The Long Night of Museums

14 08 2007

The Long Night of Museums (“Die Lange Nacht der Museen” in German), which I’ve mentioned more than once in earlier posts, is an event which occurs in Berlin twice a year – in the summer (August, usually), and in the winter (January or February). This summer’s event is on the 25th of August, and is the 10 years anniversary of the “Long Night” tradition. Don’t miss it (or the next ones…).

Basically, we’re talking about a night in which many museums, palaces and exhibits are open until around 2 a.m, and you have to buy one “combo” ticket to enter all participating establishments. The Long Night includes not only the regular exhibitions, but also special exhibitions, discussions, musical concerts, shows, movie screenings and activities for children.

You can buy the tickets in advance here (unfortunately, there’s no English version), for 12 euros (or 8 euros – reduced price for students, children, pensioners and others), or you can buy them at the ticket offices, which open at 4 p.m on the 25th, in front of the town hall (the Rote Rathaus), for 15 euros (or 10 euros – reduced price).

The ticket you purchase also gives you access to the special shuttle-buses, which carry the participants to all the various locations. We chose, after one try, to use the regular public transportation network, since the buses were overcrowded and didn’t come often enough. In the website of this year’s event, they promise that the shuttle-bus routes have been organized to be more visitor friendly, clearer, and with shorter waiting times.

If you’re planning to participate in the event, there are some things you have to do, in order to fully enjoy this wonderful experience. There is a lot to see, actually – too much to see, so you have to make realistic plans.

Download the program here, and go over it thoroughly. Notice there are special exhibitions, shows, concerts etc. at specific times. Make your specific plans in advance, but don’t be disappointed if you won’t manage to see half of what you planned to see.

You’re bound to get carried away, reach places you didn’t mean to reach, stay longer than you planned in one place or find out that another place is really far far away, and you’re about to fall off your feet in exhaustion. This is part of the fun, and also wandering around the city with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people holding the “Long Night” brochures.

Other summer events in Berlin can be found here.

The site also includes an “event database“.

Our “Lange Nacht” experience

We participated in the August 2006 event. We started the night by purchasing tickets near the Rote Rathaus, and then progressed to the Rote Rathaus itself, to see a Hungarian exhibition, which promised Gulash (I come from Hungarian origins). The army marches on its stomach, and so do I. On our way to the Gulash, we had that encounter with Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, of which I wrote before. After that, we found the Gulash, which was unbelievably good (and rather spicy), had a nice shot of Palinka, and listened to a gypsy band play.

Town hall enterance in the Long Night of Museums. The Gypsy Band.

Our next stop was the Neue Synagoge on Ornienburger Street, where we wanted to listen to a Kleyzmer concert (Jewish Chassidic music, a bit similar to Gypsy music. Somehow, the motive of our experience turned out to be music). There we met a nice half Israeli half German couple, with which we danced to the music (in pouring rain) (other people probably thought we were crazy. We probably are). With them we found ourselves going to the Musical Instruments Museum near Potsdamer Platz, to which we had no intention of going, but it was a very impressive place.

The Kleyzmer Band, a little blurred (because of the rain). Musical Instruments Museum.

Then we broke up with them and tried to reach the late organ pipe concert at the Berliner Dom, which we of course missed, so to close the night with seeing one real museum which had nothing to do with music, we entered the Old Museum and saw the Egyptian exhibition. When we got out, it was after 2 a.m. We crashed into some beach chairs which were spread in a court yard in Museuminsel, and watched some surreal cartoons, gathering up the strength to return to our apartment, tired, underachieved, but happy.

The Berliner Dom on a surreal night.


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