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School Trips to Berlin
Berlin manages to encapsulate all that is modern about Europe, whilst not forgetting its turbulent past. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Berlin has undergone a building boom, and has truly shed the ills of the past to establish itself as a funky, dynamic and creative city. Nowadays, people look to Berlin for the latest trends in lifestyle, music and art as well as taking the lead in the political and economic sphere of the EU.
For students of 20th Century History, Berlin has played a key part in the events of the time and the scars are often still visible; visits include the Brandenburg Gate and the Wannsee Conference Memorial House where the plans for the Final Solution were drawn up.
For Art & Design students The Bauhaus-Archiv Museum of Design and a visit to the East Side Galley, which has approximately 106 paintings by artists all over the world and stretches for 1.3km on the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall, is a must.
Berlin is a world class city of culture, politics, media and science and therefore students of any discipline will find visits and experiences to enhance their learning and ensure they have an experience they'll never forget.
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Reasons to Visit
Berlin TV Tower
Do you want to discover Berlin 360°? Then you’re in just the right place at the TV tower. From 203 and 207 metres high you can look out over the entire city with its large number of tourist attractions: you can see the Reichstag (Parliament building), the Brandenburg Gate and the Main Railway Station from here, as well as the Olympic Stadium, the Museum Island (Museumsinsel) and the Potsdam Square (Potsdamer Platz).
Spree River Cruise
A cruise along the River Spree flows through old and new Berlin. The Historical tour: a one hour round trip, highlights include Palace of Republic, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island and the Reichstag.
The fastest elevator in Europe takes you to the Panoramapunkt viewing platform at Potsdamer Platz 1. From a height of 100 metres, there is an excellent view over the east and west of Berlin. No other viewing point in Berlin offers such as a fascinating view over the entire city, as well as a view of German history. The Panoramapunkt on the top of the Kollhoff-Tower is located directly on the line of the former Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz.
The Cathedral of Berlin is the largest church in the city, and it serves as a vital centre for the Protestant church of Germany. Reaching out well beyond the borders of the parish and of Berlin, the cathedral attracts thousands of visitors, year after year, from Germany and abroad.
The Berlin Zoological Garden is the oldest and internationally most well-known zoo in Germany. Opened in 1844 it comprises an area of 35 hectares and is located in Tiergarten, Berlin centre. With almost 1400 different species and around 14,000 animals the zoo presents the most comprehensive collection of species in the world.
Berlin Film Museum
This museum has an excellent documentation of the history of German cinema from 1895 to 1980. Contained in the elegant former Marstall (royal stables) it has rooms full of famous props, costumes, set-designs and projection screens.
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin, and the only surviving royal residence in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. The palace was badly damaged during the second world war but has since been reconstructed. The palace and its gardens are a major tourist attraction.
East Side Gallery
Painted in 1990, it is the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall at 1.3km long. Approximately 106 paintings by artists from all over the world cover the east side of this memorial for freedom and make it the largest open air gallery in the world.
The Brandenburg Gate stands as a symbol of both the city's tumultuous past and the present unity. Formerly used to represent the separation of the city between East and West Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate now represents the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent rejoining of the East and West sides of the city.
It was here that the process of sealing off the eastern half of the city began in the early hours of August 13,1961. But it was here, too, that the end of Germany's division was heralded 28 years later. The gate was in construction from 1788 to 1791 according to the plans of Carl Gotthard Langhans. The construction was modelled on the Propylaeum of Athens’ Acropolis. The Brandenburg Gate is a beautiful architectural and historical sight in Berlin, symbolising over two hundred years of history, and is an iconic landmark for students to visit and experience.
Once a dormant wasteland where the Berlin Wall stood, Potsdamer Platz is the new downtown centre of Berlin with city apartments, shopping, leisure and restaurant facilities. Not strictly a square, the area has both an American plaza feel provided by The Sony Centre and that of a tree-lined European capital, the result is a lively buzzing atmosphere your students will love.
"Story of Berlin" Scavenger Hunt
Especially designed for school groups who want to explore independently, there is a workbook and questionnaire which students have to work on during their tour through the exhibition. These can be downloaded from their website in advance of your visit.
Wallmuseum Haus - Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie was the best known border-crossing of Cold War days. The spot remains a must see sight in Berlin with huge historical and emotional resonance. The Museum, contains the best documentation available on the many escape attempts from East to West. The original Checkpoint sign, a symbol of the division, is still exhibited here.
Hamburger Bahnhof (Museum of Contemporary Art)
This museum, housed in a former railway station, presides over a comprehensive collection of contemporary art. It has various temporary exhibits and retrospectives while the permanent exhibition comes from the Marx Collection. This includes works by Andy Warhol and many others.
Bauhaus-Archiv Museum of Design
Bauhaus is one of the most important schools of architecture, design and art of the 20th century, and its products have maintained their influence on design up to the present day. Housed in a building designed by this movement’s founder, the museum traces its history and also boasts the most complete Bauhaus collection.
Tour of the Olympic Stadium
The site's conception is characteristic of the architecture of the Third Reich, and the Olympic Stadium remains typical of this style. Today, it hosts major events and concerts featuring international stars.
See how the world-renowned table services, gifts and accessories come into existence from the initial design idea to the finished work of art. The KPM tour with its historic buildings offers an inspiring exhibition of Berlin´s royal porcelain and a workshop where your students can catch a glimpse of traditional porcelain making.
Graffiti Street Tour & Workshop
Take to Berlin’s streets and discover some of the latest and greatest examples of street art, graffiti and mural art in this famous capital of urban art. On your tour you’ll take a detailed look at over 50 local and international artists on the streets and in the studios of local artists. Your guide will be a street artist and they will show you some of the best stencil art, throw ups, mural art, paste ups, tagging, adbusting, heaven spots, burners and installations, while teaching your students who is behind the art and what their motivations are.
You’ll then get to take part in a workshop where you’ll receive instructions on various street art and graffiti techniques from both local and international artists. Pupils will then get to make their very own piece to take home with them.
The Alte National Gallery
The Old National Gallery houses one of the largest collections of 19th century sculptures and paintings. Highlights of the Sculpture Collection include the famous "Two Princesses", a statue depicting Princesses Luise and Friederike. The exhibition also features impressionist masterpieces by Manet, Renoir, Cézanne and Rodin.
This museum bears the name of its founder Karl H. Brohan who donated his private collection to the city of Berlin on his 60th birthday. It specialises in Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Functionalism (1889-1939). The collection has two areas of primary interest: decorative arts and painting. It also houses a collection of porcelain as well as pieces of metal work.
Babelsberg Film Studios
Berlin's film studios are older than Hollywood. Visitors are given generous access to film sets and to watch current soap opera or TV films being recorded. The guided tour offers an insight into film making and special effects and includes a shuttle drive through Media City Babelsberg, a screening at the Action Cinema and a tour of one of the Filmpark exhibitions.
German Resistance Memorial Centre
The German Resistance Memorial Centre is a site of remembrance, political studies, active learning, documentation and research. The Centre’s goal is to show how individual persons and groups took action against the National Socialist Dictatorship from 1933 to 1945. The centre of the memorial is an honorary courtyard where resistance fighters were executed on 20th June 1944. The memorial and education centre opened on 20th July 1968, along with a permanent exhibition about German resistance to National Socialism.
Museum of Decorative Arts
The museum contains a collection of European arts and crafts from the Middle Ages until the present day: silk material and costumes, tapestries, room panelling and furniture, glass, enamel, and porcelain receptacles as well as gold and silversmith work.
One of the world’s largest archaeological museums the Pergamon should not be missed. One of the museum’s highlights is the stunning original frieze of the Pergamon Altar depicting the epic battle between the gods and giants, which is one of the greatest artistic legacies of classical antiquity.
Berlin Wall Panorama by Asisi
The Panorama offers a visualisation of how mundane, and at the same time how gruesome, living in the shadow of the Wall was. Viewed from a 4-metre-high platform you are immersed in scenes and stories of people going about their everyday lives in the divided Berlin of the 1980s. In an accompanying photo exhibition, private photographs from witnesses of those times showing everyday life with the Wall and scenes from the time when the Wall fell provide a fascinating documentary insight.
The Käthe Kollwitz Museum, which opened in 1986, presents the work of Käthe Kollwitz on four stories. Käthe Kollwitz was born in Königsberg in 1867 and died in Moritzburg near Dresden in 1945 after living and working in Berlin for more than 50 years.
Museum of Prints and Drawings
It is recognised as one of the world’s finest collections of graphic art with 110,000 drawings and about 550,000 prints, including works by great artists ranging from Botticelli and Dürer to Picasso and Beuys.
BMW Motorcycle Plant
Visit BMW’s motorcycle plant for a tour of this modern production facility which builds premium brand motorbikes. As well as seeing the production process, there will be the opportunity to ask questions from the experts. The production areas that can be visited vary depending on the internal production requirements.
Volkswagen Autostadt Wolfsburg
Autostadt is a factory on an epic scale, a 28 hectare showcase for the Volkswagen group brands including VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley and Lamborghini. The Volkswagen factory, prides itself on being the largest auto plant in the world which is 96% automated by robots. Take a tour of the factory followed by the stunning glass towers where cars are stored before collection. Autostadt is a theme park dedicated to the automobile and offers everything car enthusiasts of all ages dream about. Explore the special pavilions, housing exhibitions focusing on sustainability and other themes, or stroll through the beautiful park and lagoon landscape. A coach is required to reach Wolfsburg.
Museum of Communication
Discover storage media past and present, secret and manipulated messages or revolutionary inventions from Berlin and the rest of the world. Interactive workshops and tours for young people are available to explore the many diverse and exciting facets of communication.
German Historical Museum
The German Historical Museum which covers eight different periods and 2000 years of German history. The Museum is located in two architecturally stunning buildings: the Zeughaus (Armoury) is the most important preserved Baroque building in Berlin, and I.M. Pei designed a highly modern building immediately behind it. There are over 7,000 unique pieces which bring the past to life and illustrate events using multimedia stations and educational offerings.
Guided tours focus on any one of 8 different periods from the museum's permanent collection covering 1500 years of German history. Periods include: 1918-1933 Weimar Republic; 1933-1945 NS Regime & WWII;1945-1949 Germany under Allied Occupation; 1949-1994 Divided Germany & Reunification.
Berlin Bunker Tours - 1918-1945
Berlins’s ‘Unterwelten’ Museum exposes the ‘underworld’ of Berlin, which below street level is riddled with holes. The exhibition is informative about the history of this subterranean viewpoint, the bunker systems in Berlins subway system, recovered bombs and ammunition stores along with many other uncovered secret elements of the tunnels.
A pre-booked 1.5 hour guided tour is available called Dark Worlds where you will experience WW2 bombing raids through the eyes of civilians.
Topography of Terror
Where the headquarters of the dreaded Gestapo once stood is the ‘Topography of Terror’ exhibition which documents the history of the institution's terror. A second permanent exhibition focuses on the role Berlin plated as the capital of the ‘Third Reich”.
Between 1933 and 1945 the centres of national-socialist terror namely the Gestapo were located on this site which included a prison, the SS headquarters, the SS Security Service (SD) and the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Main Office of State Security).
The Topography of Terror is one of the most frequented memorial sites and museums in Berlin. The main exhibition and the tours of the grounds or the trenches are available for schools and give a fantastic historical insight into this time.
German Museum of Technology
The Deutsches Technikmuseum is a museum of science and technology and is the place to find out about the history and science behind the appliances and things we use every day. The museum presents a broad spectrum of old and new technology including science topics; The chemical pharmaceutical industry as exemplified by Schering, Power Engineering, Aerospace, Sugars and Beyond! Food – Matter – Energy
Wannsee Conference Memorial House
This villa is where the grisly plans for the Final Solution were drawn up. On January 20th 1942, a meeting of the high officials from the Nazi Ministries and the SS was held in Minoux Villa by the Wannsee waterside. This meeting, under the direction of SS Obergruppenführer (SS rank equivalent to full General) Reinhard Heidrich, consisted of organising the deportation and murder (Final Solution) of European Jews in the occupied areas of Poland and Eastern Europe.
A memorial site opened following the 50th anniversary of the conference in 1992. On display is the permanent exhibition “Die Wannsee-Konferenz und der Völkermord an den euripäischen Juden” (The Wannsee Conference and the Genocide of the European Jews). There are also changing exhibitions on the subject of the Holocaust as well as a library.
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
The two remaining barracks of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp now stand as a museum, a memorial hall and cinema where a film about the history of the camp is shown hourly. It is estimated that 30-35,000 victims died at Sachsenhausen however, some put the estimate higher.
Prisoners from the Emsland Camps built the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in the summer of 1936. This camp was the first to be established following Heinrich Himmler’s appointment as Chief of the German Police in 1936.
The concentration camp has been preserved a living memory to the events that happened there, holding significant importance for its proximity to central Berlin in comparison to the camps that followed it.
Berlin Life Science Learning Lab
Courses which run for approximately 3.5 hours twice a day allow students to work in a lab performing experiments such as extracting the DNA from a tomato.
DDR Museum Tour
The DDR Museum is one of the most visited museums in Berlin. With good reason: the museum deals exclusively with life in the former German Democratic Republic, the permanent exhibition is all about interaction with its motto being ‘history to touch and feel’ with visitors entering 1:20 scale model of a typical GDR prefabricated high-rise estate.
Information and exhibits are stowed away and hidden in drawers, closets and behind doors. The kitchen even still has the cooking smells of the time. It is the only museum, which concentrates on everyday life in the DDR and one of the most interactive museums in the world making it a fantastic learning experience for students.
Spree River Cruise
A cruise along the River Spree flows through old and new Berlin and is a great way to see the city from a different angle. The Historical Tour is a one hour round trip; highlights include Palace of Republic, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island and the Reichstag.
The Olympic Stadium holds significant importance in German history. The 1936 Summer Olympics that were known as Hitler’s Games were held here and used as a status symbol to demonstrate the power and athleticism of the German people. The stadium was built to eclipse the Los Angeles games of 1932, with Germany building a new 100,000-seater track and field stadium.
To really capture the momentous occasion, a closed-circuit television system and radio network with the filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, a favourite of Adolf Hitler, was commissioned to film the games for $7 million. Leni Riefenstahl created the film Olympia; the method of filming used for the film has led to the discovery and pioneering techniques now common in the filming of sports.
The stadium is still located in the same place, although it has been modernised and most recently, it hosted the 2009 World Athletics Championships. The Olympic Stadium is a great historical attraction as it is historically and architecturally important to the third Reich era of German history during Hitler’s time in power.
Here you can see the guided tour options available at the stadium.
The Funkturm, known colloquially as "langer Lulatsch" ("lanky lad"), offers a wonderful panorama over Berlin. The total height of the filigreed construction is 150 m; there is a restaurant at 55 m, and a viewing platform at 126 m. By day, it offers a panoramic view over the city's houses, the Grunewald forest and the surrounding lakes; by night, visitors can marvel at a city awash in a glittering sea of lights.
Jewish Museum Berlin
In its permanent exhibition, The Jewish Museum Berlin, opened in 2001, presents the history of Jewish life in Germany from the middle ages until the present. The museum is also quite possibly one of the most exciting examples of contemporary architecture in Berlin. It has been designed and built to resemble a shattered Star of David.
In addition to the exhibition rooms, the interior contains the windowless Holocaust Tower. There are several other exhibits to see on the grounds with tours being available which give great insight into Jewish history.
Berlin Wall Memorial & Documentation Centre
The Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Centre contains the last piece of the Berlin Wall preserved within its original grounds at Bernauer Strasse, an area situated at the border between East and West and hence a focal point of German post-war history. The facility shows how the border facilities were constructed and imparts to the visitors a lasting impression of the construction that had at one time completely divided a nation. The viewable exhibit in the Documentation Centre shows the 1961 history of the Wall’s construction and the Circumstances of the divided city.
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
Checkpoint Charlie was the best-known border crossing of the division of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum shows a comprehensive range of objects and tools people used in their escape out from East Germany: from hot-air balloons, Trabants and even a chairlift. The spot remains a must-see sight in Berlin with huge historical and emotional resonance. The museum contains the best documentation available on many escape attempts from East to West. The original Checkpoint sign, a symbol of the division, is still exhibited here.
The Stasi were the intelligence force of East Germany and the equivalent of the KGB. The Stasi museum is located in House 1 on the former grounds of the headquarters of the GDR Ministry for State Security (MfS). The building was erected in 1960-61 as the offices of Erich Mielke, who served as Minister for State Security from 1957 until the end of the GDR.
Demonstrators stormed the building on 15th January 1990 and took over the Stasi headquarters. Following this, the GDR regime ended. The Stasi has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies to have ever existed. Exhibits on display include the Stasi’s old offices and a variety of bugging devices used to spy on ordinary citizens.
The prison was established by the Soviets as a detainment camp during the regime. After the closure of this camp in 1946, the cellar was converted into the main Soviet Secret Police for detention and interrogation in East Germany. The Stasi took over the prison in 1951 adding a new building in 1961 and, until 1989 used the site as its main remand centre. Thousands of political prisoners passed through the jail, this included nearly all the figures that opposed the GDR regime. This area was highly restricted and was never allowed to appear on any maps of East Berlin.
Through exhibitions, events and publications the opening of the prison aims to increase awareness of the methods and consequences of political persecution and suppression in the DDR. Former inmates, who provide first-hand details on prison conditions, usually lead tours of the prison and explain the interrogation methods employed during their incarceration.
Berlin Zoo & Aquarium
With the largest number of different species of its kind, Berlin Zoo and Aquarium provides terrariums and aquariums for over 9,000 animals and almost 800 species. Today everyone talks about biodiversity, here at zoo and aquarium you can experience it.
SPECTRUM Berlin Science Centre
How does a battery work? Why is the sky blue? What is the principle behind a pulley block? These and hundreds of other questions are answered at SPECTRUM, the Berlin Science Center in the restored portal sector of the former freight station building.
The themes covered are; electricity and magnetism, heat and temperature, light and vision, mechanics and motion, microcosmos – macrocosmos, music and sound, seeing and perception.
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