Alles nur geklaut

The center of the Museumsinsel in the heart of Berlin has a colorful past: From 1443 on it was the location of the Berliner Schloss (also named Stadtschloss), the seat of the Electors of Brandenburg, the kings of Prussia and later the German Emperors. It was torn down in 1950 by the government of the GDR and on its grounds the Palast der Republik was built, housing the parliament named Volkskammer. This parliament building then was demolished until 2008 to rebuilt the historic Berliner Schloss, now housing museums and carrying the name Humboldt-Forum. A replica of a historic building worth a visit!

Opened in 2021 the Humboldt-Forum hosts different collections moved to this place, especially the ethnological collections from Berlin-Dahlem. You can visit the city exhibition Berlin Global, the Ethnologisches Museum focusing on America, Africa and Oceania as well as the Museum für Asiatische Kunst. These are all modern and well-designed museums, but especially the ethnological collections have been criticized much: the exhibits have been mostly taken from former colonies and the cultures having created them. One would expect that they’re not simply exhibited; the way how they came into a German museum should be at least explained. They should be returned wherever possible. I couldn’t get a famous German song about stealing out of my mind while walking through the museum.

“Denn das ist alles nur geklaut
Das ist alles gar nicht meines
Das ist alles nur geklaut
Doch das weiß ich nur ganz alleine
Das ist alles nur geklaut und gestohlen, nur gezogen und geraubt
Tschuldigung, das hab’ ich mir erlaubt”

– Die Prinzen

Visiting the ethnologic collections gives you the feeling that returning the items was only aimed for concerning a very small percentage. At least the museum remembers the fact that Germany once had colonies and it especially brings the genocide against the Herero and Nama in todays Namibia to the table. But as Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier clearly stated at the opening ceremony: one would expect more these days. You can reach the Humboldt-Forum easily via the subway stop Museumsinsel, but there are many options to get to this part of Berlin-Mitte. The Humboldt-Forum also offers a roof terrace you can visit; located there is a good restaurant, but there are better viewpoints in the city.

Schloßplatz 1
10178 Berlin

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