The DDR Museum – Berlin
The DDR Museum building on the Spree river embankment in central Berlin.
The DDR Museum in Berlin is a private museum that presents the 51-year-long history of East Germany, also known as the German Democratic Republic (German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or DDR).
Opened in 2006, the museum is located in the Mitte borough of Berlin and overlooks the Spree river just opposite the city’s Cathedral; with 585,000 yearly visitors, it is the 9th most popular museum of the city, according to official data from the Berlin Government.
The main purpose of the museum is to depict life in the former DDR through artifacts, audiovisuals, and interactive exhibits, trying to find a “balance” between the so-called Ostalgia (namely, the nostalgia for the old German Democratic Republic) and historical correctness.
The 1000-square-meter permanent exhibition of the museum, divided into 47 thematic areas, presents several aspects of the history of East Germany from 1949 until its collapse in 1990.
While some parts of the exhibition focus on political issues (such as the blameworthy activities of the Stasi police, the intrusive influence of the Communist Party propaganda in every aspect of the society, and the history of the Berlin Wall and its infamous “death strip”), most of the exhibition is dedicated to the private life of the East Germans, including a fully-furnished reconstruction of a typical East Berlin apartment during the DDR period, a Trabant 601 (one the most popular automobiles in the Eastern Block from the early-1960s to the late-1980s) converted into a driving simulator, and a selection of artifacts from the 300.000-piece collection of the museum.
The DDR Museum Berlin, the reconstruction of a typical East Germany apartment of the 1970s.
Overall, the approach of the exhibition to the themes presented is a bit simplistic, from a historical point of view; yet, the DDR Museum largely succeeds in informing people – especially the youngsters, who didn’t experience it directly – about East Germans’ private life during the communist era.
The Trabant 601 driving simulator
The model of the Berlin Wall and its “death strip”.
Views of the permanent exhibition gallery and the library at the DDR Museum Berlin.
Cover picture: a reconstruction of a Stasi (East Germany’s secret police) office at the DDR Museum in Berlin.
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copyright Inexhibit 2019 - ISSN: 2283-5474