Construction site Humboldt Forum: Opening shifts to 2020

The new BER?
:Humboldt Forum is late

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    Nicholas Bernau

The Humboldt Forum in Berlin. Even at the opening, there will probably be nothing behind the castle facade ...

View of the construction site of the Humboldt Forum.


dpa / Paul Zinken

Berlin –

Finally, it was also admitted by the operators of the Humboldt Forum: The previously announced on the 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt in September opening date is unstoppable. At a press conference announced as a construction site tour, new General Director Hartmut Dorgerloh announced on Wednesday that he would propose to the Board of Trustees on 26 June, the huge house with its three large museums, the exhibitions of the history of the place, cafes, shops and event halls only in the next Year to open. When exactly, is not yet clear. Only recently has the Federal Building Administration, which is responsible for the project, determined that the air conditioning systems required for the exhibitions did not function completely. During ongoing construction, these could not be tested and tuned.

The postponement of the opening could also be good for the Humboldt Forum

In fact, the Humboldt Forum is still far beyond the air conditioning systems as a construction site. In many rooms, the raw concrete is still to be seen, in staircases only cable ducts are just pushed, even the flaps of the windows are still coarse. Only in some exhibition halls the finishing work has progressed so far that the showcases can already be erected. It is hardly surprising that the State Museums and the Berlin City Museum spoke only months ago of divisional openings of their permanent exhibitions, last week it became known that the opening of the Ivory Exhibition could not be filled.

Is the Humboldt Forum now a new BER? Dorgerloh assured that it was only a matter of a few months postponement and that the costs would be kept. However, one must tackle the saved as a reserve 78 million euros, as the construction boom, the costs increase. Apart from the question, why the building authorities only now pulled the ripcord, although the rescheduling was often known for years, but can be stated: This shift could be considered once as luck for the Humboldt Forum. First, the museums are far from having their knowledge and restoration projects as planned. The presentation of the concept for the museum buildings in Dahlem, which was announced this Thursday as a depot and research center, was also canceled on Wednesday. In addition, the delay gives the chance to improve the exhibition concepts, some of which were developed almost 20 years ago, in order to integrate the history of colonialism and resistance, the acquisition history or the cultural proximity of Europe to the world.

A shift of a few months is no problem – if it stays that way

The idea of comprehensive exhibitions, such as that for North America or China, which was shattered by the three founding directors, could also be patched up again, and some temporary exhibitions again become permanent exhibition space. If the planners of the forum do not do it like those for a long time those of BER, so stick to plans, but open to new ideas. The shift is also an opportunity – also for opening the giant house not in a big blow, but gradually and thus to experience the joy of a new beginning again and again. As was the case between 1970 and 1974 at the museums in Dahlem. A shift of a few months is not a big problem for a project of this size. If it stays that way.