History of the Site
800 years – history from the Middle Ages until the present day
Dominican monastery, Hohenzollern palace, parade ground, Palace of the Republic, cultural construction site, meadow, Humboldt Forum – there is hardly another site in Berlin that has seen as many different social, architectural, political and cultural changes over the last 800 years as the Schlossplatz.
The Humboldt Forum tells the history of this special site in several permanent exhibition spaces including numerous original objects, media stations and interactive offers.
Here you will find the first traces of the site’s history: The archaeological cellar, the only surviving part of the original Berlin Palace, takes you on a tour from the middle ages to the present day. This is where you will find surviving sections of the medieval Dominican monastery as well as the foundations of the Berlin Palace, which were uncovered from 2008 onwards. In the winding corridors you can discover everything from a chicken coop to the imperial heating system, which was highly technologically advanced for its time. All these finds shed light on the lives and work of the monastery’s residents and the palace’s servants.
On the ground floor of the southern side of the Humboldt Forum you will find an impressive 28-metre-long video panorama, giving a visual impression of the various aspects of the site’s history – from its beginnings in the twelfth century through to the present day.
Clues to the site’s history can be discovered in many places in the building. There are surprising exhibits highlighting the distant and more recent past. The main focus is on the East German parade ground, the Palace of the Republic and the period after it was demolished. For example, the guidance system from Klaus Wittkugel of the Palace of the Republic will be presented.
In the Sculpture Hall you can get a close-up look of the original figures which once adorned the Palace facade. To protect them against the weather, they were not integrated into the reconstructed facade. In their splendor and symbolism they illustrate the growing claim to power of the House of Hohenzollern within Europe around 1700.
First books on the history of this special site have already been published before the Humboldt Forum opened: Mythos der Revolution. Karl Liebknecht, das Berliner Schloss und der 9. November 1918 (2018), Barock in Arbeit. Die Kunst der Rekonstruktion und das Berliner Schloss (2017) und Palast der Republik. Ein Erinnerungsort neu diskutiert (2017), Ein öffentlicher Ort. Berliner Schloss – Palast der Republik – Humboldt Forum (2016). Forthcoming publications include an exhibition guide about the Geschichte des Ortes and the inclusive book Vom Kloster zum Humboldt Forum. 700 Jahre Geschichte und Architektur. Ein Buch zum Tasten, Sehen und Hören.