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The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Welcome More than 4 Million Visitors in 2019


With more than 4 million visitors in 2019, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin have once again been able to significantly increase the number of people viewing their exhibitions in comparison to the previous year. The largest rise was seen on the Museumsinsel, in particular at the James-Simon-Galerie, which opened in July 2019.

In 2019 the Staatliche Museen – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, together with the Musikinstrumenten-Museum – Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung (Museum of Musical Instruments of the National Institute for Music Research), counted a total of 4,188,000 visitors. This data encompassed 16 collections at the 19 museums and institutions currently open to the public. Compared with last year (2018: 3,793,000), it represents a gain of more than 10 percent and the largest annual increase since 2013. If the total number of visitors is compared with the number of residents and tourists in Berlin in 2019, then, mathematically-speaking, around a quarter of them visited institutions of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

General Director Michael Eissenhauer is Quite Satisfied with the Results

“The year 2019 was crucial and one of the most successful for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin”, said Director General Michael Eissenhauer. “The fact that we could mobilise more than 25 percent of the maximally accessible population and visitors to Berlin constitutes a great success, even in international comparison with major metropolitan cities such as New York, Paris and London. The opening of the James-Simon-Galerie in 2019 was not only an important step towards implementing the Museuminsel’s master plan but also a signal that other, sorely missed locations and collections will soon be reopening. Over the next two years, the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche, the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Ethnologische Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst in the Humboldt Forum will finally once again complete the Staatliche Museen’s universal holdings.”

The James Simon Gallery is the New Visitor Attraction

The rise in visitor attendance in 2019 benefited above all from the James-Simon-Galerie, which opened on July 12 as the central reception and service building on the Museumsinsel in Berlin. Since then the James-Simon-Galerie alone has recorded more than 1.1 million visitors. Aside from 338,000 visitors to the James-Simon-Galerie itself, a large proportion of the visits to the building since its opening provided access to the Pergamonmuseum (412,000 visitors since July 2019, annual total: 804,000) and the Neues Museum (410,000 visitors since July 2019, annual total: 828,000). Both museums were again able to increase their previous year’s figures (Neues Museum, 2018: 770,000; Pergamonmuseum, 2018: 780,000).

Twenty-five Percent More Visitors on the Museumsinsel

The Bode-Museum, with 260,000 visitors, increased its previous year results (2018: 245,000), while the Altes Museum, with 204,000 visitors, experienced a decline (2018: 282,000).The temporary exhibition building Pergamonmuseum. Das Panorama, which opened in November 2018, attracted 276,000 visitors. Haus Bastian, the Centre for Cultural Education opened on 31 August 2019, has already served around 9,000 visitors with its event-based outreach programmes. In 2019 the Museumsinsel was thus able to register an increase of some 25 percent to 3,095,000 visitors (2018: 2,487,000), the highest attendance since 2011, accounting for approximately 74 percent of the Staatliche Museen’s overall figures.

The Neues Museum is the Top Draw

The Neues Museum, with 828,000 visitors, drew in more visitors than any other Staatliche Museen zu Berlin institution, followed by the Pergamonmuseum, which despite its partial closure for renovations listed 804,000 visitors – its reduced maximum capacity due to a shortage of emergency exits. These museums were followed in the overall ranking of all venues by the Alte Nationalgalerie with 376,000 (2018: 360,000), the Gemäldegalerie with 310,000 (2018: 303,000) and the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin with 308,000 visitors (2018: 314,000).

Increased Interest at the Kulturforum

In 2019 the Kulturforum was able to better its previous year’s results to around a half a million visitors (2019: 493,000; 2018: 476,000). The Gemäldegalerie, with 310,000 visitors, remained the location’s big draw, as in the previous year (2018: 303,000), also thanks to the special exhibition Mantegna and Bellini: Masters of the Renaissance, which was the most successful temporary exhibition in 2019 with 192,000 visitors. It was followed by the Musikinstrumenten-Museum – Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung with 53,000 (2018: 55,000), the Kunstgewerbemuseum with 51,000 (2018: 65,000), the Kupferstichkabinett with 46,000 (2018: 36,000) and the Kunstbibliothek with 33,000 visitors (2018: 17,000).

The Nationalgalerie Attracts More than 800,000 Visitors at Four Locations

The collections of the Nationalgalerie were viewed by a total of 807,000 visitors (2018: 789,000) at its currently accessible museums: the Alte Nationalgalerie (376,000), Hamburger Bahnhof (308,000), the Museum Berggruen (74,000) and the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg (49,000). The Nationalgalerie’s most successful special exhibition was Emil Nolde – A German Legend: The Artist during the Nazi Regime at Hamburger Bahnhof, with 150,000 visitors. The Neue Nationalgalerie, closed since January 1, 2015 for renovations, will open its doors again in 2021. After a long period of renovation, the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche will reopen in September 2020 as a Nationalgalerie venue.

Stability and Growth Even at Less Centrally Located Museums

The Museum für Fotografie was again able to record a pleasing increase, hosting exhibitions from the Kunstbibliothek and the Helmut Newton Foundation, with around 128,000 visitors (2018: 123,000). The number of visitors to the Museum Europäischer Kulturen in Berlin-Dahlem remained stable at 24,000 (2018: 24,000). This is particularly gratifying in view of the fact that the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst have been closed in Dahlem since January 2017, in preparation for their reopening at the Humboldt Forum in 2021. The branch of the Kunstgewerbemuseum at Schloss Köpenick attracted 17,000 visitors (2018: 14,000).