascinating interactive museum brings the diverse history of Berlin to life through multimedia exhibitions in 23 unique, themed rooms. Students will have the chance to explore an authentic nuclear bomb shelter beneath the Kurfürstendamm in guided tours of the museum's remarkable Cold War exhibit, which can still be used by 3,600 people in the unlikely event of a nuclear detonation today.
The Story of Berlin welcomes a quarter of a million visitors each year to enjoy these specially designed sets and exhibitions, including the Time Tunnel documenting life in the city from its formation to the roaring twenties as well as The Divided City, containing real segments of the Berlin Wall.
Constructed by the GDR (German Democratic Republic) in the 1960's, Berlin's iconic TV Tower is one of Europe's best-preserved examples of socialist architecture; Its giant sphere was intended to resemble the Soviet sputnik, and was to light up red (the colour of Soviet socialism) after dark.
To this day, the tower offers one of the finest 360 degree views of the Berlin city skyline, and at 368 metres high, it is the structure in Germany and only the second tallest structure in Europe by just half a metre. Guided tours will take students up to the observation deck, with a chance to stop in the panoramic bar and restaurant.
Berlin has been at the heart of many major European and world political events. Notably the fall of the Berlin wall was seen as a turning point of the Cold War, however Berlin has also given a lot to art, science, cinema, industry. The city has more bridges than Venice and an incredible 180 museums and art galleries to explore. There is a very high standard of accommodation for school tours to Berlin with hostels in particular being of an excellent standard.
Berlin Facts - Did you know...
Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris
Europe’s first traffic lights were erected in Potsdamer Platz in 1924
Berlin is home to 180 museums
The East Side Gallery is the longest open air gallery in the world, 1.3 km
44% of Berlin is covered in parks and recreational sites
It is the same latitude as London
It’s against the law to use a drill on Sundays
Places to go, people to meet...
Great Berlin Locations
German Museum of Technology
East Side Gallery
Berlin Zoological Garden
Famous Berlin Residents
Alexander von Humboldt
Kevin Prince Boateng
Kaiser Wilhelm II
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