You would like to understand Germany? Visit the exhibition in the German Cathedral at Gendarmenmarkt

The Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin-Mitte is one of the more scrumptious squares in Berlin. It is where you can visit the Concert Hall that sits in the middle of the square between the French and the German Cathedral. The German Cathedral on Gendarmenmarkt was built 1702 to 1708 to plans by Martin Gruenberg. After several modifications over the centuries, the Protestant church finally handed the building to the authoritarian government of the GDR in 1984.

During World War II the building was heavily damaged, and it remained that way till 1993. Imagine that totally ramshackle looking building in the 40 years of the GDR. There wasn't any money in the broke GDR, nor was there ever any passionate interest to restore it. The GDR started restoration work, but actually nothing much happened. It got back to all its former glory only after reunification.

Berlin – Dance till you drop

You know people, in general, have very strong opinions on things, and I can only hope they form their opinions based on a healthy mix of information and experiences. I give you an example, the other day I visited the Refugee Centre Museum here in Berlin, and funnily enough there were only two other visitors during the whole time I was there. Sort of sad that hardly anyone is interested in the topic. How come so many have an opinion on it?

Many even say democracy is dead. The concept of democracy is somewhat rocket science, true, but it is not a secret that politicians are hiding from us. 

Street Art in Berlin

This is a massive part of travelling, it is mostly about being curious, being interested in the world, learning from your experiences, learning from all the people you meet, and from the things you see. Berlin has so many bars and night clubs where you can drink and dance till you drop and a there are a few Café’s where you get a really decent coffee, but most of all is Berlin an excellent place to learn from the past. How else do you plan to create a better future? Coming to Berlin without digging deep into history is a waste really.

A ferroconcrete staircase holds everything together

After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the German Parliament used the German Cathedral for several different exhibitions. The permanent exhibition "Paths, wrong turns, detours - the development of parliamentary democracy in Germany" is particularly devoted to those epochs of German history, in which the essential foundations of the political order of the Federal Republic of Germany were put in place. The exhibition on parliamentary history is interactive. Touchscreens explain laws, and films explain the everyday life of parliamentarians. The plenary hall is accessible for everyone. No barriers and no glass walls separate the visitors from that eagle and the famous blue chairs.

There is a ferroconcrete staircase that goes all the way up to the cupola of the cathedral, and that piece is an intrinsic attraction for architecture lovers. When you enter the cathedral I bet you are going to be tremendously surprised. It differs strikingly from the exterior of the building. On five levels visitors can follow the historical development of the parliamentary system in Germany, and can additionally gain insight into the role of parliaments in an increasingly merging Europe.

Concrete staircase in a church tower.

Info German Cathedral Gendarmenmarkt

Address: Gendarmenmarkt 1-2, 10117 Berlin. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm, May to September to 7pm. Tickets: Free. Guided tours: There are (free) half-hour guided tours, every 30 minutes between 11am and 5pm.

Can’t wait to hear from you.

From Berlin with love