This post is also available in: German
Experience East German history at the DDR Museum in Berlin
If you visit Berlin today, you will still see some remnants of the former division of the city, but it’s difficult to imagine what it was really like. The world of the former German Democratic Republic (known as the DDR in German) seems to be long forgotten and merely a topic discussed on guided tours and in old stories. If you didn’t live through it yourself, it is hard to put yourself in the shoes of the citizens of Berlin at that time. However, there is an answer: the DDR Museum in Berlin.
The DDR Museum is all about the period between 1961 and 1989.
The main focus is not on the wall itself, but rather on what life was like in the DDR. The everyday lives of its citizens. Have you always wondered what a flat in the German Democratic Republic looked like? Or what clothes people would wear in the old East Germany? If so, then the DDR Museum in Berlin is just the place for you. You can even try on some jackets and shirts from the time to see how you would have looked.
The different rooms guide you through life in the DDR. The exhibition is divided into three themed areas: “Public Life”, “State and Ideology” and “Life in a Tower Block”. Again and again, you will encounter smaller and larger exhibition pieces, and some of them are even of the motorised variety. Classic consumer goods are hidden behind different doors, waiting for you to discover them. That’s because the DDR Museum in Berlin is not a traditional, old-fashioned museum with lots of long-winded information signs.
The motto here is: get involved.
In many places within the exhibition, “touching” is encouraged. In the children’s room, the little ones can play with toys from the DDR, and in the kitchen you can get to grips with the mixer and other item from the period.
However, information has not been entirely done away with. The different exhibits have explanatory information you can read to learn more. The short texts convey the key facts in a concise way. For example, did you know that in the DDR there was a consumer cooperative whose members diligently collected shopping stamps and stuck them in booklets to get up to 1.8 percent of the value of their shopping back (up to 100 Mark)?
Are you keen to get further insights into life in the DDR? Then this is the place to go:
DDR Museum in Berlin
MEININGER tip: Purchase your ticket online in advance to avoid the queues.
Text and images by Nicole Bittger.
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