German Historical Museum Foundation

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German Historical Museum Foundation
Zeughaus Berlin 2012.jpg
Zeughaus Berlin, Unter den Linden , 2012
place Unter den Linden 2,
10117 Berlin Coordinates: 52 ° 31 '4 "  N , 13 ° 23' 49"  EWorld icon
historical Museum
architect Ieoh Ming Pei ( exhibition building )
Number of visitors (annually) 810,000 (2015)
ISIL DE-MUS-319517

The Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM) is a foundation and a museum for German history in Berlin and sees itself as a place of “education and understanding about the common history of Germans and Europeans”. It is one of the most frequently visited museums in Berlin.

The museum is located in the Armory on Unter den Linden in Berlin and in the adjacent exhibition building by IM Pei .

The museum has the legal form of a foundation under public law supported by the Federal Republic of Germany . The highest body is the representatives of the Federal Government , the German Bundestag and the provincial governments occupied Trustees .

History of the museum

Facade detail of the armory, 2015
Aerial photo, 2005
Extension of the DHM by I. M. Pei , 2009

The museum was founded on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the city of Berlin on October 28, 1987 in the Reichstag building in what was then West Berlin . After the great success of the Prussian exhibition " Prussia - Attempting a Balance Sheet ", which was shown in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in 1981 , the then governing mayor of West Berlin, Richard von Weizsäcker , commissioned four prominent historians - Hartmut Boockmann , Eberhard Jäckel , Hagen Schulze and Michael Stürmer - with the drafting of a memorandum that was available in January 1982 under the title German Historical Museum in Berlin . The project was strongly supported by Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl , who considered the establishment of a German Historical Museum (DHM) in Berlin in his State of the Union speech, which he gave to the German Bundestag on February 27, 1985, as a national task of European importance designated. An expert commission, consisting of 16 leading historians, art historians and museum directors, developed the concept for the museum in 1985/1986 and put it up for discussion in public hearings in 1986. The final version became the basis for the museum's founding. Presenting German history in an international context became the core of the museum's task. Multi-perspective perspectives should enable understanding of the perspective of others in order to reflect on a higher level in the time of the internationalization of everyday life and the globalization of economy and work, history and culture. On September 1, 1986, the Berlin Senate announced that the planned German Historical Museum would be located next to the congress hall . On July 28, 1987, the partnership agreement was signed between the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Berlin to establish the German Historical Museum Society as a provisional sponsor with limited liability.

Originally, the Spreebogen near the Reichstag was supposed to be the location of the museum. In 1988 the Italian architect Aldo Rossi won the architecture competition announced for this purpose . In 1989, however, the fall of the Berlin Wall changed plans: on the day of German reunification on October 3, 1990, the Federal Government transferred the collection and property of the then Museum of German History to the DHM , which the last GDR government had given the director of the DHM had been subordinated. The Zeughaus from 1695 - the oldest building on Unter den Linden - became the seat of the German Historical Museum. In September 1991 the first exhibitions were shown in the armory.

Shortly after it was founded, the collection began to be built up. Since December 1994, the permanent exhibition Pictures and Testimonies of German History with more than 2000 exhibits presented a first cross-section .

Between 1994 and 1998 the facade of the armory was renovated according to historical principles. The armory was closed in 1998 and renovated by the Winfried Brenne architecture firm by 2003. The Zeughaushof, the inner courtyard with the masks by Andreas Schlueter , was given a glass roof again in the course of the new exhibition hall built by the architect Ieoh Ming Pei between 1998 and 2003 . Since 2003 the new building has been open as an exhibition hall for special exhibitions with an area of ​​2700 square meters on four floors. The permanent exhibition of German history in pictures and testimonies in the armory was opened on June 2, 2006 by Chancellor Angela Merkel .

Since December 30, 2008, the DHM has had the legal form of a federal foundation under public law . It is also the sponsor of the Escape, Expulsion, Reconciliation Foundation established in 2009 to set up a memorial and documentation center on flight and expulsion.


General Directors of the Museum or Presidents of the Foundation:


Permanent exhibition

The permanent exhibition “German History in Pictures and Testimonies” can be seen on 8000 square meters in the Zeughaus. More than 7000 historical exhibits convey eventful and exciting German history from the Middle Ages to the end of the 20th century in an international context.

Special exhibitions


The four floors of I. M. Pei's exhibition hall are mainly used for the museum's special exhibitions.

  • January 26th to April 3rd, 2016: Art from the Holocaust. 100 works from the Yad Vashem Memorial .
  • until May 14, 2017: German colonialism. Fragments of a past and present . Catalog.
  • 12 April to 5 November 2017: The Luther effect (shown in the Martin-Gropius Bau )
  • June 23 to October 31, 2017: The invention of press photography. From the Ullstein Collection 1894–1945
  • October 18, 2017 to April 15, 2018: 1917th Revolution. Russia and Europe (in cooperation with the Swiss National Museum )
  • March 23 to November 4, 2018: Save. History of a German virtue
  • June 13, 2018 to January 6, 2019: Europe and the sea
  • November 21, 2019 to April 19, 2020: Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt

Collection areas

(As of December 2016)

Everyday culture with the following sub-areas
Badges, everyday history, agriculture, politics, religiosa, toys, technical and medical history, sound carriers, civilian clothing and textiles: approx. 130,000 objects
Manuscripts - old and valuable prints
approx. 35,000 objects
Applied art and graphics
Applied arts, sculptures up to 1900, graphics: approx.10,300 objects
Posters, photo collection, image archive, postcards: approx. 300,000 objects
Historical primary sources and documents from the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the First World War (9th century to 1914), documents from 1900, numismatics : approx. 284,000 objects
Film archive
approx. 900 objects
Paintings up to 1900, paintings and sculptures from 1900: approx. 3,680 objects
Old weapons and armor, military equipment, uniforms, flags, medals and decorations, militaria graphics: approx. 30,000 objects

movie theater

The Zeughauskino with its 165 seats is an integral part of the German Historical Museum and is located in the Zeughaus. Its primary goals combine historical and film-historical issues into a program that, in addition to the series accompanying the exhibition, is primarily characterized by thematic retrospectives.


The special scientific library on German and general history as well as on museums has around 250,000 volumes, including 13,000 rare books , 40,000 volumes of magazines and newspapers, 5,000 volumes of militaria and 15,000 museum catalogs. The public reference library is located in the administration building of the museum behind the armory, which from 1899 to 1945 belonged to the Prussian Central-Genossenschaftskasse and later to the GDR state enterprise Minol .

Internet presence

Online database (GOS) and picture archive

The museum provides the most comprehensive object database of all museums in Germany for online research. The database is updated weekly. All of the museum's collections are documented in it. The database currently contains information on over 600,000 objects and provides a digital photo for around 70 percent of these objects.

Reproduction rights for commercial and non-commercial uses are administered by the DHM image archive, which calculates usage fees customary in the industry.

Living Museum Online

The German Historical Museum Foundation is a cooperation partner of the online portal Lebendiges Museum Online .


  • Christoph Stölzl : German Historical Museum. Ideas - controversies - perspectives. Frankfurt am Main / Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-549-06682-1 .
  • German Historical Museum Berlin. Aldo Rossi's draft in the structure of cultural forms , ISBN 3-421-03004-9 .
  • Mathias Wallner, Heike Werner: Architecture and History in Germany. Pp. 162-163, Werner, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-9809471-1-4 .
  • Jürgen Kocka : A chronological tapeworm. The permanent exhibition of the German Historical Museum . In: History and Society, Volume 32/2006. Pp. 398-411.
  • Ulrike Kretzschmar (ed.): The Berlin armory. From the arsenal to the German Historical Museum. The Berlin Armory. From the Arsenal to the German Historical Museum . Munich / Berlin / London / New York, Prestel Verlag 2006. 112 p., Numerous. color illus., ISBN 3-7913-3356-9 .
  • Moritz Mälzer: Nation exhibition. The debate about the establishment of the German Historical Museum in Berlin. (= History Discussion Group, 59), Bonn 2005.
  • Heinrich Müller, Hartmut Kölling: European cutting and stabbing weapons. from the collection of the Museum for German History Berlin, Military Publishing House of the German Democratic Republic 1981, 2nd edition 1982, 448 p., numer. color and b / w illustrations, photographed by Gerd Platow, order number : 746 245 6, only available as an antiquarian (deals with the holdings of the previous museum)
  • Ruth Rosenberger: New LeMO. The online portal on German history . In: Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany: museumsmagazin, vol. 3/2014, pp. 20-26. Available online .

Film documentaries

Web links

Commons : German Historical Museum  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Deutsches Historisches Museum increases visitor numbers again , press release from December 30, 2015
  2. a b Andrea Fußstetter, Jörg Frieß, Mirko Wiermann (Red.): The Foundation and its committees on the page , accessed on March 15, 2017
  3. The Foundation and its committees. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  4. ^ German Historical Museum. Ideas - controversies - perspectives. Edited by Christoph Stölzl. Frankfurt / Berlin 1988, p. 641.
  5. Current exhibitions
  6. At the end there was a hat from the red tide . In: FAZ , October 19, 2017, p. 9
  7. ^ The collections of the German Historical Museum, website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on December 7, 2016
  8. ^ Collections of applied arts and graphics , website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on March 16, 2018
  9. ^ Collections of applied arts and graphics, website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on December 7, 2016
  10. ^ Collections picture, website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on March 15, 2017
  11. ^ Collections of documents, website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on March 15, 2017
  12. ^ Filmarchiv, website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on December 7, 2016
  13. ^ Collections of Art, website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on December 7, 2016
  14. ^ Collections Militaria, website of the German Historical Museum, accessed on March 15, 2017
  15. Building on the past - IM Pei and the royal armory in the Internet Movie Database .