Open Weekend Sees Almost 13,000 Visitors to the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche

Friedrichswerdersche Kirche

Almost 13,000 people came to visit the newly restored and refurbished Friedrichswerdersche Kirche on its open weekend on 18 and 19 January 2020. The Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin had invited the public to visit Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s church on the weekend, which had previously been closed for years due to restoration and refurbishment work, offering tours focusing on the church’s architectural and restoration history.

Open Weekend Sees Almost 13,000 Visitors to the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche

In a total of four restorers’ tours, conservator-restorer Gottfried Grafe spoke about the reconstruction of the church and the measures that have been taken over the years to restore the building. At the end of each tour, Ralph Gleis, Director of the Alte Nationalgalerie, and Yvette Deseyve, Curator of Sculpture at the Alte Nationalgalerie, answered visitors’ questions about the Nationalgalerie’s collection and the upcoming exhibition.

Ralph Gleis was enthusiastic: “With almost 13,000[JS1]  visitors, the open days were an absolute success! The  interest shown by the public proves that the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche is still a place that captures the imagination of Berliners and tourists alike. A visit to the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche offers a truly unique experience, as it is the only one of Schinkel’s church interiors that has been preserved in its original condition. From autumn onwards, this hallmark of 19th-century architecture will once again play host to sculptural works of the 19th century from the Nationalgalerie Collection.

New Exhibition Commencing in Autumn 2020

As it was before its closure in 2012, the Friedrichswerdsche Kirche will now once again be used as an outpost of the Alte Nationalgalerie for presenting sculptures. In autumn 2020, a newly conceived exhibition will open, featuring works of sculpture from the Nationalgalerie’s collection from Schinkel’s time through to the era of the German Empire. Until then, public tours will be offered on the second and fourth Sunday of every month.

The Friedrichswerdersche Kirche

The Friedirchswerdsche Kirche was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and constructed between 1824 and 1830, more or less concurrently with the Altes Museum. Originally planned in a Neoclassical style, Schinkel bowed to the wishes of Crown Prince Wilhelm, who preferred a church in the “old German” or Neo-Gothic style. Upon completion, the church was used by the German and French congregations of the Evangelical Churches of Prussia. Heavy damage during the Second World War meant the building had to be painstakingly restored between 1979 and 1986.

The reopening of the building and its first use as an exhibition space ultimately occurred as part of the celebrations to mark the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin in 1987. Since 2012, the church has only been able to be admired from without, since the construction of new buildings nearby had caused significant damage, necessitating painstaking repair and restoration work, which has only just reached completion. The Friedrichswerdsche Kirche is the only surviving church designed by Schinkel that retains the original appearance of both the façade and the interior.