The Bode Museum rises from the Spree from the tip of Museusminsel (Museum Island). The structure is characterized by sandstone, Corinthian half columns, three-quarter columns, window frames, round arches and keystones. The style is neo-baroque or more colloquially referred to as ‘Wilhelmine Opulence’. Although the building appears symmetrical from this perspective, it is in fact not. The three sides are unequal in length, have no equal angles and the corners are all differently designed.
The massive dome marks the entrance. The sculptures – personifications of the arts and art cities – located over the balustrade provide the first indication for the building’s use. Sculptures, paintings, Byzantine art and a coin collection that includes approximately 500,000 objects from the beginnings of coinage through to the present are stored here, around 4,000 of which can be admired in the exhibition.
The Kaiser Friedrich Museum opened in 1904. After 1945 it was called the "Museum on the Kupfergraben" until 1956 when it was named after its first director Wilhelm von Bode. His contribution was to present the exhibits in a historical context by arranging "style rooms" based on each art era and region – a concept that has been adopted by many museums worldwide.
World War II – heavy damage. Demolition? No. Reconstruction? Yes. Modernization? No. Part of the collection was already available in the 1950s. The complete restoration took until 1987 (the city’s 750th anniversary). Slate replaced the great copper dome – for reasons of economic scarcity or lack of technical expertise?
More resources for arts in the capital became available after the fall of the Berlin wall. A restoration fitting a national monument was announced for both the interior and exterior. The small dome in line with the large dome in the direction of the railway track was lowered to conform with the overall concept of the Museumsinsel ... holy cow!
Half a millennium of cultural history persuasively arrayed – the Museuminsel has been World Heritage listed since 1999. Of the five museums, the Bode Museum is located to the right of the Pergamon Museum and the New Museum. In front of the latter there will soon appear a new visitor center – the James Simon Gallery. Everything is changing ...
The Monbijou Bridge – formerly known as the “Little Weidendammer Bridge” and “Flour Bridge” – connects the museum with the banks of the River Spree. The left, northern part of the bridge was blown up by German troops at the end of the Second World War. From 1947 to 2005 there was a provisionary bridge for pedestrians. Today the river is spanned by a steel structure clad with sandstone. It has no central pillar so that large water craft can pass below.
The use and design of the Spree bifurcation can be distinguished opposite the Bode Museum. To the right there are cobblestones and stone facades; to the left, cycle ways and footpaths lined by trees that conceal the Charité building. The “mother of all urban beach bars” is located behind the bridge in Monbijoupark. Surrounded by palm trees and oleanders, here it is possible to experience the Bode and Spree from a very unique perspective.
How to get there::
RE 1, RE 2, RE 7, RE 14 to Friedrichstraße.
Or RB 66 to Friedrichstraße .
Or S 1, S 2, S 25 to Friedrichstraße.
Or S 3, S 5, S 7, S 75 to Hackescher Markt.
Or U 6 to Friedrichstraße.
Or Tram M 1, M 12 to Am Kupfergraben.
Or Tram M 4, M 5, M 6 to Hackescher Markt.
Or Buses 100, 200 to Lustgarten.
Or Bus 147 Friedrichstraße.
Or Bus TXL to Staatsoper.